By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer Published Jun 21, 2012 at 9:04 AM

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Heigh ho the dairy-o! Cheesemaking has come to Milwaukee!

Clock Shadow Creamery, the city's first urban cheese factory, made its first batch of cheddar cheese curds over the weekend after being approved for its dairy plant license on Friday. The licensing process is no small feat, according to owner Bob Wills.

"I am thrilled that this cheese dream is finally becoming a reality," he says. "We will have had at least 12 offices or agencies involved in the inspection end of things before we're through."

Clock Shadow is located at 138 Bruce St. in the FIX Building, which also houses the Healing Collective of Milwaukee, Aurora Walker's Point Community Clinic and CORE/El Centro.

The creamery shares space on the first floor of the building with Purple Door, producer of locally made premium ice cream. The two businesses will collaborate in strengthening the economy and providing a solid income for area farmers by creating a built-in market for rBGH-free milk from farms on the urban fringe of Milwaukee.

Bob Wills reports that the creamery expects to be making as much as 1,000 pounds of cheese a day in the plant. In addition to cheese curds, Clock Shadow's manager and cheesemaker, Ron Henningfeld, will focus on making a variety of fresh cheeses including quark, a European fresh cheese with a mild flavor and soft texture similar to cream cheese or sour cream, in addition to other specialty cheeses.

Next on the list, Wills reports, is a friable cheese which the creamery will begin producing this week. Moving forward, the creamery has plans to make two separate batches of Camembert – one from grass-fed cows, and another from conventional dairy milk – so that consumers can experience the contrast between the two.

"Currently, we carry our own cheeses, a large selection of Cedar Grove cheeses and a selection of the best cheeses from around the state, including Uplands, La Clare, Hooks, Cesar's, Noble View, Sartori and more," says Genya Erling, sales and outreach manager.

"Business has been growing over the past two weeks since we opened the retail store, and our offerings are growing all the time as well. We are now offering fresh bakery, Purple Door ice cream, and we will soon begin selling prepared foods, drinks, milk and other dairy products, and an extended variety of crackers, preserves and other cheese-related goods."

The public is invited to attend the Clock Shadow Building's Grand Opening Party, which will take place Thursday, June 21. The event kicks off at 3:30 p.m. with tours that will include the creamery and Purple Door Ice Cream, as well as the building's rooftop garden.

A formal program will start at 5:30 p.m., followed by a block party from 6 to 8 p.m. that includes music from Milwaukee's own Semi-Twang, food from local restaurants, beer from Milwaukee Brewing Company and additional tours of the building. The event is free and open to the public. RSVP online or by calling Stephanie at (414) 225-4247.

Not able to make it to the grand opening? Get a taste of the delicious offerings from both Clock Shadow Creamery and Purple Door Ice Cream this Saturday, June 23, at the Walker's Point Food Crawl.

Purchase tickets online now.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer

Lori Fredrich (Lo) is an eater, writer, wonderer, bon vivante, traveler, cook, gardener and girlwonder. Born and raised in the Milwaukee area, she has tried to leave many times, but seems to be drawn to this quirky city that smells of beer and alewives.

Some might say that she is a little obsessed with food. Lo would say she is A LOT obsessed with food. After all, she has been cooking, eating and enjoying food for decades and has no plans to retire anytime soon. 

Lo's recipes and writing have been featured in a variety of publications including GO: Airtran Inflight Magazine, Cheese Connoisseur, Cooking Light, Edible Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as well as on the blog Go Bold with Butter, the web site Wisconsin Cheese Talk, and in the quarterly online magazine Grate. Pair. Share.