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Every an excellent Packers fan knows that many of the body"s warmth escapes v the head.Joe Nicholson/US PresswireST. FRANCIS, Wis. -- The man from the phone company had come install 2 extra lines last week simply to store up with the demand. The work force at Foamation, Inc., to be doubled, to 20, with 3 shifts, and also the UPS and FedEx trucks were backed approximately the loading docks pretty much 24/7.

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Ralph Bruno -- a thoughtful, angular male dressed in green and also yellow -- is deliriously happy, native both a fan"s and also an accountant"s perspective, the his eco-friendly Bay Packers room playing in Super bowl XLV. The trouble is, points at his modest factory a few miles south of Milwaukee are getting just a tad squirrely.

"We"ve had actually to ration the cheese," Bruno says sadly, shaking his head. "We"re trying to take treatment of our best customers, but it hasn"t been easy."

Twenty-four years ago, Bruno, wielding a double-edged turkey slicer and also a dream, developed the very first Cheesehead. ~ fortifying his courage with a couple of beers in the parking lot, he wore the cheddar-yellow, wedged-shaped headpiece right into County stadium for a Brewers game. Much more than everyone on earth, Bruno has actually helped revolve what was once a derogatory term for Wisconsinites (said to it is in coined by persons in Illinois) right into a source of unabashed pride. The can be fried head cheese has been watched all approximately Dallas and also Forth precious this week, an in-your-face shout-out to all those snide bear fans back in Illinois.

The Steelers have their terrible Towel, that course, but guess wherein it"s manufactured? In Baraboo, Wis., naturally, by Packers fans.

The standard Cheesehead -- i m sorry isn"t license is granted by the NFL -- weighs around a pound, has actually 25 depressions or "holes" and also measures about 14 inch on every side. A big will run you $20, v the medium $13 and small $11. Yet those are catalog prices; like game tickets in Texas, through the weekend scalpers can send Cheesehead prices soaring to double or triple their face value.

The Foamation manufacturing facility store, in a quiet ar of condos and throughout from a park, isn"t advertised anywhere. However after a regional news story critical week, pan drove through considerable snow and carried out a dizzying variety of Cheesehead products by the armload.

Bruno and his staff were exceedingly patience while an crew spent several hours on-site filming the harried operation. As they packed up, Bruno request a favor.

"You men are heading downtown?" he started tentatively. "Would you mind running a few boxes over to the Wisconsin Cheese Mart?"

Startling sophistication

Daryn Colledge, the Packers" guard, was born in Fairbanks, Alaska, and also played at phibìc Pole High School. Somehow, in spite of that fairly cheese-free environment, he emerged an appreciation.

"I love all cheeses," the 308-pound offensive lineman admitted. "That"s more than likely why my shirts look so negative on the weekends. The age cheddar"s one of my favorites, and I often tend to uncover it at every restaurant. I"m known as the guy on O-Line dinner night that orders the cheese plate. Small blocks the cheese, unique prepared, fruit, dates, a tiny bit of salami on the side.

"We"re much an ext sophisticated than we look."

A the very least when it pertains to cheese. Last week, in an interview room under Lambeau Field, one camera crew cure Packers players to a variety of samples indigenous Henning"s Wisconsin Cheese in adjacent Kiel. No age cheddar for vast receiver Donald Driver -- he hankers for something much more basic.

"And why ns say this," he explained, "is because this is the greatest nation in the world, America. I"ve constantly loved American cheese. It"s going to melt, it"s going come come off good, and if you mix it through a nice piece of ham and bread you got you a great meal -- and some potato chips.

"Sometimes I simply eat cheese simply to be eating cheese."

When Driver was drafted in 1999, he witnessed his an initial Cheesehead waking v the airport in green Bay. It to be a snapshot of the wrestler, Goldberg, who was smiling and wearing the traditional badge of the Packers fan.

"Now girlfriend see civilization wearing Cheeseheads all the time," Driver said. "I think the fans" love is specifically what the organization stands for with the legacy behind that. They don"t have a problem with reflecting their character. That"s the best thing, your character, since if you don"t have a trouble wearing the Cheesehead, then nobody else has actually a problem with you."

Said cornerback Charles Woodson: "I don"t think I might live if there"s no cheese. I"m accurate a Cheesehead.

