In 2011, two families from Allamakee County in Northeast Iowa decided the time was right to enter the local food market with dairy products made with milk from their own farms.
Five years later, WW Homestead Dairy is a growing brand in Northeast Iowa, Southeast Minnesota, and Southwest Wisconsin.
WW Homestead Dairy is owned by Tom Weighner, Paul Weighner, and Tom Walleser. Between the three of them they have over 90 years of experience in the dairy industry. “We work hard to produce dairy products that are natural, have great flavor and taste, and are as fresh as possible,” say the WW Homestead Dairy owners.
That hard work has allowed WW Homestead Dairy to grow from three full-time and a few part-time employees to eight full-time and five part-time employees. They also employ about five high school kids to help run their retail store and ice cream parlor. All three owners are actively involved in the business. Tom Weighner manages the day-to-day operations at the creamery as well as marketing and sales. Paul Weighner works with food safety, quality assurance and advertising, and Tom Walleser spends his time on deliveries and sales.
WW Homestead offers its customers a full line of dairy products, including; milk, cheese curds, block cheddar cheese, butter and ice cream. They have recently added pre-battered frozen cheese curds for deep frying, which have become very popular at local restaurants and colleges.
Another new product, cottage cheese, will be available to local institutions and grocers in 2017. “We are currently working on
WW Homestead Dairy started offering their cheese curds in 2011, making small 200 pound batches of cheese curds once or twice a week. Now they make cheese curds almost daily, averaging 2,500-plus pounds of cheese curds a week and have titled themselves “The Cheese Curd Capital of Iowa.”expanding our product line to include cottage cheese and are continuing to expand our markets by working with colleges and schools,” says Liz Murphy of WW Homestead Dairy.
That’s fitting, because their cheese curds are available in eight flavors and have won multiple awards over the past two years. The White Cheddar Cheese Curds and Jalapeno Cheese Curds were award winners at the 2015 Iowa State Fair and the Garlic & Dill received an award from the American Cheese Society in 2016.
Their slogan “Where Does Your Milk Come From?,” has become a mission statement for the crew and they enjoy giving tours of their processing plant and farms. Over the last year they have given many tours to school groups and have enjoyed teaching the students how milk gets from the cow into a gallon of milk. Anyone who stops by their retail store is encouraged to walk down the processing hallway, which has large viewing windows, and take a self-guided tour. “The hallway allows visitors to see the hard work, effort and quality that goes into WW Homestead Dairy products,” said Murphy.
The Wallesers and Weighners have always managed their farms for quality milk, but now it feels even more important, as they will have a constant reminder that the milk is intended for their friends, family and neighbors. “That is the way all of this is managed,” says Walleser. “Quality is our absolute priority.”
Neither farm is certified organic, but their cows receive no rBST or other hormones. They strongly believe in raising their cattle as naturally as possible.
You can learn more and sample products from WW Homestead Dairy at Feast! Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016 at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, Minn., from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The day will be well spent with more than 100 different food businesses exhibiting in addition to chef demos, workshops, kids’ activities, and a Real Food Media film fest. Or, for more info visit www.homesteaddairy.com.