Butter sculpting has always been one of the highlights of the state fair, but this year the planning committee churned out something everyone can sink their teeth into.
Sarah Kaufmann, who is affectionately referred to as the cheese lady, has been molding life-sized cheese sculptures for the past 17 years. She even carved her way into the Guinness book of world records with a 925-pound masterpiece.
“I have to blame my cheese sculpting career on me being a natural born cheesehead from Wisconsin. That’s it,” laughed Kaufmann. “But, I drew as a kid; draw, draw, draw, draw, draw. Then, I went to college for commercial art, worked for the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, and that’s where I ran into cheese carving. Doing this cow with people watching is part of the fun. If I had to be in a room all alone, it wouldn’t work. It would be too boring. So, the people come up to the window. I can hear them chatting. I wave at them. And, I can tell them about the cheese, the milk, the farmers. It’s always amazing how many people are amazed at the size of the cheese. This is 680 pounds of cheese, which in the world today, that’s just the norm that cheese is made. The flavor is excellent. I give samples. They taste it. It’s just an example of the quality of the milk that we have here in Upper Michigan.”
Kaufman’s prized pieces don’t go to waste either. Her latest hunk of art will be diced up and served to pigs on a local farm.