"If we success the supervisor Bowl, I"ll wear one. I"ll wear that as lengthy as they desire me to. As lengthy as you placed champion ~ above the side of it."

Ralph Bruno proudly display screens the original Cheesehead, which the crafted with a turkey slicer.Mark James

Creating a market

Like so countless of history"s "Eureka!" moments, the bear of the Cheesehead was mainly a random event.

Bruno, who spent 5 years together an apprentice pattern-maker, to be reupholstering his mother"s couch sooner or later in 1987 when the idea an initial flashed with his brain. He was proud that his Wisconsin roots and, hey, he preferred cheese, therefore why not? that deftly sculpted a wedge the end of some leftover polyurethane foam, then crafted a number of fairly convincing faux holes with his sister"s lumber burner. Once the smoke gained too thick, his mommy chased him the end of the house.

After the cheddar-yellow paint had actually dried overnight, the Cheesehead"s very first public appearance was in the parking lot at a Brewers-White Sox game. Keep in mind the Chicago subtext; Bruno had actually read few of the Chicago newspapers, which that said referred to the Brewers and their "Cheesehead" fans.

"I traction it out of mine brown document bag, and I placed it on, and all mine baseball rotisserie buddies give me this look at of horror and also kind of scatter out of view," Bruno remembered. "But a girl comes to run up and also asks me, "Can I shot that on? have the right to I see that?" i hand the to she and every one of a sudden, following thing you know, i can"t gain the hat back from mine buddies."

Brewers outfielder stack Manning was photographed in the dugout by the Milwaukee newspaper Sentinel attract a Cheesehead and also that sparked neighborhood interest. Bruno stop his $18.75-per-hour job and began to attend sporting events with a trash bag full of homemade Cheeseheads. People, that couse, ate them up.

"I just had actually to put something on mine head that said, "Yeah, ns am a Cheesehead," " Bruno said. "It was choose charting brand-new land. There to be nothing choose that the end there."

Bruno own the trademark ~ above Cheeseheads, which are still do one in ~ a time in Bruno"s factory. The ingredients space a proprietary secret, however basically fluid polyurethane is combined with a hardening agent and blended briefly. The two chemicals react and also reach a temperature that 125 degrees before being poured into a mold. 4 minutes later, the Cheesehead emerges, the same orange-yellow color of American cheese so numerous of us ate growing up. an elderly writer Greg Garber gets into the true Wisconsin endure by do cheese curds.Mark JamesBruno"s vision, purists space at ache to allude out, is actually a compilation of 3 cheeses, borrowing its shape (one-sixth of a wheel) native Gouda, shade from cheddar and also holes native Swiss.

While the Cheesehead is the flagship article in Bruno"s empire, the hole-riddled cowboy cap is the second-most famous item -- and expected to be the runaway best-seller this mainly in Texas. You can also purchase a cheese sombrero, fez, crown, bowtie, football, beer cozy, and the newest items, cheese earmuffs and also the Vince Lombardi-influenced fedora.

Considering, the enormity the the creation -- this is, after all, the Midwest tantamount of Edison"s lightbulb or Bell"s call -- you could expect to discover the original Cheesehead in the Smithsonian, or at the very least the agree Football hall of Fame. Actually, the is wrapped in a white plastic bag in Bruno"s hall closet.

Last week, he brought it into work, where many employees witnessed it because that the very first time. It has actually held up remarkably well. The holes space a tiny crude whereby the foam was burned and also you"ve more than likely seen the pale yellow shade in exposed chair cushions. Bruno posed with it proudly.

"Cheese is comfort food," Bruno said, smiling. "It"s favor glue the holds everything together."

Curious ... And also kind

These Cheeseheads are flying turn off the rack during Super bowl week.Mark JamesSixty-two year ago, Carl and Garnet Pagel started a farm about 20 miles eastern of green Bay, top top the sheet of Lake Michigan in Kewaunee. They had actually some chickens and also pigs and also eight cows.

Today, Pagel"s Ponderosa dairy product is the biggest family-owned dairy in Wisconsin, v 4,600 cows. Last week, 400 that them to be lined increase in among John Pagel"s barns, i m sorry is the length of three football fields. While the cows to be munching on a home-grown mixture the corn, alfalfa, soybean and also hay, vapor streamed in feather from your nostrils, reminiscent of those wonderful NFL films shots the the Packers top top the sideline in ~ Lambeau Field.

