The Swedish farmers work with fruitieres (a fancy French word for people who turn milk into cheese) in nearby dairies to create a tiny production of 300 kilograms (661 pounds) of cheese per year. A handful of Scandinavian markets and restaurants sell Algens Hus cheese. At Vild-Hasse in Malung, Sweden, you can buy 50 grams (1.76 ounces) for 32 euros ($46).
To keep pricing and production in perspective, bear in mind that total cheese production in the U.S. last year was a whopping 9.93 billion pounds, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture -- and that's excluding cottage cheese. More than 25% of the cheese hailed from Wisconsin.
American dairy farmers have suffered in the past year as prices drop for cow's milk and commodity cheddar cheese. In the past month, cheese barrel prices were hovering around $1.26 per pound on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).) The USDA last week bolstered its Dairy Product Price Support Program -- which is part of the 2008 Farm Bill -- by temporarily boosting cheddar prices from $1.13 to $1.31 per pound in blocks and from $1.10 to $1.28 in barrels through the end of October.
Still, specialty cow's milk cheese can command a pretty penny -- not as pretty as moose cheese, but still pretty. ArtisanalCheese.com sells Abbaye de Tamie, made by French monks, out of milk they collect from 14 small farms in the Tamie Vallon, for $35 per pound. Murray's Cheese Shop in New York charges $43.99 per pound for Cato Corner Farm Hooligan cheese, which hails from a family farm in Colchester, Conn. And Formaggio Kitchen charges up to $31.95 for the best of its Comte Marcel Petite, which is aged for up to three years inside a former munitions fort in the Jura region of France.
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