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Milwaukee County Zoo's Dairy Cows Now Milking for Clock Shadow Creamery

Zoo partners with Clock Shadow Creamery
The Zoo is excited to have its dairy cows milking for Milwaukee’s own Clock Shadow Creamery.

Posted November 2015

Since 1987, the Milwaukee County Zoo’s Dairy Complex in its Northwestern Mutual Family Farm has been home to the city of Milwaukee’s only working dairy farm. Recently, the Zoo partnered with Cedar Grove Cheese in Plain, WI, which also owns Clock Shadow Creamery in Milwaukee, to have the Zoo’s dairy milk picked-up and processed into a variety of cheese products. Opened in 2012, Clock Shadow Creamery is a pioneering urban cheese factory committed to being a model local venture.

“I have enjoyed the Milwaukee County Zoo since I was young, and understand the important role the Zoo farm has in educating visitors from urban areas about the important role of dairy farming and dairy processing in our state,” says Bob Wills, owner of Cedar Grove Cheese. “I like the idea of being able to support the Zoo’s mission by buying milk and providing a source of revenue.”

Zoo partners with Clock Shadow Creamery
Located in historic Walker’s Point, Clock Shadow Creamery is a pioneering urban cheese factory committed to being a model local venture.

On average, the Zoo’s dairy cows provide about 150 pounds of milk per day for the Creamery, which equates to 15 pounds of cheese. A milk hauler and truck from Clock Shadow picks up the milk at the Dairy Complex twice per week.

Wills adds, “The quality of Zoo milk is excellent. The animals are treated very well (truly “happy” cows). And, our neighbors are able to follow the milk from the Dairy Complex to the closest dairy plant and see how it is turned into a wide variety of cheese types.”

The Zoo’s milk from the dairy cows is then co-mingled with other milk to make many cheese types, including squeaky fresh cheddar curds, quark and ricotta. Theoretically, Clock Shadow could make a small batch with only Zoo milk, but that’s not the most efficient.

“We are excited to be a part of this small urban cheese factory,” says Lisa Guglielmi, area supervisor of the Zoo’s Northwestern Mutual Family Farm. “This is truly historic for the Zoo, and for the owners of this first-ever urban cheese factory in our state. We couldn’t be happier about the partnership.”

The Zoo’s Northwestern Mutual Family Farm is home to a variety of species, including Ayrshire, Red and White Holstein, Black and White Holstein, Milking Shorthorn and Brown Swiss. The current milking herd numbers three. Milk quality is based on the amount of fat and protein composition: the higher the fat and protein content, the higher the milk quality. For the past 15+ years, the Milwaukee County Zoo has received a Superior Quality Award for its milk produced throughout the year. In Wisconsin today, dairy production is a $26.5 billion industry.

For more information on this unique partnership, please call the Zoo’s Public Affairs and Services Division at 414.256.5411.