Nasonville Dairy’s Ken Heiman Thankful for Community Support
Since 1885, local cheesemakers have produced traditional Wisconsin cheeses on the same site just outside of Marshfield. Now world famous for its products, the Nasonville Dairy team is internationally recognized for being some of the best in the art, science and tradition of cheesemaking.
Carrying on the family tradition of excellence in cheesemaking is Ken Heiman, General Manager of Nasonville Dairy. His parents purchased the plant in 1985 and he and brothers Kim and Kelvin and their families have been operating it ever since. Nasonville Dairy was recently awarded the Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s (MACCI) “Firm of the Year” Award, which they will accept at a ceremony taking place this week.
Now running more than 1.5 million pounds of milk every day (a truckload of milk lasts them just 37.5 minutes!), the company produces an excess of 160,000 pounds of cheese each day. While there are 1,200 licensed cheesemakers in Wisconsin, just 52 of them have achieved the designation of Master Cheesemaker.
A certified Master Cheesemaker in Feta, Cheddar, Monterey, and Asiago cheeses, Heiman is continually perfecting recipes and creating new flavors.
“Sometimes a new product takes years of development. We made a cheese last night and this will be the first time this cheese has ever been made,” said Heiman. “If this cheese works, it’s a whole new market.”
“It’s the top of the top. This is a once in a lifetime,” said Heiman. “You can’t get any higher with MACCI than Firm of the Year. We received Small Business of the Year back in 2006. Now to be given this, it shows how we’ve grown that much more.”
(Nasonville has also received the “Family Business of the Year” award.)
Honored to be the latest recipient of MACCI’s highest award, Heiman is quick to credit the team at Nasonville Dairy and the surrounding community for helping them achieve success.
“We have some super people, really great people. I hope people realize that our accomplishments are because of the other accomplishments of the people in the group,” he said. “All of our infrastructure is located here- the stainless people, the controls people, the transportation people, the fuel, tires, trucks themselves. Then there’s the construction people. We’ve been blessed with the infrastructure that allows us to flourish and grow.”
Heiman is also proud to employ workers from Opportunity Development Center, which is also one of their major suppliers of liners and boxes.
“To us, we feel that we first of all represent our families, our employees, and our farmers,” said Heiman. “We also represent industry itself. In all honesty, industry would fit a ways up the ladder because all of us are involved in agriculture.”
Nasonville Dairy and the Heiman families are passionate about supporting the Marshfield area community, and are active supporters of many local nonprofits, including Marshfield Area United Way, Shirley’s House of Hope, Marshfield Clinic’s Auction of Champions, and many more.
“That’s what it’s about. We hope to exemplify the businesses that are here. These are the business that are paying taxes here, that are paying people here, that make this community,” he said.“We’ve been fortunate to have been given a position in which we can do a lot. We always explain to employees that it’s important that this comes back to the community.”
Heiman is proud to be a community leader and encourages everyone to do what they can to help their neighbors.
“Somebody’s got to be the leader and everybody else will chip in and it will go a lot further. If you look at what needs to be done, it’s going to take all the people in the village,” he said. “No single one is going to make all the difference in the world.”
Nasonville has no plans of slowing down. Though Heiman looks forward to the day when he can focus more on “playing mad scientist and farmer,” he is confident that the next generation of the family is well equipped to continue the company’s success.