"It every starts v the cow," said John Pagel, that took end the farm from his parental in 1980. "One-hundred percent of ours milk goes to do cheese."

Perhaps that"s why the largest photo on Wisconsin"s commemorative quarter coined in 2004 is the head that a cow, one of around 1.2 million statewide. In a emotional before-and-after juxtaposition, its nose is virtually touching a wheel that cheese. Cows aren"t an especially smart, yet they room curious and kind. And, in America"s Dairyland, they space milk machines.

Wearing a cheese fedora, a worker "trims the fat" turn off a Cheesehead.Mark JamesPagel"s cows eat about 115 pounds the feed each day and drink 35 gallons the water. They room milked three times a day and produce around 10 gallons of milk. The logistics are daunting, but a spectacular cow carousel provides it possible. Seventy-two animals are milked simultaneously; lock wait their rotate to be hooked up to automatic pumps, climate obediently action off as soon as the eight-minute drive is over and also their fill is lightened. 6 tankers, transporting 6,000 gallons each, leaving each job from Ponderosa (named for the ranch in the old television show "Bonanza") headed because that Saputo Cheese in black color Creek, destined to become mozzarella or provolone atop your pizza.

There is, for the visitor, an overwhelming stench of, well, cow byproducts. This, too, is dispatched with ruthless efficiency. The methane digester counter manure into enough electrical energy to power the sprawling farm, and also 800 dwellings in the community.

"I love cheese," Pagel said, v feeling. "I had cheese on mine egg sandwich this morning, and also we can have a cheeseburger for lunch. Tonight for supper, we"ll have actually a tiny wine and also cheese.

"People don"t recognize this, but the No. 1 eating-cheese-day is Super key Sunday. Particularly this Super bowl Sunday."

The FAA attributed a Cheesehead for conserving Frank Emmert Jr."s life.Mark James

A actual life-saver

Frank Emmert, Jr., that Superior, is a Wisconsin individual hero and also to this day, cynics suspect, an metropolitan legend.

On Thanksgiving weekend in 1995, Emmert attend the Packers" success over the Browns, then flew home from Cleveland a week later with his trip instructor, Baron Bryan. The weather was bad, and also they were short on fuel, but they decided to take your four-seat Skyhawk Cessna 172 on a direct route over Lake Michigan.

"The clouds split and, prior to you understand it, we were icing up really bad," Emmert remembered. "One thing caused another, and also we lost our engine. So us did what our training taught, flew that dead ahead and took the end all the trees. You try to fight the top of the trees, they relax energy.

"I shed my best wing, observed the tree coming down. Friend don"t want to fight the panel or the windshield. So, that"s once I assumed the position."

Ken McNulty is happy come tell you the eating cheese will improve your mood.Mark JamesThat"s when Emmert, sit in the passenger seat, bending forward and also pulled the Cheesehead, i beg your pardon he had actually been making use of as a pillow, end his face. The aircraft cart-wheeled a couple of times then conveniently disintegrated, leaving a debris field of more than 100 yards.

The commonwealth Aviation management photographs space harrowing. The only item visibly intact is Emmert"s bloodied Cheesehead. The influence shattered his right ankle and also left his body extended with bone-deep cuts and also scratches. His head, miraculously, was unscathed. Emmert, a jovial male who is vulnerable to the bad pun, and also Bryan, that wasn"t seriously injured, wound increase in St. Michael"s Hospital in Stevens Point.

"The FAA are the ones who credited for conserving my life," Emmert said. "They stated I might never walk again."

He wound up informing his saved-by-a-Cheesehead story come Jay Leno ~ above "The tonight Show" -- David Letterman to be steamed -- and to Geraldo Rivera. Sales that Cheeseheads soared. Once the Packers winner Super bowl XXXI a year later, Bruno"s service exploded.

"A many of human being thought it to be a public stunt by Foamation," Emmert said. "But ns didn"t know the Cheeseheads earlier then."

He does now. Emmert, in a delicious hit of karma, is tho doing his component to encourage sales. If you check out the Foamation cheesehead van driving about Dallas this week, open minded is the guy behind the wheel.

The moral of the story?

"Everything," Emmert said, laughing, "is much better with cheese ~ above top."

International reputation

Roger Krohn, master cheesemaker (that"s what it states on his service card), still gets an extremely excited once the topic comes up, i m sorry is fairly often.

