For us in Wisconsin, cheese curds are a staple. Those who were practically born with a cheese curd in their mouth are often surprised to learn that for many across the country, cheese curds aren’t well known. Here in the Cheese Curd Capital, we believe cheese curds are too good to keep them secret and so we’ve been working to change that.

That’s why it was fun to see our signature product mentioned in a recent article on Restaurant Business Online. Cheese curds have been popular on Midwest restaurant menus for decades, and the rest of the country is finally catching on! Cheese Curds are finding their way into the hearts (and stomachs) of food lovers everywhere. We couldn’t be prouder!

To get the full scoop on how cheese curds are winning over taste buds from coast to coast, check out the article on Restaurant Business Online here.

At Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery, we’re dedicated to producing top-quality cheese products that people love. Thanks to your support, our curds continue to become a nationwide sensation.

If you haven’t tried our famous cheese curds yet, now’s the perfect time to experience the cheesy magic. Watch for Ellsworth Cooperative Cheese Curds to be mentioned by name on the menu at your favorite restaurant. Your taste buds will thank you!

October is National Cooperative Month, a time to recognize and celebrate the impact we, as cooperatives, make in our communities. A recent article published in the Pierce County Journal highlighted Ellsworth area cooperatives, including Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery.

St. Croix Economic Development Corporation and Pierce County Economic Development Corporation acknowledged both Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery and Pierce Pepin Cooperative Services for exceptional contributions to our region and how we have demonstrated our commitment to the seventh Cooperative Principle, “Concern for Community,” by actively engaging in various community projects and initiatives. You can find the full article here.

Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery and our staff take our “Concern for Community” seriously. In addition to supporting local organizations like the Chambers of Commerce and various civic groups, we support our regional higher education institutions such as Chippewa Valley Technical College and the Universities of Wisconsin, as well as educational opportunities for local youth. We also lend our leadership and support to local projects by serving on committees to problem-solve community challenges.

We’re proud to be part of communities that value cooperation, leadership, and community engagement. Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery is committed to continuing our role in making each of our communities a better place for everyone.

This observance isn’t just about us—Instead, we celebrate National Cooperative Month with everyone in the communities we serve. Let’s celebrate the positive changes we’re making together as we look forward for how we can make our communities even stronger in the days to come.

It’s a whole month dedicated to dairy and dairy farms. Join us in the celebration! During the month you’ll find our team deep frying cheese curds at several farm breakfasts, festivals, and events.

Mark your calendars and we’ll see you there!

Barron County June Dairy Month Breakfast

Free will offering for breakfast and nominal cost for custard sundaes. There will also be live music and door prizes.

June 3, 2023  |  6am-11am
Cory & Janelle Picknell Family Dairy Farm
790 6 ½ Ave., Prairie Farm, WI 54762






Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery Dairy Days
Taste our new Ellsworth Reserve Bourbon! Vendors will also be on hand sampling other specialties. Several great in-store discounts will be offered throughout the event including Buy One Get One Free on boats of deep fried cheese curds and free 1 lb fresh curds with every $50 purchase!

June 8-June 13, 2023  |  8am-6pm

Ellsworth Retail Store
232 N. Wallace Street, Ellsworth, WI 54011

Menomonie Retail Store
3001 County Rd B, Menomonie, WI 54751







Pepin County On the Farm Breakfast
Serving pancakes, sausage, pudding, deep fried cheese curds, milk and coffee for free-will donation.

June 10, 2023  |  6:30am-11am
Churchview Dairy (Rick & Gary Bauer)
N6294 County Road V
Durand, WI 54736











Showdown in Curdtown
You can’t beat the thrill and excitement of Showdown in Curdtown! Proceeds from the event aid the Ellsworth FFA Chapter, supporting a scholarship program and leadership development initiatives for its members. Get your tickets here.

June 10, 2023 (rain date will be June 11 at 12pm)
Pierce County Fairgrounds
364 N. Maple Street, Ellsworth, WI 54011




Goodhue County Breakfast on the Farm
Free breakfast with deep fried cheese curds and ice cream! Farm tours, petting zoo, Ag Cab Lab tractor Drive Simulator, and more! Plus, meet Princess Kay of the Milky Way and the Goodhue County Dairy Princesses.

June 16, 2023  |  7am-11am
McNamara Dairy
20200 390th Street, Goodhue, MN 55027




Pierce County Dairy Breakfast
Come enjoy a delicious breakfast of pancakes, sausage, Ellsworth Cheese Curds, Culvers Custard, Kwik Trip Milk, water & coffee! Farm tours, kids activities, local farm history, and more! Cash only. Ages 12+ $8, Ages 5-11 $5, Ages 4 & Under free.

