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Within the last two decades, much has changed in the world of food. Farm-to-table dining has become best practice in restaurants across the country. Farmers have diversified their crops to meet the needs of both creative chefs and increasingly adventurous home cooks. Consumers have an increasing interest in connecting with those who make and grow their food. Meanwhile, chefs have played a crucial role in bridging the gap between the field and the fork. Although states with longer growing seasons tend to take the credit for their ability to heed the call for local, Wisconsin has actually been at the forefront of the movement. And a great deal of credit for that goes to the state's agricultural prowess. According to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, the state is the number-one producer of cranberries, ginseng roots, whey and snap beans for processing. It's also the country's largest producer of cheese (and fourth-largest in the world), with nearly 1,200 licensed cheese makers who produce more than six hundred types, styles and varieties of cheese, nearly double that of any other state. Wisconsin ranks second in organic production and boasts a plethora of both cherry and apple orchards. And farms here harvest potatoes from sixty-three thousand acres of land, ranking the state third in potato production. Despite the shortcomings of a relatively brief growing season, the chefs in Wisconsin have capitalized on the state's bounty, offering increasingly localized seasonal menus and extending the harvest through active preservation. The book aims to tell the tale of Wisconsin agriculture, not only through stories about the farmers who provide the wealth of vegetables, dairy and livestock needed to sustain local restaurants, but also through the recipes that take those products and weave magic into them.
About the Author
Lori Fredrich is the Senior Food Writer and Dining Editor for OnMilwaukee. She is also the author of Milwaukee Food: A History of Cream City Cuisine (History Press) and the co-host of FoodCrush, a podcast "for people who eat." Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. Over the years, her recipes and writing have also been featured in a variety of publications including Cheese Connoisseur, Cooking Light, Edible Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.