Logan Ledman and Samuel Temple tell the story of the Sellner family and their legacy in this episode of 1855, focusing mostly on the invention and production of the Tilt-A-Whirl in Faribault.
If you have ever been to a county fair, you have probably have seen the Tilt-a-Whirl thrill ride. Sit back and listen in as Diane Richard interviews Tami Schluter, owner of the Historic Hutchinson House B&B, while taking the ride for a spin. Link http://www.ampers.org/pieces/short-history-spinning-swooping-tilt-whirl.
Do you have a childhood memory of your first Tilt-a-Whirl ride? Share your experience with others by commenting here.
Before moving to Faribault I simply avoided Blue Cheese. Frankly, I didn’t think about it much. I knew it smelled and it was generally expensive. Growing up, Mom didn’t use it in Mac n’ Cheese and a grilled Roquefort sandwich wasn’t standard lunch fare. But after we opened the B&B, at a Rice County Historical Society annual meeting a few years back, Jeff Jirik, the savior of the Faribault cheese caves, shared his story about reopening the plant and the amazing success he and the rest of his “cave dwellers” have achieved. If you’re into business success stories, Jeff’s story is as compelling as any. Maybe some day, he’ll write a book or better yet, you’ll run into him around town and you can hear his story first hand.
But what first hooked me was the history of the place. At that meeting, Jeff described how the caves were first used to store beer in the 1800’s because the temperature is a steady 54 degrees (not great for ice-cold beer but perfect for curing and aging blue cheese). In 1936, after Prohibition and refrigeration, a World War I veteran named Frederiksen, with a taste for the Roquefort cheese he had sampled in France, decided the American palate was ready for Blue Cheese if he could find a place to produce it. Apparently, the St. Peter limestone deposits found throughout southeastern Minnesota are perfect for curing Blue Cheese and as he searched the region he stumbled upon the old abandoned beer caves along the Straight River in Faribault. The Treasure Caves were born.
Well, like many American businesses, the Treasure Cave business was sold and re-sold a few times until the 1990’s when corporate conglomerate, Conagra, owned it and decided it was not profitable enough. Enter our hero Mr. Jirik who creatively acquired and resurrected the business to international acclaim and economic success in the early 2000’s. In fact, the story continues and although the caves still produce world class cheeses with Mr. Jirik at the helm, the business is currently owned by an Iowa cooperative - Swiss Valley Farms.
Jeff’s version of all this is far more compelling than mine but as he tells it, his passion for the variety of cheese that now come out in waves from the caves – Bleu Cheese, Gorgonzola, Gouda, and Fini, to name a few – is palpable.
All I can say is now I crave the stuff. Cheeseburgers and chicken wings can only be eaten with blue cheese. And many cheese plates have been passed and sampled with friends and guests on summer evenings relaxing on our wrap-around front porch. We even have a Blue Cheese soufflé that we serve our guests wanting to experiment with breakfast.
So, whether you’re an overnight guest or just passing through Faribault, consider stopping at the Cheese Cave retail store on Central Avenue in Faribault. Get a few wedges of cheese, grab your favorite wine pairing and stop by the Historic Hutchinson House B&B for a quiet, relaxing moment on the porch.
For a virtual tour of the Caves lead by Jeff Jirik himself, click on this link:
#betterwaytostay #visitFaribault #minnseotastaycation #onlyinminnesota
Join Lara Dunning as she visits Southern Minnesota towns and picks two foodie stops you don’t want to miss. There will be other foodie stops listed in future Minne-Roadtrip posts about where to stay and what to do, so be sure to come back and read more.
Historic Hutchinson House B&B
Just 3 blocks from beautiful, historic downtown Faribault, Minnesota, this Queen Anne Victorian home is listed on the National Register.