DOOR COUNTY, Wisc. (WBAY) In conjunction with June Dairy Month, the state celebrateed "Wisconsin Cheese Day" on Monday.
When it comes to cheese making, Wisconsin is king, and no other state comes close.
To highlight the importance of the cheese industry to Wisconsin's economy, state leaders and representatives from the dairy industry visited six cheese producers around the state on Monday, including Renard's Cheese in Door County.
The family-owned, third generation, cheese making company specializes in cheddars, cheese curds, and mozzarella string cheese.
"Wisconsin cheese is well known throughout the whole United States and even into Europe for the high quality of cheese, if you go back and look at all the championships that are won, Wisconsin is always up at the top," says owner Chris Renard.
According to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Wisconsin leads the nation in the number of cheese plants with 127, more than twice as many as any other state.
Wisconsin cheese makers produce over 600 varieties, types and styles of cheese.
The next closest state is at 250.
"I think in Wisconsin, cheese day is every day," says Rosalie Geiger with the Wisconsin Farm Bureau.
Geiger says cheese consumption in this country is up 59-percent over the past 30 years.
That's why Renard's is expanding its operations.
"A lot of people are eating cheese now just as a snack. It's healthy for you, it's better than candy out there for the kids, so we've noticed a big growth in that, cheese curds, string cheeses, the fresh eat cheese, plus also the flavored cheeses have really grown," says Renard.
"And we have so many different flavors and different ways you can use it, I mean whether it's on a salad, in a sandwich, or for dessert or with a glass of wine for the evening, there's so many ways of serving cheese," adds Geiger.
If you're the average American, you will eat 34 pounds of cheese this year.