My day trip back in June was focused on the balloon championships and photographing barn quilts. For this trip back to Monroe, I was looking forward to seeing a bit more including cheesemaking which is what really puts the town on the map.
My travels to Monroe this time included a planned detour through Albany in order to hopefully see some of Green County's Amish community. Getting out of the house a bit later than I wanted and knowing I needed to be to the Roth Kase USA, Ltd. factory & store by 9:30am, I didn't spend much time exploring the rural roads of the eastern side of the county. I did return back through Amish area at the end of the day as I made my way back home to Milwaukee.
Touring the Roth Kase factory, it was interesting to see how a modern cheese factory utilizes much of the same principles of cheesemaking from the old school European masters. Even if they are using more efficient technology and machines, there is still quite a bit of manual labor necessary to make the wonderful Wisconsin cheeses that are available throughout the United States.
I found great perspective with my subsequent visit to the National Historic Cheesemaking Center located in Monroe. Their photos and exhibits provide visitors with a real view into how cheesemaking was advanced over the past 150 years.
Last time I was in Monroe I did have the opportunity to visit the Minhas Craft Brewery. On this trip I included their sister business, the Minhas Micro Distillery to my agenda. The history of the brewery and production of alcoholic beverages is a large part of the local culture here. With its close proximity to Chicago, it is little wonder that Monroe played a prominent role during Prohibition back in the 1920's and early 1930's.
As I was traveling out and about around Monroe's surrounding rural areas, I was happy to stumble upon a few barn quilts that I had not visited or photographed during my June visit. Two of them are new in 2012, having been added to the updated Green County Visitor Guide and Barn Quilt Map. Kudos to the UW Extension Office for the great job in marketing the barn quilts, encouraging tourism to the county.
I do plan on returning back to do more photography later this winter, hopefully after we have a decent snow fall. I can only imagine the beauty of the countryside with pristine white snow for as far as they eye can see. I also want to visit the Swiss Colony Outlet as well as get back to the Minhas Craft Brewery plus perhaps another cheese factory or two.
So much to see & do . . . so little time when you're doing it one-day-at-a-time!