The Origin of Cheese

While cheese has become a part of our daily diet, it is widely unknown when the exact time the creation of the dairy product took place. The birth of cheese is believed to be closely correlated with the discovery of milk through animals, which began almost 8,000 to 10,000 years ago. Cheese making has been discovered in readings in Greek mythology and there have been findings of cheese on tombstone images that experts believed to date back nearly 4000 years. And while there remain many questions behind the origins of cheese, we do know that by the time of the Roman Empire, cheese making had become a widely known practice throughout the Middle East and Europe.

Hundreds of variations of cheese were then made and traded when Julius Caesar was in rule. Cheese was then introduced to North America when European immigrants traveled over and brought their knowledge and cheese making skills. As the popularity grew in the United States during the late 1800’s, the demand for the dairy product increased and the industry eventually made it’s way westward to Wisconsin, taking advantage of their abundant farmland. Fast-forward a few centuries later and the United States now produces over 10.6 billion pounds of cheese, and over 300 different varieties. We look forward to what the future holds for the cheese and dairy industry!

Jim's Cheese


Their commitment to excellence helped Pine River Pre-Pack of Newton, WI earn the top spots in four different cheese contests this year.

First was a clean sweep in the Cold Pack Cheese Food category at the World Championship Cheese Contest in Madison on March 9th. Winning flavors were Swiss & Almond, Aged Asiago and Garlic & Herb. The highly competitive biennial contest drew 2,995 entries from 23 countries. For two days 50 judges worked sampling the 110 categories of butter, cheese and yogurt.

At the American Cheese Society Contest held in late July in Des Moines, IA., Pine River placed first with their Horseradish Flavor Cold Pack Cheese Food and second with Hot Habanero. “Intense, spicy, and hot flavors are growing trends with consumers and our winning flavors at the ACS are proof of that”, said Mary Lindemann, Marketing Director at Pine River Pre-Pack.

Pine River has entered the Wisconsin State Fair Cheese and Butter contest every year since 1983. In August, they took the Blue, Red, and White ribbons with their Swiss & Almond, Aged Asiago, Horseradish Flavor respectively. Philip A. Lindemann, President/CEO attended the auction night, where winning cheeses from the 28 classes were auctioned off, with the proceeds going toward student scholarships and dairy promotion.

In Madison, at the World Dairy Expo Championship Dairy Product Contest held in October, Pine River’s quality spreads captured the top three spots with their Swiss & Almond, Chunky Bleu & Cheddar, and an Extra Sharp Cheddar earning the top spot in their fourth contest of 2016. “We strive to continually raise the bar for ourselves. Using the highest quality ingredients and state of the art manufacturing techniques while adhering to food safety practices is at the core of our success”, added Pine River’s Operations Manager, Ian Behm, who successfully led the organization to obtain level 3 SQF (Safe Quality Food) certification in May.

Content from October 2016 Press Release