Cheesemaker Tom Torkelson makes artisan cheeses at his small cheese plant, Natural Valley, in Hustler, near the heart of south western Wisconsin's Driftless area.
About 80 Amish dairy farmers, along with 16 dairy goat farmers (eight are certified organic), supply milk to Natural Valley Cheese. The farmers all graze their goats and cows on pasture during the milking season, so that the animals consume a greater variety of minerals, generating flavors in the milk that are transferred to the cheese.
Produced from equal quantities of cow's and goat's milk, Cowbilly is aged on cedar boards for a minimum of 60 days.
The texture is firm, dense and slightly brittle, becoming drier with age. Cheeses are washed by hand regularly to produce a range of savory flavors that include notes of grass, wood, and slightly sour cream.