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Every good Packers pan knows that most of the body"s warm escapes through the head.Joe Nicholson/US PresswireST. FRANCIS, Wis. -- The guy from the phone company had come install 2 extra lines last week simply to save up through the demand. The work pressure at Foamation, Inc., was doubled, to 20, with three shifts, and the UPS and also FedEx trucks were backed approximately the loading docks pretty lot 24/7.

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

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

Twenty-four year ago, Bruno, wielding a double-edged turkey slicer and a dream, created the first Cheesehead. After fortifying his courage with a couple of beers in the parking lot, that wore the cheddar-yellow, wedged-shaped headpiece into County stadion for a Brewers game. Much more than anyone on earth, Bruno has helped turn what was once a derogatory term for Wisconsinites (said to be coined by persons in Illinois) into a resource of unabashed pride. The can be fried head cheese has actually been checked out all about Dallas and also Forth worth this week, an in-your-face shout-out to all those snide bears fans earlier in Illinois.

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

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

The Foamation manufacturing facility store, in a quiet neighborhood of condos and across from a park, isn"t advertised anywhere. But after a regional news story last week, pan drove through an extensive snow and also carried the end a dizzying array of Cheesehead assets by the armload.

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

"You guys are heading downtown?" he began tentatively. "Would girlfriend mind running a few boxes over to the Wisconsin Cheese Mart?"

Startling sophistication

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

"I love all cheeses," the 308-pound attack lineman admitted. "That"s more than likely why my shirts look so negative on the weekends. The aged cheddar"s one of my favorites, and I have tendency to uncover it at every restaurant. I"m well-known as the male on O-Line dinner night that orders the cheese plate. Small blocks the cheese, unique prepared, fruit, dates, a small bit of salami ~ above the side.

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

A least when it comes to cheese. Critical week, in an interview room under Lambeau Field, an camera crew treated Packers football player to a variety of samples native Henning"s Wisconsin Cheese in adjacent Kiel. No aged cheddar for wide receiver Donald Driver -- he hankers for something more basic.

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

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

When Driver was drafted in 1999, he witnessed his very first Cheesehead waking with the airplane in green Bay. It to be a photo of the wrestler, Goldberg, who was smiling and also wearing the typical badge the the Packers fan.

"Now you see people wearing Cheeseheads every the time," Driver said. "I think the fans" love is exactly what the company stands for v the tradition behind that. They don"t have actually a trouble with mirroring their character. That"s the biggest thing, your character, due to the fact that if girlfriend don"t have a problem wearing the Cheesehead, then nobody else has a difficulty with you."

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

"If we victory the super Bowl, I"ll wear one. I"ll wear that as long as they desire me to. As long as you put champion top top the side of it."

Ralph Bruno proudly screens the initial Cheesehead, which the crafted through a turkey slicer.Mark James

Creating a market

Like so many of history"s "Eureka!" moments, the birth of the Cheesehead was greatly a arbitrarily event.

Bruno, who spent 5 years together an apprentice pattern-maker, was reupholstering his mother"s couch at some point in 1987 as soon as the idea first flashed through his brain. He to be proud that his Wisconsin roots and, hey, he favored cheese, so why not? he deftly carved a wedge the end of some leftover polyurethane foam, then crafted a variety of fairly convincing faux holes v his sister"s lumber burner. As soon as the smoke gained too thick, his mother chased him out of the house.

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

"I traction it out of mine brown paper bag, and also I placed it on, and also all my baseball rotisserie buddies give me this look at of horror and kind that scatter the end of view," Bruno remembered. "But a girl comes to run up and asks me, "Can I try that on? can I check out that?" ns hand that to she and all of a sudden, next thing girlfriend know, ns can"t get the hat ago from my buddies."

Brewers outfielder stack Manning to be photographed in the dugout by the Milwaukee newspaper Sentinel wearing a Cheesehead and also that sparked regional interest. Bruno stop his $18.75-per-hour job and also began to to visit sporting events with a garbage bag full of homemade Cheeseheads. People, that couse, ate castle up.

