Even with a few accolades already to his credit, Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy Cheese Manager Ben Shibler says there is still plenty for him to accomplish. Shibler was helping package cheese at a plant in Denmark before he decided to give cheesemaking a try. In 2016, Shibler joined Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy shortly after constructing its on-site cheese plant. What stood out to Shibler was the ability to be on the ground floor of something new and working with milk being produced approximately 60 feet of pipe away.
Since coming aboard, Shibler has been a part of nine award-winning cheese entries, its most recent win at the 2019 U.S. Cheese Championship for its Farmstead Fiesta String Cheese. Shibler is now actively working on his Master Cheesemaker designation in mozzarella. The Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker course is one of the few such programs in the world and takes approximately three years to complete. Joining the ranks of other local cheesemakers like Roger Krohn, Pat Doell, and Chris Renard means a lot to Shibler.
In addition to finishing his Master Cheesemaker designation next spring, Shibler hopes to one day craft a cheese recipe unique enough to be considered an original to not just the United States but also to Wisconsin. Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy will have a number of cheese varieties get judged at the Wisconsin State Fair Dairy Products competition, which will be judged later this month.
Pictures courtesy of Pagel's Ponderosa Dairy