Clement Zuercher learned cheese making and dairy farming from his father and grandfather in the canton of Zug Switzerland. In 1904, he emigrated to the U.S to become a cowboy in Kansas. After a year of hard work and little money, he decided he should stick with being a cheesemaker. At the time, the area around Monroe Wisconsin was a hotbed of new cheese companies, and many of the owners and makers had recently emigrated from Switzerland. Clem moved to Brodhead WI and went to work for a Swiss man named Gail Borden.
Gail Borden went into mass production in 1918 and sold a little dairy to my grandfather. Over the next couple of years, my grandfather figured out that he could sell a lot more cheese if he had a warehouse in Chicago. So in 1921, he founded C.E. Zuercher & Co. to sell the cheese made in his dairies. In addition, he sold cheeses made by other U.S. companies, as well as imports like Emmenthal, Roquefort, Pecorino Romano and Danish Blue. Clem’s emphasis was on table cheese, which was what they called quality and specialty cheese back then.
In many ways, we haven’t changed very much. Over the years, we have added hundreds of cheese varieties to our selection, along with olives, nuts, and cured meats. Yet, our emphasis remains on quality, along with the goal of delivering our specialties in the best shape possible.