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The women behind Landmark Creamery are cheese maker Anna Landmark and food writer Anna Thomas Bates, who, together, make and market artisan cheese. The friends’ old-world style crafted product can be found at cheese shops and fine restaurants throughout Madison and Milwaukee and on Saturdays at Madison’s Westside Community Market.
In Landmark’s fourth year of production using cows’ and sheep milk from local Wisconsin farmers, they are ready to expand —their goal is to raise $25,000 through a Kickstarter program that ends May 11. At the time this article was published and with less than a week before the Kickstarter expires, they’re sitting at a little more than $22,000 in pledges.
Local establishments are rallying support for Landmark and Thomas Bates. Two private events are planned to assist in a very tasty way to reach the Kickstarter goal, including an offering of a Landmark Creamery cheese board paired with spring cocktails at the Robin Room, and a private pizza party at the Sun Prairie Salvatore's Tomato Pies, which will feature pies created with Landmark Creamery's cheese.
If the full amount is raised in time, the total funds will be used to purchase new equipment and to build an affinage (a modest aging space) so they can make more soft-ripened cheeses and offer varieties with bloomy rinds (think creamy, supple camembert and brie).
Thomas Bates explains that bloomy rinds need attention particularly when it comes to the right humidity, temperature and airflow. The cheese needs to be “flipped, patted and loved,” she says.
Currently, the two are aging their cheese off site. Although Landmark Creamery is not a farmstead, Thomas Bates and Landmark have a close relationship with the farmers they work with, including brothers Sam and Abe Enloe who raise sheep in Rewey, Wisconsin, Bert and Trish Parish of Belleville who have a small mixed herd of cows that give milk a rich, deep yellow color, and the owners of Uplands Cheese Co. in Dodgeville, who provide Landmark Creamery with cows’ milk. “We focus on the cheese and let the farmers focus on what they’re good at,” Thomas Bates says.
“Wisconsin has an amazing history of cheese where, in the past 20 years, artisan cheese here is blossoming,” she says. “We’re a new generation of that—an extension. There is only a small percentage of cheese in Wisconsin that’s made from sheep’s milk.”