The Hot List 2024: Inga Witscher-Orth | culture: the word on cheese
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The Hot List 2024: Inga Witscher-Orth

This story is part of culture’s 2024 Hot List. Click here to learn more about the selection process and to see the entire list of recipients.

Photo courtesy Inga Witscher-Orth

Inga Witscher-Orth

Owner, St. Isidore’s Dairy
Osseo, Wisconsin

Inga Witscher-Orthis a fourth-generation dairy farmer who milks cows and makes cheese on her micro-dairy in Osseo, Wisconsin. In 2018, she revamped the farm to include a small creamery, where she makes a small-batch, raw-milk, clothbound cheddar from the milk of six grass-fed Jersey cows. St. Isidore’s Dairy was recently awarded a 2024 Good Food Award for its Clothbound Cheddar. As a passionate advocate for small family farms and grazing livestock, Witscher-Orth shares her journey on PBS television series Around the Farm Table. The show combines recipes and stories from her daily life on the farm and in the local agriculture community.

What was your big “aha moment” when you entered this industry?

My biggest “aha moment” in cheese was during tasting in Paris ten years ago. I tasted a raw-milk goat’s cheese that had been made a few days before; it was filled with the flavors of Provence, rosemary, and lavender. When I learned the flavors had come from what the animals were grazing on, I knew I had to start making a raw-milk cheese.

What’s your number one goal for your career in the cheese industry?

My goal is to encourage more micro-dairies across America. Micro-dairies are a way for more dairy farmers to stay on the land and be profitable on the farm. Dairy farmers are resilient people, and I encourage more family farms to look into farmstead cheese. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a “Cheese Trail” throughout the United States?

I would also like to start a conversation with cheese lovers on the benefits of grass-fed milk. The benefits of grazing livestock are many, and the flavors of grass-fed cheese are extraordinary.

Pair a celebrity with a cheese.

Bruce Dern and Limburger.

You’re on a desert island and can only eat one cheese for the rest of your life. What is it?

Roelli Cheese Dunbarton Blue.

What is an underrated cheese that everyone should know about?

Dream farm goat cheese—it’s a small-batch farmstead near Madison.

What is a pairing you’re ashamed to love?

A gin martini and fried cheese curds while watching reality TV.

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