June 17, 2023  |  7:30am-11:30am
Maple Bud Farm, Mark Erlandson Family
N5718 530th St, Ellsworth, WI 54011





Buffalo County Dairy Breakfast
June 24, 2023  |  7am-11am
D S Farms by the Danzinger Family
W1528 County Rd E, Alma, WI, 64610







June 23-24 Cheese Curd Festival
#10 Specialty Food Festival in the Nation! It’s the event that celebrates the town’s designation as the Cheese Curd Capital of Wisconsin. Cheese curd foods, tasting events, music, and more. Come try this year’s special, never-before-fried, exclusive-to-the-festival cheese curd flavor for the event… Nacho Supremo! Available ONLY at the 2023 Cheese Curd Festival! Get the details here.

June 23 & 24, 2023
East End Park, Ellsworth, WI 54011

The Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery Scholarship program supports members of our cooperative’s families who wish to continue their post high school education in Agriculture at a two-year technical school or four-year university. Congratulations to this year’s recipients!


Ethan Beaudry, Albertville, MN
Ethan is a graduate of St. Michael-Albertville (STMA) High School. He will be attending Ridgewater College in Willmar, MN where he plans to study Dairy and Farm Management.



Regina Frisle, Prairie Farm, WI
Regina is a graduate of Prairie Farm High School. She will be attending UW-Madison where she plans to study Animal Science (major) with Ag Business (minor).



Alexa Lindahl, Lindstrom, MN
Alexa is currently in her first year at UW-Stout where she studies Business Administration. She hopes to have a concentration in Finance or Food Science. She stives to one day contribute to the business side of agriculture.


Sophia Stelling, Millville, MN
Sophia is a graduate of Plainview-Elgin-Millville (PEM) High School. She will be attending UW-River Falls where she plans to study Dairy Science with a minor in Ag Business.

Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery’s 2023 Annual Meeting, which took place on Tuesday, March 28, capped off a fantastic 2022. The meeting included an informative presentation summarizing 2022’s financial results. As was shared at the meeting, our New London division experienced a large profit. This added some unique tax implications that we are working through. In addition, we’re working to leverage R&D credits to provide maximum value back to our patrons.

The meeting had a record number of participants, and we thank all who attended and actively participated with questions. 122 ballots from active members were cast in our board of directors’ election, which is a 54% participation rate. It’s great to see so many of our members active and engaging in the operations of our coop’s annual business.

Our nomination committee brought forward four great candidates for four director seats on the board.  The process is based on self-nomination, allowing for all interested members to take part in the process. Please join us in congratulating our new board of directors—we thank you for your service to our organization.

Back Row: Paul Bauer (CEO/Manager), Warren Johnson, Richard McNamara, Michael Carlsrud, Dan Rosen, Martin Hallock. Front Row: Alan Sigurdsen, Adam Place, Deric Lindstrom, Dulcie Anderson.

The officers met at their regular meeting and reelected Dan Rosen as board chair, Martin Hallock as first chair, Warren Johnson as second chair, Deric Lindstrom as secretary, and Michael Carlsrud as treasurer.

If you are interested in participating in our cooperative’s management in a larger way, we invite you to consider serving on our nomination committee. In this important role, you can learn about the board nomination process, and perhaps over time, consider serving as a board member yourself. To learn more, contact our board chair, Dan Rosen.

One last important reminder from the meeting in regard to equity for 2024. As explained by Paul Bauer at the meeting, based on historic performance and tax issues, there will be no equity issued in 2024. For 2023, the cooperative was able to get all the patronage out in the middle of March and we look forward to retiring the equity in early summer.

Now that you’ve had time to contemplate all the information shared at the annual meeting, you have questions, we invite you to reach out to a board member or Paul Bauer by email or phone. We welcome your questions and value patron members who are engaged and informed.

At Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery, it all starts at the farm. We recognize and reward our top three high quality milk producers with an award each year at our annual meeting. Please join us in congratulating this year’s winners!

1st Place: Maple Leaf Acres Inc., Elk Mound, WI (49,000 Ave. SCC)


2nd Place: Tony and Matt Berktold, Lake City, MN (53,000 Ave. SCC)


3rd Place: Brad and Kristen Afdahl, Arkansaw, WI (61,000 Ave. SCC)

We met Kristin Haubrich from KSTP’s Twin Cities Live last June when she came to Ellsworth to broadcast live from the annual Cheese Curd Festival. Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery’s master cheese curd fryers, Dean and Shane, taught her how to fry cheese curds like a pro. It was so much fun we invited her to visit Ellsworth again to see how we make the curds.

