Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

It’s true: Ellsworth cheese curds really are the best November 17, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:00 AM
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Western Wisconsin based Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery.

Western Wisconsin based Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery.

BASED ON THE RECOMMENDATION of a dear friend, whose sons have worked in a Faribault area based festival concession stand that serves cheese curds, I tried cheese curds from Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery. Deb is right. This Wisconsin co-op’s cheese curds are the best I’ve ever eaten.

These cheese curds sell fast.

These cheese curds sell fast.

Now I’m no cheese expert. But these curds are less salty than most, making them a win-win for my taste buds.

Apparently lots of others agree. The creamery’s retail store proved one busy place when my husband and I stopped on an early October weekday afternoon while vacationing in western Wisconsin.

Customers can watch employees bagging cheese curds.

Customers can watch employees bagging cheese curds.

Through a window, I watched employees package cheese curds before selecting two small bags of regular and cajun curds and two other Wisconsin cheeses to bring back across the border to Minnesota. Family dairy farms in Minnesota and Wisconsin supply the creamery with its milk.

Trucks line up to deliver milk to the creamery.

Trucks line up to deliver milk to the creamery.

Much to my grew-up-on-a-dairy-farm delight, I spotted bulk milk trucks lined up outside the plant.

The sign makes it official.

The sign makes it official.

Whatever this co-op’s recipe, their cheese curds have become a national success, titling Ellsworth as “The Cheese Curd Capital of Wisconsin.”

Someone really ought to tell that to the local who gave us directions to the creamery. He seemed less than enthused when we asked about the creamery and other attractions in town. “It’s Ellsworth,” he sighed. I wondered in that moment why he hadn’t moved elsewhere given his clear discontent with his hometown.

No thanks to this unwelcome welcome, we found two additional places of interest—east Ellsworth and the stunning Pierce County courthouse—after stopping at the creamery for those famous cheese curds.

You can sample selected varieties of cheese curds at the retail store before purchasing.

You can sample selected varieties of cheese curds at the retail store before purchasing.

Now I realize most of you likely are not going to drive to Ellsworth. So you can either search your local grocery store dairy department for these tasty curds. Or you can shop online by clicking here.

You can buy butter at the retail store, too, although I don't believe it's actually made in Ellsworth.

You can buy butter at the retail store, too, although I don’t believe it’s actually made in Ellsworth.

I wasn’t paid to write this. I didn’t get free cheese curds. I simply love Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery cheese curds. Plus, I possess a deep affection for cows and dairy farmers and dairy products. I am, after all, a dairy farmer’s daughter who worked side by side with her father in the barn.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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23 Responses to “It’s true: Ellsworth cheese curds really are the best”

  1. 4Hands Says:

    And I completely agree; they ARE scrumptious!

  2. treadlemusic Says:

    I/we have heard about Ellsworth’s claim to fame but seem to go “brain dead” every time we pass through the settlement!!! Another “destination” for a bike ride——–next summer!!!!!!

  3. Dan Traun Says:

    Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery is #1 on my short list of favorite small town creameries. No surprise really as I have lived in its general vicinity all my life and have enjoyed much cheese from here. I can still remember our school field trip to this creamery. It was pretty interesting stuff as a young lad. I’ve never been able to enjoy a curd made by any other. As you noted, these have a unique flavor and are not as salty. My other favorites – #2 Nelson Cheese Factory (Nelson, WI) and #3 Eau Galle Cheese Factory (Eau Galle, WI). Mmmmm….cheese!

  4. I love me some cheese curds. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I’m just going to say: never met a bad cheese curd.

  6. Boy does your post bring back memories with the cheese curds – YUM – have not had cheese curds since I lived in the Midwest – now I want some – ha 🙂 Happy Day!

  7. Jackie Says:

    I love cheese curds, I’m sure these are yummy, makes me kind of want to go buy some 🙂

  8. Cheese curds are one of my favorite foods in the world!

  9. Beth Ann Says:

    I LOVE cheese curds. Absolutely love them. So maybe I need to get some Ellsworth ones because I am fairly positive I have not tried them.

  10. Thread crazy Says:

    As I child we always visited the Middlefield Cheese Factory in Ohio when we went to visit my Dad’s parents. Down south we do not have that pleasure – more general cattle raising in our part of the world. Must put that on my list to do – order some!! Good advertisement Audrey – you make a great spokeswoman for the company!!


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