Bill Anderson knows cheese. He started selling cheese at the Dane County Farmers Market in 2007 for Capri Cheesery and later became the cheese buyer for Fromagination cheese store in Madison. In 2010 he was a cheese maker apprentice at Cedar Grove Cheese in Sauk County. Then, officially licensed as a Wisconsin cheese maker, he traveled the U.S. artisan cheese scene before returning to Wisconsin last year to launch his own line of cheese called Crème de la Coulee Artisan Cheese.
Before starting his business, he needed a plan. That’s when Anderson enrolled in the Entrepreneurial Training Program at UW-Madison Small Business Development Center (SBDC).
“The SBDC course helps in getting the business plan written. Obviously the business plan is a living document, but I got to connect with other entrepreneurs and develop a basic outline of a business plan that I can use to move forward.”
Anderson says SBDC business counselor, Linda Davis, provided important market insight and strategies. “She also gave me encouragement,” he adds.
In December 2012 Crème de la Coulee Artisan Cheese introduced its first cheese called St. Brigid, named after St. Brigid’s Meadows, an organic Jersey dairy farm in Vernon County that provides the milk to make the cheese. Anderson describes the St. Brigid as a washed-rind monastic-style cheese, similar to French Munster. Milk from Jersey cows used to make the cheese has a high butterfat content which contributes to the richness of the cheese.
Crème de la Coulee cheeses are made by hand in small batches from raw milk that comes from organically raised, pasture-fed cows. The company is named after Wisconsin's Coulee Region, home to the largest number of organic farms in the U.S.
Based in Madison, Anderson currently makes his cheese at the Cedar Grove Cheese facility and markets his cheese at Madison’s West Side Farmers Market, the Willy Street Coop and a number of Madison area restaurants. Consumers can also sign up for his Cheese of the Month Club to receive a pound of cheese each month.
Anderson plans to establish his own cheese cave later this year. “That will be on the east side of Madison,” he explains. “I will continue to make cheese at Cedar Grove and other cheese-making facilities. My facility will be for ripening the cheese and bringing it to its full flavor potential and then marketing it.”
Check out Crème’ de la Coulee Artisan Cheese Company at cremedelacoulee.com.