World Dairy Diary

Wegmans, Cornell Partner in Artisan Cheese

keeley's cheeseWegmans Food Markets and Cornell University have partnered to put N.Y. on the map for artisanal and specialty cheesemaking. Products from five artisan cheesemakers have debuted at Wegmans’ Pittsford, N.Y. store.

As part of the partnership, Wegmans is providing $360,000 in funding for a three-year pilot program at Cornell that includes the hire of an artisan cheese extension associate position in the CALS Department of Food Science who will create a training curriculum that is supported by focused standard operating procedures (SOPs) which will serve both entrepreneurs as well as the state’s larger cheese producers.

It will focus on the skills required for both basic and advanced cheesemaking through hands-on workshops and coursework. Beginners will start with the basics of dairy microbiology and sanitation, while more advanced cheesemakers can train in molding, brining and curing, and quality assurance.

Early participants in the program include Keeley’s Cheese Co. (King Ferry), Danascara Artisan Cheese (Fonda), Sprout Creek Farm (Poughkeepsie), Goats & Gourmets (Westerlo) and Old Chatham Sheepherding Co. (Old Chatham), each of which was represented at Wednesday’s event.

Wegmans CEO Danny Wegman also announced that the retailer has begun sourcing its store-branded cheddar cheese from New York cheese makers, after years of marketing cheeses manufactured in Canadian dairies. Its mild cheddar is now made in the Great Lakes town of Adams, while its medium cheddar is made by Yancey’s Fancy in Corfu and its intense cheddar hails from New York City’s Flatiron District, where it is made by Beecher’s.

Source: Cornell University

Kerrygold Sweet Cheddar to be Available in U.S.

IRISH DAIRY BOARD KERRYGOLD SKELLIGThe Irish Dairy Board has introduced Kerrygold Skellig, a sweet Cheddar cheese, to supermarkets and specialty stores across the U.S.

A popular Cheddar variety in the U.K., Kerrygold’s sweet Cheddar is a complex cheese with a firm yet creamy texture, a distinct nuttiness and sweet apple notes. The cheese is not “sweet” as sugar is sweet, but describes an intensely flavorful, high-umami quality.

Like all Kerrygold cheeses and butters, Skellig is made in Ireland with milk from grass-fed cows that are free of artificial growth hormones. The cows are raised on small family farms, with an average herd size of 60.

Kerrygold Skellig will be available beginning in March at major supermarkets and specialty stores.

Source: Irish Dairy Board

Joseph Farms Brings Home Awards

joseph-farms-california-cheeseThird-generation, family-owned cheesemaker Joseph Gallo Farms closed out 2012 with a record 30 awards for its dairy products, including 17 gold medals, and a first place win at the World Dairy Expo Championship Dairy Championship Contest.

Joseph Gallo Farms, maker of Joseph Farms Cheese, was established in 1946 by Joseph Gallo and continues to produce cheese from its own dairies.

“We raise the cows, grow the feed, milk the herd and make the cheese here on our farm,” said Peter Gallo, director of operations for Joseph Farms.

The focus on farm-to-table and quality control has contributed to the Gallo family’s success and the growing list of prestigious awards.

Among the gold medal winners are the newest Joseph Farms cheeses – Chipotle Cheddar, Jalapeño Muenster, Italian Garden Jack, Caraway Cheddar and Reduced Fat Monterey Jack. These new products are a result of the cheesemakers “dreaming up new ideas.”

Among the 2012 awards is the national first place World Dairy Expo award for the Joseph Farms whey protein isolate. This is a high-protein product used in many name-brand drinks, weight loss supplements, sports nutrition bars and bodybuilding supplements, Gallo explained. It is also shipped globally to developing nations without a developed dairy industry.

The most recent awards bring the total to over 100 awards in state, national and international competitions, including 77 first place awards at prestigious state and world-wide competitions.

Source: Joseph Farms

DFA Cheeses Recognized

Congratulations to Dairy Farmers of America’s (DFA) for having six of its cheese products earned recognition at the 2012 National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) Championship Cheese Contest in Orlando, Fla.

