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Profile of Cheesemaker and Trainer Eldore Hanni

Cheesemaker Eldore HanniA Wisconsin licensed cheese maker at age 17, my first experience in managing a small cheese factory took place during the year 1944 near Juneau, Wisconsin. However, 7 months later, I found myself drafted into the Army Infantry. After being trained, I experienced 3½ months of combat duty during World War II in Europe. Returning home 2 years later, I joined my father in the cheese business and continued working for him for the following 17 years. During this time I had the experience of making many kinds of cheese. Cheddar, Colby, Muenster, Jack, Baby Gouda, Edam, Brick, Port Salut, Blue Cheese, Italian cheeses, Caraway and smoked Nordost, and others. Entering some of this cheese at the Wisconsin State Fair cheese contest, I went on to win several blue ribbons two years in succession.

At age 37, I left the home plant and moved my family 165 miles north to Hamburg Wisconsin. With fear and trembling, I took over management of "Corn Belt Cheese Factory", a small cheese factory which was failing and ready to close. Two years later, the factory was prospering at which time I purchased it. At this factory, I pioneered in being the first to successfully make Muenster and Jack cheese in 40 pound blocks. After 9 years, I succeeded in convincing 2 neighboring cheese factory owner operators into merging our 3 small plants and building one new large modern plant. I designed the new plant which then was completed and operating during the year 1972. Two years later, some of our partners wanted to sell. So we sold the plant to new owners from New England. The plant is now named "Inofood Inc." and is producing tons of "Rondele" cheese which can be purchased in many supermarkets throughout the U.S.

My father, Gottfried Hanni, at age 19, arrived here from Switzerland during the year 1920. Working for his cheese maker brother, who arrived in Wisconsin earlier, my father soon met and married a farm girl by the name of Ruth Radke. Later, during the year 1930, he became the manager of a small country cheese factory near Mayville Wisconsin, which he eventually purchased. During much of the following 40 years, he kept expanding the factory and also experimented in making many kinds of specialty cheeses. He was a pioneer in making small wheels of cheese when most cheese makers were making in 80 pound rounds. My father was the first cheese maker in the country to make Muenster cheese in 12 ounce wheels.

Continuing with my personal story, it's now 1974. I moved my family to southern Wisconsin where I purchased a small cheese business "Carr Cheese Factory". This is where I was led to develop a special Baby Swiss recipe. I was not the first to make Baby Swiss in 5 pound wheels, but I was the first to make two pound and 20 ounce wheels of Baby Swiss. I also was a pioneer in packaging this cheese using red and yellow plastic bags. At this factory I also started making delicious hand rubbed shelf cured 20 pound wheels of Baby Swiss which I named "Amsoldingen" Swiss (named after the village in Switzerland where my dad was born).

Five years later, I joined some Amish dairy farmers near Winfield, Pennsylvania. They were interested in building a new cheese plant. I designed a sizable new factory which then during the following two years was constructed by the Amish dairy farmers. I now moved my entire cheese making business from Wisconsin to the new Pennsylvania factory. The majority of cheese we produced in this plant was Baby Swiss.

After another 5 years, I turned the management of this business over to our accountant Michael Price. I then started a small research and development cheese plant in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. This is where we made a large variety of cheese spreads, and I also was able to create several new cheese recipes including a very successful cheese product which I named "Portelet" (Port-a-lay). In December of 1989, I sold this entire venture to new owners from Bethel, Pennsylvania. However, the quality and reputation of our products were soon destroyed by the new owners.

Now in the beginning of the 21st century, in addition to being a nutritional teacher, I feel led to concentrate my efforts in helping the small dairy farmers. I am currently in the process of training a number of families in making Natural Farmstead Cheese right on their farms, thus leaving a trail for others to follow.

Eldore Hanni

Eldore Hanni lived a good life until the age of 86, born 2-15-1926 died 7-24-2012. His daughter Lenore carried on the Farmstead Fresh business from July 2012 - June 2017.

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