One Night at Uplands

Di Bruno kids with cows

This has been a special week. You’re looking at several of the most influential Philadelphia cheese people in my life — Amanda, Rich, Hunter, and Rocco from Di Bruno Bros. — standing in Wisconsin. They flew out for Cheesecon — the American Cheese Society conference — which is just finishing up here in Madison, Wisconsin. For most of them, this was a first time visit to the Midwest. Seeing them on my old home turf made me one happy dame.

Though there have been many highlights here this week — book dinners, rare encounters with dairy illuminati — the dreamiest evening was certainly our night at Uplands Cheese Co., home to Pleasant Ridge Reserve and Rush Creek. These two cheeses have become Wisconsin icons, and everyone was thrilled when cheesemakers Mike Gingrich and Andy Hatch threw a cheescon pig roast.

Hay bale parking sign

Here are a few photos — one of which captures an important moment in Wisconsin cheese history: Mike Gingrich announced his retirement. He’s passing the Uplands cheese torch (would that be a cheese straw?) to Andy Hatch, who has worked at Uplands for a number of years now. The announcement was made between sets of bluegrass music while everyone was eating supper under apple trees. How appropriate.

Waiting to go on stage

Uplands flower centerpieceMike Gingrich party

While the deal is still being finalized, it’s clear that Mike — who developed Pleasant Ridge Reserve with his wife Carol and his neighbors (Dan and Jeanne Patenaude) back in the mid-90s — has endowed one of America’s finest artisan cheeses to a great steward. Andy Hatch, who finished out the evening by playing some banjo on stage, will surely go on to make Wisconsin proud.

You can be sure that, in Philadelphia, we’ll all be waiting to see if Andy develops any new cheeses. And we’ll always have fond memories of our night at Uplands.

Rich photographing cows

Di Bruno group photo Uplands

Rocco, Matt, Hunter, Rich, Emilio, and Amanda of Di Bruno Bros at Uplands

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2 Responses to “One Night at Uplands”
  1. Julie says:

    Pleasant Ridge Reserve is a national treasure. Like I ate it once a decade ago – alright, and a few times since – and I still remember the entire name like it’s my cousin. That’s how good it is.

  2. Jane Bauer says:

    It was a great night for sure. So happy for Andy! Nice meeting all of the DiBruno crowd. Thank you for sharing the pictures…See you all in Sacramento

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