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100th Anniversary of the Biggest Cheese in the World

The Mayor of Pine Island and the Pine Island City Council approved a proclamation submitted by the Pine Island Area Historical Society proclaiming the month of September as the "100th Anniversary of Pine Island's World Record Cheese Month".

One hundred years ago, the biggest cheese in the world was made in Pine Island and put on exhibit at the Minnesota State Fair in September of 1911. Mr. A.W. Parkin of Pine Island was the Minnesota State Inspector of Cheese and Instructor for the Dairy and Food Commission. He decided to bring together the Pine Island area cheese factories to produce the world's largest cheese and bring recognition to the fine cheese factories of this area.. He calculated the cheese output of eighteen local american cheese factories, determined how much of the starter and coloring would be needed by each factory in order to make all of their curds exactly the same.

He hired 28 men to build the giant cheese press that would be necessary to press all the cheese curd collected. The men built the press on a flatbed railroad car. The press weighed 4000 pounds.

He brought together five other experts in cheese making; Mr. G. Andrist of Pine Island, an owner of several area cheese factories, his brother and partner Mr. Edgar Parkin of West Concord, N. Simon, a prominent Wisconsin cheese maker and his son, N. Simon, Jr. of Appleton, Wisconsin and Mr. A.C. Worth, the champion cheese maker of the State of Wisconsin. They determined which cheese factories to include in making the cheese curd, and then transporting it to Pine Island to be placed in the cheese press.

They collected one day's output of 3300 cows from 250 farms in a twelve-mile radius of Pine Island. This amounted to 70,000 pounds of milk. the eighteen factories processed the milk into cheese curd and brought it to the cheese press. When everything was agreed upon by the collection of experts, the curd was pressed and produced a 6000 pound piece of cheese!

The cheese was sent to the Minnesota State Fair on the railroad car and put on exhibit at the fair as the Largest Cheese in the World. It was also entered in the fair cheese competition and scored a 98 out of 100 for quality, consistency and appearance.

A newspaper article of that time predicted the future with this statement: "This is an age of big things and Pine Island's big cheese will attract more attention and do more to advertise the town, its maker and the industry generally than almost any quantity of cheese made on exhibition in the usual way."

The City of Pine Island and the surrounding area has a world famous heritage of which all can be proud. 

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Scott Walter,
Oct 24, 2011, 8:38 AM