Kristin made the trek to the Cheese Curd Capital of Wisconsin again this week to see our production process firsthand. Each day Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery transforms 2 million pounds of milk into 200,000 pounds of fresh squeaky cheese curds. To produce the amount of cheese curds we make each day, automation and technology are an important–and impressive–part of the process.

Visitors to our Ellsworth retail store can find the fresh curds of the day available at 11am. Natural is by far the favorite among cheese curds fans. Garlic cheese curds are another top seller. Our newest flavor, Dill Pickle, and popular stand-by, Taco cheese curds are growing in popularity.

We invite you to visit one of our retail stores soon. In Ellsworth, WI, visitors can purchase the fresh curds of the day beginning at 11am. In Menomonie, WI, see the cheesemaking process through the viewing windows. Learn more here.

Beginning last month, we began to see some interesting dynamics that are affecting market conditions and driving milk prices down. I wanted to share what I am seeing in the market, how milk prices will be impacted, and when we hope to see the market stabilize and being to improve.

First, a fire at an AMPI processing cheese plant in Portage, WI, is impacting the market more than anyone expected. While having one cheese plant go offline may not seem significant, the industry does not have a lot of reserve capacity and that affects everyone in making processed cheese and using barrel cheese. We’re seeing a huge amount of backlog of barrel cheese in the marketplace creating big price disruptions. Barrel cheese inventory will have to be used before we see supplies return to normal levels.

Additionally, in the beginning of 2022, our larger key customers ordered large quantities of cheese curds for breading in anticipation of supply issues due to the pandemic. There is now an over-amount of breaded cheese curds in inventory than the marketplace can consume. This is similar to what happened with toilet paper during the beginning of the pandemic—people overbought and now have toilet paper stockpiled that will need to be consumed before they have a need to buy more. While the retail side of cheese curd sales is doing fairly well and holding steady, a large percentage of cheese curds sold in bulk are being impacted by this earlier run on the curd market.

P1 denotes regular market pricing. When AMPI’s fire occurred, they stopped purchasing barrels which shifted demand for barrel cheese in the marketplace downward (P2). Impacting the market further is the decreased demand for cheese curds leading to more barrel cheese, further adding to an over-supply (P3).

Compounding matters, milk supply is plentiful throughout the country and there is more milk than the industry can absorb. Normally, we would sell milk during times such as this. This option is currently not available to unless we choose to take a deep discount of 70-80% of the value of the milk. Delay in adjusting the federal milk order pricing gives the wrong signal on what Class 3 pricing should be compared to the actual cost associated with manufacturing cheese.

P1 denotes regular market pricing. Milk is in excess supply and as a result milk prices are being driven down (P2).

Micro-economic effects and economic conditions on a world-scale may cause a slowdown in the economy that could lead to less buying of our product. As economies slow down, we see less dollars available to purchase dairy products.

Each of these factors is outside of our direct control. What we are experiencing is basic economics and the above supply and demand charts illustrate current market conditions. All factors combine, creating a perfect storm of increased barrel cheese inventories and lower milk prices for the next several months.

We expect these influences to negatively impact milk prices until April or May, at which time we typically see an increased demand for cheese curds. We hope that will lead to more favorable conditions and a recovery in pricing. As demand for cheese curds increases, we will stop making barrels. Barring a major economic downturn, we should begin to see a shortage in fresh barrel cheese and as barrel cheese is consumed in the marketplace the pricing dynamics will shift in our favor. Once AMPI is again online and consuming barrel cheese, that will shift prices higher yet again.

At Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery, our team members are more than employees; they are like family. This culture has contributed to the longevity of our staff, whose careers with us often span decades. See our most recent Commitment to Craft acknowledgements.

October, 2023

Congratulations to our own Jaime Langer on 15 years of service.

Dylan Brenner – 5 years of service
Jamie Langer – 15 years of service
Riley McKenzie – 1 year of service
Heidi Ruedy – 1 year of service
Michelle Chandler – 1 year of service

September, 2023

Congratulations Lonnie Huppert for your 35 year with our organization! It seems like just yesterday.

Our CEO/Manager, Paul Bauer, celebrated 15 years with Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery last month. Over the years our organization has been through many changes and challenges. We’re fortunate to have Paul at the helm, steadying our organization and guiding us in our mission.

Kevin Pieh – 1 year
Paul Bauer – 15 years
Tony Barber – 5 years
Ryan Atkinson – 1 year
Lonnie Huppert – 35 years

August, 2023

Congratulations to Kevin Huppert on 15 years of service! Thank you Kevin!

Alesha Radke – 10 years
Colton Johnson- 1 year of service
Kevin Huppert 15 years of service

June, 2023

Congratulations Anthony on 1 year of service!

Anthony Berry – 1 year of service
Francia Abonita – 1 year of service

May, 2023

Congratulations Katie on 5 years of service!

