130 cows are rotationally-grazed, and the cheese is only made from May through October when the cows can graze fresh pasture. All of the cows are Heifers, raised within the same family of genetics.
The farm is in a gorgeous area near Governor Dodge State Park.
The cheesemaker, Andy Hatch, spoke with us outside before giving us a tour. The company is 8 years-old and the model for it is lifted out of the Alps. Until recently, he only made one type of cheese, and that cheese has won numerous awards.
Andy Hatch's famous cheese is called Pleasant Ridge Reserve. It is Beaufort in style with a washed-rind. The recipe follows the tradition of the Alpage versions of Beaufort and Gruyere, but is unique in flavor due to the milk supply.
At the end of the tour, we had the opportunity to sample the famed cheese and it was by far my favorite cheese on the tour. That's saying a lot because we sampled amazing cheeses at the other two cheese factories.
Andy Hatch gave tips as he sliced the cheese, letting us know that it should be served from rind to center because it looks better and you get to experience the varied flavors. Also, cheese should be removed from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.
There's a great store in Madison, right on the capitol square, called Fromagination where you can buy Pleasant Ridge. We stopped in while we were at the farmers' market and were happy to see that samples were available.
Disclaimer: The expenses associated with the Wisconsin Cheese Tour were covered by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (WMMB).