NMPF’s contest serves as a platform for cooperatives from across the country to showcase their top products and recognize the individuals who make them. The annual event was the first cheese competition that utilized grading standards to improve cheese quality, and to display such quality in a competitive forum. This year’s competition drew 176 entries, a record number.

Awards were presented for the following products:
· First Place, Soft Italian — DFA Mozzarella, New Wilmington, Pa.
· First Place, Open Class — La Vaquita Queso Panela, Houston, Texas
· Second Place, Soft Italian — DFA Provolone, New Wilmington, Pa.
· Second Place, Processed American Flavor — DFA White American Loaf with Pepper, West Middlesex, Pa.
· Third Place, Processed American Plain — DFA White American Loaf, West Middlesex, Pa.
· Third Place, Open Class — La Vaquita Queso Fresco Mexicano, Houston, Texas

Through Global Dairy Products Group (GDPG), DFA produces retail cheese and butter, foodservice cheese and butter and a wide range ofdairy protein ingredients. The Cooperative’s consumer brands include Borden® Cheese and Butter, Keller’s® Butter, Plugrá® Butter and Cache Valley® Cheese, among others. GDPG also is a leading contract manufacturer of shelf-stable products for national and international food companies.

Source: Dairy Farmers of America (DFA)

Oregon State Launches New Cheese

Oregon State University has debuted it’s new cheese, a specialty alpine cheese (like Swiss, Comte or Gruyere) dubbed by the students “Beaver Classic.” It’s a mild cheese, with nutty flavors like caramelized onions.

OSU started online sales this week, but home football game sales of the stuff have been under way since early September.

The college creamery is a hallmark of many land-grant universities in the U.S. It gives students hands-on experience, provides food safety and production training to state businesses, tests products and flavors, and provides the campus (students, staff and alumni) with a healthy supply of milk, cheese, butter and most importantly, ice cream.

After 30 years of closed doors, OSU’s cheese plant re-opened in 2009 with a new philosophy and a unique product.

In addition to educating students, the goal is grow the local dairy markets, not compete with them. In OSU’s case, that also means growing the local artisan cheese market, which now consists of about 20 vendors. In the cheese business, startup costs can be quite pricey, so OSU allows cheesemakers to come in and use the plant to produce their first cheeses for up to a year.

Source: NPR’s The Salt

Nuns Make Heavenly Cheese

The Gouda produced by the nuns at Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Virginia has been referred to as ‘heavenly.’

The 13 nuns support themselves by making the Dutch-style Gouda, which they produce in a cheese barn just down the hill from the monastery. It’s an enterprise they inherited from the farm’s previous owner.
It is very much a community effort, where all 13 of the sisters are involved in the process.

“I think what makes our cheese special is the fact that part of our tradition is to do whatever you do as well as you can, whether it’s sweeping a floor or cooking the dinner or feeding the dog, or gardening or making cheese,” says Sister Barbara Smickel.
The nuns expect to sell about 10,000 wheels of their hand-made Monastery Gouda by Christmas.

“I think people buy it because it’s good, but also because they feel a certain solidarity with our way of life and want to support it in the way they can,” Sister Barbara says. “We try to put a lot of love and prayer into the cheese. We say that’s the secret ingredient.”

Source: Voice of America

Cheese Waste Product Powers Utah State Dragster

A team of engineering students from Utah State University has set a new land speed record using a car that burns a new form of sustainable biofuel made from a waste product of the cheese manufacturing process.

“How many people get to drive a car they helped build with fuel they created from a living microorganism?” asks USU undergrad biochemist Michael R. Morgan, who drove the dragster across Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats Speedway to its landmark finish earlier this month.

The Aggie A-Salt Streamliner, as it’s officially known, runs on yeast biodiesel derived from the industrial waste of cheese production. The sleek, Aggie-blue hot rod was among some 200 high-tech racers competing at the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association’s 2012 World of Speed event Sept. 8-11.