"I love cheese," states John Pagel, who runs the largest family-owned dairy products in Wisconsin.Mark James"We take in about 1.4 million pounds that milk a day at this plant," the said. "We turn that into around 120,000 pounds that mozzarella every day. That"s enough to make 120,000 pizzas every day."

Krohn, who father oversaw a tiny cheddar plant start in 1960, is the top quality assurance manager in ~ Trega foodstuffs in Luxemburg. Put on a white rap coat and also hairnet to match, he takes a camera crew v a an extensive tour, stopping at one suggest to extol the plenty of virtues the cheese curds. Krohn is a really encyclopedia the cheese knowledge. Did friend know:

Wisconsin leads the country in cheese production, at around 25 percent, a full of about 2.5 exchange rate pounds.

Some 92 percent of Wisconsin"s milk goes right into cheese-making, at 138 facilities, with more than 600 varieties. That takes 10 pounds the milk (more 보다 a gallon), to make a lb of cheese.

The mean American eats an median of 36 pounds that cheese every year -- quiet a great distance behind many European nations.And there"s high quality to go in addition to all the quantity.

"We have a reputation for fine cheeses," stated Krohn, whose countless award-winning medals have the right to be checked out in the manufacturing facility store. "Wisconsin continues to dominate an international competitions, no matter where we space or wherein the judges space from."

Krohn isn"t simply a green Bay Packers fan, that is a part-owner with four shares. The Packers, the only non-profit, community-owned franchise in all of American major-league sports, have actually 112,015 shareholders, representing more than 4.75 million shares.

"That"s what"s unique about Wisconsin and also the means the Packers company is collection up," Krohn said. "There is no one owner sitting in a box that cameras pan to and also show. It"s everybody sit there. They are owned by the people.

"If friend travel and also you say you"re native Wisconsin, castle say, "Ah, you"re a Cheesehead." Most people are proud come say that."

Only at the Wisconsin dairy products Mart would you find a cow statue adorned through a Cheesehead.Mark James


Transportation Security management worker: perform you have any sharp objects in the bag?

Traveler: Uh, no, i don"t think so.

TSA worker (coyly): are you sure? maybe some ... Cheddar?

Traveler (wincing): Ohhh.

Even the cheese humor, inflicted frequently at Milwaukee"s general Mitchell international Airport, is top top the dry side. Ken McNulty, owner that the Wisconsin Cheese Mart, is an additional example.

Roger Krohn, grasp cheesemaker, is likewise one that the Packers" 112,105 shareholders.Mark JamesMcNulty"s expansive shop is in downtown Milwaukee, right across from Mader"s, the famous German restaurant wherein the schnitzel and also spaetzle are superb. The pours a glass the zinfandel from Sonoma on the butcher block bar and also slides end a bowl of cheddar, aged for 11 years.

"A nice fruity zinfandel, through a strong, acidic cheddar," that said, closeup of the door his eyes and also savoring. "It"s an impressive combination."

Indeed that is. The flavors relatively pop on her tongue. McNulty likens Wisconsin"s burgeoning cheese sector -- the boutique outfits are bringing earlier some the Europe"s an ext obscure bacter strains -- to Napa Valley"s wine culture 30 or 40 years ago.

Invariably, cheese appears to make civilization happy. According to McNulty, over there is a scientific reason for this.

"It to produce amino mountain that increase serotonin in her brain," that said. "So the actually provides us the delight factor, as with dark chocolate."

That one-pound wedge the faux cheese, that said, likewise has a chemical effect.

"When you placed the Cheesehead top top you"re a various kind that person," McNulty explained. "You"re no that mild-mannered businessman or woman you were all week long. You"re a character, just into the moment."

Ralph Bruno has shipped Cheeseheads to all 50 states and also 30 countries. He has received picture of persons wearing them in locations like the Arctic Circle, and in Africa, ~ above the head that a defect chief. He states the plant in St. Francis produces about 100,000 pieces per year, which would stretch 300 miles, every the way from environment-friendly Bay down to Monroe, if placed end to end.

All from a item of his mother"s couch.

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"I shot not come think around things choose that," Bruno said, "because I can wake up. It is really choose something you see on TV."

Bruno won"t be attending Super bowl XLV. He"s continuing to be behind to construct the inventory should the Packers win.