The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board and specialty cheese manufacturer Roth K¿ USA, Ltd., Monroe, Wis., teamed up in late March 2003 to provide 31 representatives and cheese buyers from the Midwest region of Whole Foods Market, Austin, Texas, with a hands-on tour of Wisconsin cheesemaking. The tour was designed to educate Whole Foods Market staff members on the basic techniques of cheesemaking, to provide insights into Wisconsin's unique Master Cheesemaker program and to position Wisconsin as a primary resource for top-quality specialty and artisanal cheeses.

Eighteen Whole Foods Market stores were represented. Guests toured the Roth K¿ and Klondike Cheese Co., also of Monroe, Wis., and experienced the tradition and heritage of Wisconsin specialty cheese production.

Whole Foods Market currently operates 144 stores nationwide, and is recognized as a proponent of high-quality specialty cheese. All stores offer full-service specialty cheese departments, and the company places strong emphasis on training and educating its associates about cheese.