Illinois farmers are risk takers. Every year they risk their livelihood when they plant in the spring. So why would a farmer want to gamble on a new business? That’s what I asked myself when I learned that the Ropp family who farm just outside Normal, were making cheese from a herd of Jersey cows.
The Ropp Jersey Cheese became the first cows milk cheese in Illinois when they began production in 2006. That takes courage when you consider that the competition from near-by Wisconsin has had a 150 year head start in the artisan cheese business. How and why did the Ropps decide to make cheese? George and I headed down-state into rural McClain Country to suburban investigate