Katie Brant – 5 years
April Glaica Ricafrente – 1 Year
Gary Christman – 1 Year

April, 2023

We thank Dane Wesser for 10 years of dedicated service.

Dane Wesser – 10 years
Jordan Zimmer – 1 year
Sawyer Strom – 5 years
Brad Beissel – 5 years

March, 2023

Congratulations on 25 years of service Brian Wiskerchen!

Brian Wiskerchen – 25 Years of Service
John Huppert – 15 Years of Service
Paul Maier – 15 Years of Service
Greg Fruit – 1 Year of Service
Jaydah Bain – 1 Year of Service

February, 2023
Elle Leonard – 1 Year of Service
Brittany Crabtree – 1 Year of Service
Corwin Kurhajec – 1 Year of Service

Milestone Retirements

Congratulations to Don Tulip on 23 years of service. Best wishes on your retirement!


Congratulations to Steve Denzer on 21 years of service. Wishing you all the best in retirement!


January, 2023

Please join us in congratulating Bob Radke on 25 years of service with Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery.

Bob Radke – 25 Years of Service
Damien Waldron – 5 Years of Service
Alex Klatt – 5 Years of Service
Tiffany Huppert – 5 Years of Service
Travis Oliver- 1 Year of Service
Tom Johnson – 1 Year of Service
Heather Klade- 1 Year of Service
Darci Frederickson – 1 Year of Service


As we begin the New Year, let us take a moment to briefly reflect on 2022.

The biggest and most notable accomplishment of the year was the startup of the Menomonie location. We started our first test batch of cheeses in February and began to move product in late March. Producing quality product out of a new plant requires patience and some trial and error. From experience, I know it can take a year before production and quality are right. I’m pleased with how things are progressing.

One challenge was that we didn’t have as many employees transfer from Comstock to the new production facility as we expected. However, we had great success hiring skilled staff for the Menomonie location. Our presence in Menomonie has been well received and the community has been supportive and welcoming.

We continue to be challenged by lingering Covid supply chain issues. Supplies that normally would be easily and quickly sourced in the past are much more difficult to find today. This impacts production at all the plants, making it difficult to achieve the level of production and efficiency we would like to see. One example of such an item is metal springs, which are now extremely difficult to find. There are millions of springs needed to construct an efficiently operating new production facility.

Despite the challenges, we continue to make progress in Menomonie. We are running more milk than we had out of the Comstock facility. We continue to work with our team and expand our skillsets so we can continue to increase production and quality. In addition to cheese production, we transferred all cut and wrap to the Menomonie location, which was another learning curve for our crew.

The Menomonie retail store has been a success and those who have visited offer positive feedback. The store looks fantastic–open, bright, and spacious with fun and decorative elements that fit our organization’s personality. The location makes visitors smile. We continue to implement strategies to increase visitor count and retail sales. We have a great team in place there that offers consistent hospitality, and we are now working to build our reputation in this new market and establish the store as a destination, just as we did with our Ellsworth location.

In our New London processed cheese plant we set several records in 2022, the first being in production. The team did a great job of getting 41 million pounds made, which is 15 million more than 2018. New London is now making about 57% more cheese than when we first purchased the location. We are looking to add some key pieces of equipment to allow the plant to function even better in 2023 with additional capacity and less strain on our employees. The plant continues to play a key role in adding value-added cheese capacity and profit to the creamery.

It was another big year for our Ellsworth location. However, we continue to be hampered by restrictions on supplies, particularly CO2. We are installing additional storage on-site to allow us to meet our cheese curd demand while avoiding running short in the future. Despite this, we were still able to increase cheese curd sales by 15% in 2022.

Our crew continues to battle different aspects of cheesemaking that are causing disruptions. We are adding processes and equipment to more adequately handle disruptions so we can better process wastewater. Moving the cut and wrap to Menomonie offered efficiencies that allowed us to add more retail customers for 2023. Being more efficient is important and we continue to look for ways to add and supplement our system for better operations in the future.

We continue our process of transitioning ownership of our Comstock Facility to Hastings Creamery and have been working closely with them to ensure the transition is a smooth one. Our strategy here is two-fold: We would like to see the Comstock location continue its legacy of cheesemaking and thrive in the community, and by having an additional line of value-added cheeses available to our sales team we can better position the creamery as our customers first choice in new cheeses. This is why we’re working with Hastings Creamery to not only provide a successful transition of the facility but to also support them in introducing their product to a new market.

As we look to 2023 our focus is on growing sales across all locations with key vendors, as well as taking on some new cheese curd retail volume with exciting new retail partners. Our team is looking forward to the opportunities the New Year will bring.