So, here is my most recent publication, the cover story for this week’s Isthmus.  Researching this piece turned me into a believer in the benefits of whey, and Tera Johnson has made me believe that her whey is best for both my body and my planet.  Check it out:

Tera Johnson begins the tour of her one-of-a-kind organic whey processing plant at its back entrance, in front of a double-wide delivery bay. Here, on busy days, 20 tanker trucks roll in to deliver up to a million pounds of the sloshy cheese byproduct.

Wisconsin Specialty Protein, which opened early last year, occupies an eight-acre section of the Reedsburg industrial park, strategically located in the middle of exceptionally productive dairy country and a carefully protected network of Baraboo River Valley wetlands.

“The landscape architect who worked on this project, his dad studied with Aldo Leopold,” says Johnson, a Madison-area resident. “He got very excited when I asked him to implement native landscaping on a hardcore manufacturing site. He drew a plan that looks a bit like Eden.”

Johnson waves toward a landscape that supports a pair of nesting cranes. “See that tall grass?” she asks. “That’s an industrial-strength rain garden designed to handle all the stormwater on the site.”

She notes that the city of Reedsburg, like Madison, imposes a stormwater utility charge based on how much runoff a property owner generates. “We don’t have to pay it because of how we landscaped. People think green is more expensive. Not necessarily. It actually costs us less to have the rain garden.”

It’s innovative thinking like this that has earned Johnson more awards than she has time to hang on her office wall. Wisconsin Specialty Protein’s $14 million processing facility won a gold medal award in the green building category as an Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin 2009 Project of Distinction.

Read the Rest

6 replies

  1. Wow. I never knew what whey was, What a great project Tera Johnson took on. Its wonderful to learn about one of the what I am sure are many people this entrepreneurial that care about the environment. Thanks Denise for sharing this in a way that I could understand.

    Now I wonder, what are the curds that Ms. Muffet had with her whey…..

    • Yes, I admire Tera tremendously for all she has done. And we are enjoying her whey regularly. I often make a whey shake for part of the provisions we take out to the land for a quick pick me up. Today I made it with milk, yogurt and a few cups of little blackberries that we gathered from the wild brambles on our land yesterday. Then I added a few scoops of bourbon vanilla whey.
      We sat down and drank it together after a rigorous afternoon. I was scything wild parsnip, and Doug was stripping bark off trees we have targeted for the house. We both sweat through our clothes till they were dripping. Then we sat down and shared that wild berry whey shake. It doesn’t get much better than that.

  2. Yes, I like it too. Mostly I like that the vanilla can be souped up with fruity or chocolate. I haven’t tried a broccoli whey shake yet, but I’m sure that would be very nutritious.

    • Yes, what I learned researching that article has turned me into a whey drink appreciater. Today when i spent the morning scything wild parsnip, and the afternoon raking hay and mulching the raspberries, then carrying water from the pond to the green house, I really appreciated a whey break. We mixed some frozen strawberries, yogurt, milk and whey powder together. It was so cool and reviving. I really don’t know if I would have got the pond water hauled without it.

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