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One of the most recognized artisanal cheeses in America is Uplands’ debut cheese, Pleasant Ridge Reserve. It has won the coveted Best in Show three times in the past ten years at the American Cheese Society’s annual judging and competition. The most recent win was particularly sweet as there were over 1,400 cheeses entered in the competition. Uplands Cheese is located in Dodgeville, WI and was started by two families, Mike and Carol Gingrich, and Dan and Jeanne Patenaude. The families had farmed as neighbors for years until they purchased a farm together in 1994, and joined their herds, managing them in a seasonal, pasture-based system. They carefully selected the farm for its fertile soil that grows a diverse range of grasses, legumes and herbs that make their milk so special. They wanted to take full advantage of this flavorful, high quality milk and figured that cheese would be a wonderful vehicle for this. They settled on the recipe for Pleasant Ridge Reserve after researching traditional cheeses around the world that were made specifically to preserve the milk produced by cows grazing on rich, summer pasture. Beaufort, the grandfather of all French mountain cheeses, was the perfect starting point. With the help of local cheesemakers and the Center for Dairy Research in Wisconsin they were able to nail their specific recipe down in a relatively short period of time. Uplands only makes cheese during the months when their herd is out on pasture, during other months they sell their milk into a fluid milk pool. In 2007, Andy Hatch joined Uplands as an apprentice cheesemaker after getting his license and apprenticing abroad with European cheesemakers. By 2008, he was ready to take over all operations at the creamery. In the latter half of 2010, Uplands released its second cheese, one of Andy’s creation called Rush Creek Reserve.
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