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

Bruno owns the trademark top top Cheeseheads, which space still do one at a time in Bruno"s factory. The ingredients room a proprietary secret, however basically fluid polyurethane is blended with a hardening agent and also blended briefly. The two chemicals react and reach a temperature that 125 degrees before being poured right into a mold. 4 minutes later, the Cheesehead emerges, the exact same orange-yellow shade of American cheese so countless of us ate growing up. senior writer Greg Garber gets right into the true Wisconsin experience by do cheese curds.Mark JamesBruno"s vision, purists room at pains to point out, is in reality a compilation of 3 cheeses, get loan its shape (one-sixth of a wheel) from Gouda, color from cheddar and also holes from Swiss.

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

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

Last week, he lugged it into work, where most employees observed it for the very first time. It has held up remarkably well. The holes are a small crude where the foam to be burned and also you"ve more than likely seen the pale yellow shade in exposed seat cushions. Bruno posed v it proudly.

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

Curious ... And also kind

These Cheeseheads space flying turn off the rack during Super key week.Mark JamesSixty-two year ago, Carl and Garnet Pagel began a farm around 20 miles east of eco-friendly Bay, top top the leaf of Lake Michigan in Kewaunee. They had some chickens and also pigs and eight cows.

Today, Pagel"s Ponderosa dairy is the biggest family-owned dairy products in Wisconsin, v 4,600 cows. Last week, 400 that them to be lined increase in one of John Pagel"s barns, which is the length of 3 football fields. When the cows were munching on a home-grown mixture of corn, alfalfa, soybean and also hay, vapor streamed in feather from their nostrils, reminiscent of those fantastic NFL movies shots that the Packers ~ above the sideline in ~ Lambeau Field.

"It every starts with the cow," stated John Pagel, who took end the farm yard from his parents in 1980. "One-hundred percent of our milk go to do cheese."

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

Wearing a cheese fedora, a worker "trims the fat" off a Cheesehead.Mark JamesPagel"s cows eat about 115 pounds that feed every day and drink 35 gallons of water. They are milked 3 times a day and also produce around 10 gallons the milk. The logistics room daunting, but a spectacular cow carousel renders it possible. Seventy-two pets are milked simultaneously; lock wait their turn to it is in hooked up to automatic pumps, climate obediently action off as soon as the eight-minute journey is over and their pack is lightened. Six tankers, carrying 6,000 gallons each, leaving each work from Ponderosa (named for the ranch in the old television display "Bonanza") headed for Saputo Cheese in black Creek, destined to become mozzarella or provolone atop your pizza.

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

"I love cheese," Pagel said, v feeling. "I had actually cheese on mine egg sandwich this morning, and also we might have a cheeseburger because that lunch. This evening for supper, we"ll have actually a small wine and also cheese.

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

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

A real life-saver

Frank Emmert, Jr., of Superior, is a Wisconsin individual hero and to this day, cynics suspect, an urban legend.

On Thanksgiving weekend in 1995, Emmert to visit the Packers" win over the Browns, then flew home from Cleveland a week later with his flight instructor, Baron Bryan. The weather was bad, and also they were short on fuel, but they made decision to take their four-seat Skyhawk Cessna 172 ~ above a straight route end Lake Michigan.

"The clouds separation and, prior to you know it, we were icing up yes, really bad," Emmert remembered. "One thing resulted in another, and also we shed our engine. So we did what ours training taught, flew that dead ahead and also took out all the trees. You try to struggle the tops of the trees, they release energy.

"I lost my appropriate wing, saw the tree coming down. Girlfriend don"t want to struggle the panel or the windshield. So, that"s once I suspect the position."

Ken McNulty is happy to tell you that eating cheese will improve your mood.Mark JamesThat"s when Emmert, sit in the passenger seat, bend forward and pulled the Cheesehead, which he had actually been using as a pillow, over his face. The airplane 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 undamaged is Emmert"s bloodied Cheesehead. The impact shattered his ideal ankle and left his body extended with bone-deep cuts and scratches. His head, miraculously, to be unscathed. Emmert, a jovial male who is at risk to the poor pun, and also Bryan, that wasn"t seriously injured, wound up in St. Michael"s Hospital in Stevens Point.