At its top speed, the Aggie vehicle clocked in at 65.344 miles per hour. At first glance, that speed may fail to impress NASCAR fans or even most interstate motorists. But make no mistake; it’s a head-turning achievement for a biofueled vehicle with a one-liter, two-cylinder engine. The USU team raced the dragster in separate runs, using petroleum diesel and the yeast biofuel, respectively. Powered with the latter, the speedster was able to match its previous petroleum-fueled run.

“Developing a biofuel on a large enough scale to run in the dragster was a tough undertaking,” says USU biochemist Alex McCurdy, a third-year doctoral student in Seefeldt’s lab, who is supported by a National Science Foundation research assistantship and is the recent recipient of a departmental environmental chemistry award. “It’s one thing to produce a small amount in the lab and discuss how it will work in theory. It’s another to actually put it in a dragster, while everyone watches it take off.”

Read more from USU.

Crave Brothers Release Anniversary Cheese

Crave Brothers Farmstead Classics has announced a new Petit Frère® with Truffles to celebrate its tenth anniversary.

This celebration cheese has made the tenth anniversary even more exciting by being awarded First Place in the Flavored Cheese Category at the 2012 American Cheese Society Judging and Competition held on August 3, 2012 in Raleigh, NC.

For anniversary-worthy recipes and information about Crave Brothers Farmstead Classics, visit their website.

Source: Crave Brothers Farmstead Classics

New Artisanal Cheese Plant in Wis.

Emmi-Roth USA will build an artisanal cheese plant in Platteville, Wis.T he company estimating it would employ from 32 to 60 employees, depending on future expansion plans.

The company will produce Grand Cru cheese, a type of Gruyere. This product recently won several top awards at the International Cheese Competition held in Madison, Wis.

Emmi Roth also has a cheese plant in Monroe, Wis., known as the Swiss Cheese Capital of the country.

Prosperity Southwest Wisconsin said the new plant will bring European technology to the U.S. The plant will utilize both copper and stainless steel in its cheese making process, along with the leading edge of computer automation in the dairy industry.

As an incentive, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation is providing the company up to $500,000 in tax credits and a $600,000 loan to assist in the expansion. The tax credits will be distributed annually in direct relation to the number of jobs retained over a three-year period, based on the number of new, full-time positions created. The low interest forgivable loan is for seven years and is also based on number of jobs employed. The loan also requires that 80 percent of the milk come from Wisconsin dairy producers. The firm wanted to be close to a good supply of milk and in a city with water treatment facilities, so it would not have to treat its own wastewater.

Source: Area Development Online

Cabot to Phase Out Vermont Reference

Cabot Creamery Cooperative is phasing out the reference to “Vermont” on its labels, because the milk it uses in it’s dairy foods doesn’t come solely from Vermont, but also from surrounding states.

One old logo has “Cabot” stamped over a green outline of the state, with the word “Vermont” next to it. Another has the shape of Vermont under the word “Cabot.” The new one has a green barn and the words “Owned by our Farm Families in New York & New England.”

Some state officials are worried about the change, saying Cabot’s widespread distribution helps promote other Vermont products and tourism. They are considering changing state law to let Cabot keep the Vermont reference in its logo.

While Cabot has been synonymous with Vermont since the cooperative was founded in 1919, the state also has a tough truth-in-labeling law. Cabot’s butter is made in West Springfield, Mass., from cream sourced from around New England, said Roberta MacDonald, Cabot’s vice president for marketing. But Vermont references were “all over the packaging,” Assistant Attorney General Elliot Burg said.

MacDonald said Cabot agreed with Burg’s concern and speeded up introducing the new logo on its butter. Cabot’s cheeses and other products continue to be made in Vermont, but the milk used in making them comes from farms around New England and New York.

Shumlin said he was working on a proposal “that might lead us to a solution that would preserve the integrity of the Vermont brand and enable Vermont companies like Cabot to spread the Vermont love.”

