We have been very fortunate to now have our fourth generation involved in a healthy, growing family business. I believe much of our success through the years is attributable to the skills and dedication of our dedicated patron farm families, cheesemakers and team members.

Milk is the main ingredient in our award-winning cheese. We have partnered with local, family-owned patron farms to source the freshest, highest-quality rBST-free milk. Some of our farm families have been with us for generations. Within hours, our four master cheesemakers and a highly skilled team of licensed cheesemakers turn that milk into cheese.

It is fun to see the reactions of guests as I walk them through our facilities. They are often amazed that our cheesemaking process is so reliant on the cheesemakers and their decades of experience. The process is very hands-on, and we are using many of the same techniques that we have used since Day One. We take pride in our cheese, which often takes time and patience, whether it’s curing the cheese to the right age or hand-rubbing each treated wheel.

Staying current and relevant

People, products, culture and family are the secret ingredients to our success. We invest heavily in our team members, providing them with growth and training opportunities. This is great for them individually, and helps Sartori stay on top of trends and ahead of the ever-changing environment. Our team members really help us stay connected to the many markets in which we compete. Treating team members and partners like family creates a unique and winning environment where we stress integrity, accountability and ingenuity.

We have been blessed with strong generational relationships with many partners and customers. Our patron farmers supply us with some of the best milk on the planet. They help our cheesemakers in our goal of making the best cheese in the world.

We strive to stay in touch and up-to-date with modern-day research, as well as old-fashioned talking and connecting with customers and consumers. We conduct thorough research and analysis on the dairy industry each year, and within all the segments that we compete, utilizing and reviewing primary and secondary research and analysis on industry changes or trends to help stay on top of it all. We are fortunate to have a talented group of team members who are encouraged to think and explore outside of the box.

One of the favorite aspects of my role is maintaining and growing Sartori’s relationships with partners. We have a commitment to understand and serve our customers, patrons and suppliers. I take pride in our organization’s ability to maintain close and open communications to gain a better understanding of their customers’ needs and to deliver a superior result.

Internally, we invest heavily in our team members, providing growth and training opportunities. Additional training helps us stay connected to the many markets in which we compete. Team members at Sartori are always encouraged to think and explore outside the box.

Celebrating 75 years

It is amazing to think that we started out with such humble beginnings in 1939. The company was founded by my grandfather, Paolo Sartori; my dad, Joe Sartori; and Lou Rossini. (Rossini was later bought out by the Sartori family). I think they would be pretty proud of where the business is today.

Throughout 2014 we will be celebrating our 75th anniversary with a special emphasis on giving back. We will support with funding, product and volunteering throughout the Wisconsin communities of Plymouth and Antigo, and across the country. Multiple contributions and volunteer efforts at local food shelters throughout Wisconsin will be supported by my family and team members, as well as the continued partnerships with Wisconsin Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer, a non-profit organization dedicated to funding research into pediatric cancer and related blood disorders.

In January, we released a special Family Heirloom 36-month-aged Parmesan in celebration of our anniversary. This exclusive cheese will be available on a limited basis only in 2014. A special cheese previously set aside only for the family, this aged Parmesan has a fruity, caramelized nutty flavor. We also have a big party planned for the team members, patron farm families and partners to celebrate this wonderful milestone.  

Dairy Foods seeks essays from dairy processors. Contact carperj@dairyfoods.com.