Our Signature Foods—and CALS

By Dean Kate VandenBosch

Wisconsinites aren’t called Cheeseheads for nothing. But consider, too, our deep love of brats fresh from the grill and a gooey ice cream sundae for dessert.

These foods are nothing less than the taste of Wisconsin—a taste that is acclaimed around the world. We here at CALS can take particular pride in that. A big part of our job has been to develop those foods to their full potential, sharing what we learn in our campus labs and production plants with industry, students and other stakeholders around the globe. When you savor the rich flavor of a Wisconsin artisan cheese or sausage, or a scoop of Babcock Hall ice cream, as a CALS grad you also appreciate the sophisticated science behind it.

Often a cheese, ice cream or sausage maker will come to us with little more than a dream. Our meat and dairy scientists will work with that producer from the recipe stage through production and countless revisions, testing on small batches. Other industry professionals rely on CALS experts for everything from continuing education in production to the latest information on food safety.

These foods are nothing less than the taste of Wisconsin.

Yet our current campus dairy research and production facilities date back to the 1950s, and our meat and muscle lab to the 1930s. While we have done a spectacular job with renovations and workarounds, the time has come when we simply need new facilities in order to maintain leadership in the field. People come to us for guidance, to learn the best from the best, and our facilities need to reflect that. If we don’t act now, Wisconsin risks falling behind.

The good news is that businesses, legislators, your fellow alumni and other stakeholders recognize this need and are committed to addressing it. Efforts to raise private funds for new dairy and meat facilities are well under way, with donations to be matched by the state. Enough funds have been raised from donations so far for both projects to have garnered approval by the UW
Board of Regents.

I invite you to learn more about these exciting projects at the websites below. And please know that when you “share the wonderful,” in the spirit of our new campus-wide giving initiative, your gifts to the CALS Annual Fund will go toward meeting our most critical needs-including our work in advancing Wisconsin’s signature foods. We thank you most sincerely for your help.

Dairy and cheese: www.cdr.wisc.edu/building
Meat: http://meatandmore.wisc.edu/

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Posted in Communities, Fall 2012, In Vivo |