Patty Peterson, Larry’s Market

Patty Peterson grew up in the specialty food business. Her father, Larry, purchased a corner store that delivered groceries to Milwaukee’s elite in 1970. Within a year, he started bringing specialty foods to Wisconsin and became a leader in selling, at the time, unknown products at the store. Larry’s Market was the first to sell brie, Perrier and croissants in the state of Wisconsin. Over the years, Larry’s has evolved from a focus on imported products to local, handmade products, specializing in Wisconsin artisan and farmstead cheeses. Today, Larry’s Market is owned by Patty’s brother, Steve, and employs 25 full- and part-timers, has a retail store, cut-to-order cheese counter, deli and small cafe, catering division, and a gift department. Patty remembers “taking inventory” at the store when she was 13 and began working summers and school holidays the day after she graduated from high school. After college and a brief stint in design, the urge to return to the store was too great, and she has been working there full-time ever since. For the past several years, Patty has been committed to championing American artisan cheeses. She enjoys working with local Wisconsin cheesmakers and, along with Steve, has helped many new cheesemakers get their product to market. As a dedicated member of ACS since 2003, she has attended every conference and was  co-chair of six Festivals of Cheese. Patty is honored to be selected as a judge again this year.