Generations of Cheese in Jefferson County

Hailey Rose

March 27, 2024

When you think of Wisconsin, what do you think of? CHEESE! Cheese is not only a staple of Wisconsin, but also a cherished family tradition of Jefferson County. For generations, two family businesses–Kraemer Wisconsin Cheese and Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese–have been producing premier cheeses for the community, county, and beyond. With a prized past, present, and delicious products, you’ll want to keep reading. Discover the generations of cheese (and cheesy goodness) right here in Jefferson County.


Photo Credit: Discover Mediaworks

To begin our Jefferson County cheese tour, we’re diving into the past, when Kraemer Wisconsin Cheese and Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese originally opened their doors.

Up first: Kraemer Wisconsin Cheese in Watertown. Kraemer Wisconsin Cheese, founded by Mike Kraemer’s grandfather, all started in 1929 as a door-to-door milk round. By the 1930’s, Mike’s father, second generation, became actively involved at the young age of seven. His cheesy legacy carried on to the third generation, where Mike and his five siblings learned from the ground up, including the fundamentals of counting money, interacting with customers, and working hard. They quickly fell in love with working together, and providing comfort cheeses to the entire community.

Next, a Waterloo gem, Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese, where four brothers–Charles, George, Tom, and Mark–started their own generational legacy. The four brothers originally grew up on a dairy farm near Beloit, Wisconsin. In working on the farm as young boys, they began to feel a sense of accomplishment as they completed each daily task. Using this drive and dedication, they created their own success story–Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese.


Photo Credit: Discover Mediaworks

Fast forward to present day at these Jefferson County cheese hubs, another generation has been introduced, playing a vital role in the long-lasting tradition.

Today, at Kraemer Wisconsin Cheese, Mark’s nieces, the fourth generation, joined in on the cheese family tradition. Working together as a family, they’ve received astounding reviews, such as most friendly staff. At Kraemer Wisconsin Cheese, it’s a happy, humorous place, with the best Wisconsin-made, local cheeses. To the Kramer family, local means quality. And it doesn’t get any more local than Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese

Without further ado, let’s take a look at Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese in the present day. Between the four brothers, there are 12 total children of the next, second generation. Many of the 12 have returned to their roots–joining the family business and choosing cheese as a career. The Crave family has started putting a succession plan in place, delegating ownership to the future generation. Roseanne Crave, second generation, is dedicated to staying true to the original values and goals of the business. Roseanne, and the second generation, each bring their own unique skill set and interests to the table, bolstering the foundation of the family farm.


Photo Credit: Discover Mediaworks

Now that we’ve discovered Jefferson County’s cheese companies from past to present, it’s time to indulge in their premier products.

Offering a menu of cheesy products, Kraemer Wisconsin Cheese will surely satisfy all your needs. From house-made cheese spreads and Wisconsin’s finest cheese curds, your new creamy favorite awaits. And the selection doesn’t stop there…Kraemer Wisconsin Cheese also serves homemade fudge and artisan sausage! It’s a one-stop shop for all things sweet and savory.

Meanwhile, at Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese, it’s all about the cheese. Check out their classics, including fresh mozzarella, mascarpone and chocolate mascarpone. Not to mention, at Crave Brothers, there’s also farmers rope string cheese, cheddar cheese curds, and even oaxaca! Is your mouth watering yet? 

In Jefferson County, Kraemer Wisconsin Cheese and Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese, are two cheesy traditions that continue to be carried on for more generations to come. Each family business takes pride in their past, present, and finest products. Taste the perfected, cheesy tradition first-hand–only in Jefferson County.

Watch the family traditions unfold in Discover Wisconsin’s original short, ‘Jefferson County Cheese’ below:

Hailey Rose: Writer for Discover Mediaworks. A born & bred Wisconsinite with a love for fishing, hunting, and enjoying the great outdoors.

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