Know Your Farmer: Brunkow Cheese of Wisconsin


We've started a Know Your Farmer series twice a month to get you more connected with our farmers. We're highlighting Joe Burns from Brunkow Cheese (Darlington, WI) for the fifth installation of our series. They'll be at every indoor market through April and every outdoor market from May 12 through October 30.

1. Why should people care about supporting local and sustainable producers?

By supporting any locally owned business, that money is invested back into the local economy. It also helps a small family-run business (like ours) to grow and develop better and more diverse products.

2. How/why did you become involved in farming?
Brunkow Cheese has been making cheeses since 1899. From the start, the creamery was created to provide an additional market for a few dairy farmers in Lafayette County. I personally make all the artisanal cheese at Brunkow and see to all the aging of it in the cellar.

3. How did you get involved with Green City Market?
We were encouraged to join by Blue Sky Farms, a Wisconsin raspberry farm and former Green City member.  At the time of our joining, there was not a Wisconsin cheesemaker at the market.  We jumped aboard and never looked back.

4. What is your most popular product?
Avondale Truckle, a twenty pound raw milk bandaged wrapped cheddar made in the style of the traditional English Farmhouse Cheddars.  I make only six drums a week, entirely by hand and age it from 12 to 18 months in an 100 year old underground cellar.

5. Do you have any special products in the next two months that you'd like to highlight?
I have a line of single herd 100% grass-fed Jersey milk cheeses I will be introducing this spring.  The Jersey's are milked by Eric and Carrie Johnson of Jordandal Farm in Argyle, Wisconsin.  The first one to hit the market is Pave` Henri, a Trappist-style washed rind that stinks to high heaven.  Don't eat it with your nose...

6. What is your favorite Green City Market experience?
My favorite experience at GCM was getting some positive words of encouragment from Nordic Creamery's Al Bekkum, who is hands down Wisconsin's best small batch cheese and butter maker.

7. What's the most important thing Green City Market customers don't know about you?
I live and die with Nebraska Cornhusker football.  But since the market is on Saturdays, I never get to watch the games live.  So if in the fall I look distracted and keep muttering to myself, it is because I am listening to the game through a web stream on my phone and praying for a first down.

8. What are your future plans for your farm?
We plan to continue for the next 100 years what we have done the past 100 years, and that is to keep making quality cheese by hand in small batches with the same methods and recipes our great grandfather's did four generations ago.

9. What do you want your last meal on Earth to be?
I lived in New Orleans for a few years as child and I have dreams of Louisiana crawfish to this day.

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