The University of Wisconsin Press

Wisconsin / American History


Making of a Wisconsin Tradition
Jerry Apps

This is a story of farmers, milk cows, dairy barns, and green pastures. It is the story of cheese makers who work their magic and turn milk into cheese.

Jerry Apps narrates the history of the cheese-making industry in Wisconsin from its inception in the 1940s to the present. In his compelling and conversational style, Apps documents the daily lives of the early cheese makers and how Wisconsin became the nation's number one cheese producer. The experiences come from the cheese makers, milk haulers, cheese graders and buyers, with stories of snow-blocked roads and frozen milk, of fish in the milk cans, wine in the cheese cellars, and the early resistance toward "western" cheese. Apps explains the many different kinds of Wisconsin-made cheeses (including those that originated or are exclusively made in the state), and discusses the current cheese producers, their factories and technology. Apps also adds his insights into the foam cheese headgear and other cheese phenomena.

Jerry Apps was born and raised on a central Wisconsin farm, a mile from the Chain O'Lake one-room country school, which he attended for eight years. Professor emeritus of education at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, he devotes most of his time to writing about rural America, especially the upper Midwest. Apps has also written several education books including Teaching from the Heart, Mastering the Teaching of Adults, and Study Skills for Adults Returning to School. Among his many popular books about Wisconsin's heritage, the most recent is Ringlingville USA.

Media & bookseller inquiries regarding review copies, events, and interviews can be directed to the publicity department at or (608) 263-0734. (If you want to examine a book for possible course use, please see our Course Books page. If you want to examine a book for possible rights licensing, please see Rights & Permissions.)

the cover of Cheese is a collage of Cheese photos

January 2005

LC: 78-012317 SF
236 pp. 7 x 10
104 b/w photos, 22 illus., 4 maps

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Paper $18.95 t
ISBN 978-0-942495-80-5
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For more about Jerry Apps and his work, please visit his website at

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Updated October 7, 2011

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