"The FAA space the ones who credited for conserving my life," Emmert said. "They claimed I can never go again."

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

"A lot of of human being thought it was a public stunt through Foamation," Emmert said. "But i didn"t know the Cheeseheads earlier then."

He go now. Emmert, in a delicious punch of karma, is quiet doing his component to encourage sales. If you see the Foamation cheesehead valve driving roughly Dallas this week, open minded is the male behind the wheel.

The moral of the story?

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

International reputation

Roger Krohn, master cheesemaker (that"s what it claims on his business card), tho gets really excited once the subject comes up, i m sorry is rather often.

"I love cheese," claims John Pagel, who runs the largest family-owned dairy in Wisconsin.Mark James"We take it in approximately 1.4 million pounds the milk a day in ~ this plant," the said. "We revolve that into about 120,000 pounds the mozzarella every day. That"s sufficient to make 120,000 pizzas every day."

Krohn, who father managed a little cheddar plant beginning in 1960, is the top quality assurance manager in ~ Trega foodstuffs in Luxemburg. Attract a white rap coat and also hairnet come match, the takes a camera crew v a considerable tour, preventing at one point to extol the plenty of virtues of cheese curds. Krohn is a veritable encyclopedia of cheese knowledge. Did you know:

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

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

The typical American eats an typical of 36 pounds of cheese every year -- tho a an excellent distance behind many European nations.And there"s top quality to go together with all that quantity.

"We have actually a call for good cheeses," claimed Krohn, whose countless award-winning medals have the right to be viewed in the factory store. "Wisconsin proceeds to dominate an international competitions, no issue where we are or whereby the judges are from."

Krohn isn"t merely a eco-friendly Bay Packers fan, the is a part-owner with four shares. The Packers, the just non-profit, community-owned franchise in all of American major-league sports, have actually 112,015 shareholders, representing an ext than 4.75 million shares.

"That"s what"s unique about Wisconsin and also the means the Packers organization is set up," Krohn said. "There is nobody owner sitting in a box that cameras pan to and show. It"s everybody sit there. They room owned by the people.

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

Only in ~ the Wisconsin dairy Mart would certainly you discover a cow frosting adorned v a Cheesehead.Mark James


Transportation Security management worker: carry out you have any type of sharp objects in the bag?

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

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

Traveler (wincing): Ohhh.

Even the cheese humor, inflicted regularly at Milwaukee"s general Mitchell worldwide Airport, is top top the dried side. Ken McNulty, owner the the Wisconsin Cheese Mart, is one more example.

Roger Krohn, grasp cheesemaker, is also one the the Packers" 112,105 shareholders.Mark JamesMcNulty"s expansive shop is in downtown Milwaukee, right throughout from Mader"s, the famed German restaurant whereby the schnitzel and spaetzle are superb. He pours a glass that zinfandel indigenous Sonoma ~ above the butcher block bar and slides over a bowl of cheddar, aged for 11 years.

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

Indeed that is. The flavors fairly pop on your tongue. McNulty likens Wisconsin"s burgeoning cheese sector -- the boutique outfits space bringing back some that Europe"s more obscure bacterial strains -- come Napa Valley"s wine society 30 or 40 years ago.

Invariably, cheese seems to make human being happy. According to McNulty, over there is a scientific factor for this.

"It produce amino mountain that boost serotonin in your brain," that said. "So the actually offers us the pleasure factor, as with dark chocolate."

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

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

Ralph Bruno has shipped Cheeseheads to all 50 states and 30 countries. He has received picture of people wearing them in places like the Arctic Circle, and in Africa, on the head of a defect chief. He says the tree in St. Francis produces about 100,000 piece per year, which would stretch 300 miles, all the way from environment-friendly Bay under to Monroe, if placed finish to end.

All native a item of his mother"s couch.

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"I try not to think around things choose that," Bruno said, "because I can wake up. The is really favor something you check out on TV."

Bruno won"t it is in attending Super bowl XLV. He"s staying behind to develop the inventory should the Packers win.