Richard Stammer, CEO of Agri-Mark Inc., a Northeast dairy cooperative that includes Cabot, said that even if the state changes its law, Cabot will not change its logo back.

Source: Times Union

Sargento Introduces Ultra-Thin Slices

Sargento Cheese introduces a new line of Ultra-Thin cheese slices. Have you tried them yet?

Our new Ultra Thin Sliced natural cheeses allow you to enjoy the delicious taste of your favorite varieties with 45 or fewer calories per slice.

Source: Sargento Cheese

Order a Domino’s Pizza This Weekend!

Love pizza and farming? Then you need to be part of the movement to thank Domino’s Pizza for their support of agriculture. This weekend, May 18-20, order a pizza from your local Domino’s and present them with a thank you note.

In April Domino’s Pizza shareholders rejected a resolution proposed by the Humane Society of the United States to require its pork suppliers to stop housing sows in gestation stalls. In fact 80% of shareholders voted against the resolution. A Domino’s spokesperson says the company relies on animal experts to determine the best way to raise an animal that’s used for food.

The blog The Truth About Agriculture started a Facebook Group, Farmers Paying it Forward with Pizza where you can show your support.

Missouri hog farmer and agvocate Chris Chinn put forth the idea last week in a blog post she wrote for Just Farmers.

Chinn says, “Domino’s decision speaks volumes to me as a farmer. It shows they trust the experts I trust. It shows they trust me. I appreciate that.”

Source: Ohio Ag Net

Cornell to Sell Big Red Cheddar

Cornell University will introduce a six-month aged mild white cheddar this fall. The cheddar, called Big Red Cheddar, will be sold online and in campus retail outlets such as Cornell Orchards and the Cornell Store, in one and two pound wheels.

The cheeses were developed by dairy extension specialist Rob Ralyea, with the help of Brian Bailey, master cheese maker at Yancey’s Fancy cheese company, and Howard Van Buren of Chr. Hansen, an international company that develops natural ingredients for the food, pharmaceutical, nutritional and agricultural industries.

The cheese will be marketed mainly to Cornell’s 300,000 alumni, students, faculty and staff, but Cornell Dining and Cornell Catering are also expected to be large wholesale customers. They currently use about 2,400 pounds of mild cheddar per year.

Kathryn Boor, the dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, was among those who tested the cheeses.

“Cornell Big Red Cheddar represents not only a great new product to come out of Cornell Dairy, but also our expanded efforts to support the New York dairy industry and its emerging entrepreneurs in cheese, yogurt and other fermented products,” Boor said.

“It seems like there has been a rebirth in the state for dairy, and it’s a great time to be in this industry. We have really good milk, we have good students, we have good support, we have good products,” added Bailey, of Yancey’s Fancy. “I’m really excited about what’s going on at Cornell, and I’m glad to be a small part of it.”

Source: Cornell University

Wisconsin Picks & Bites

The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board has a new program for foodservice professionals, retailers and consumers alike who love cheese. Called Wisconsin Cheese Picks & Bites℠, the program offers more than 50 hand-held cheese creations for all to enjoy!

Each petite pick or bite combines Wisconsin Cheese with a few luscious ingredients that deliver irresistible flavor combinations and easy preparation. The choices range from savory to sweet and rely on fresh ingredients for contemporary appeal.

Restaurateurs can enliven a bar menu with choices from the eclectic collection as well as feature the Picks & Bites℠ as zesty appetizers. Their colorful eye appeal makes them a perfect garnish to a salad, soup or entrée. And, they offer great pairing opportunities, especially as a garnish for today’s popular cocktails. Sweet selections are a creative addition to the mini dessert plate, and the expansive choices encourage signature cheese course options.

Caterers can take advantage of these creative cheese applications, and will find selections make an outstanding passed hors d’oevre and buffet attention-grabber.

Retailers will find a wide variety of in-store promotional possibilities with Picks & Bites℠. WMMB has developed a variety of in-store merchandising materials to support this new addition to its popular in-store Toolbox retail programming that includes a recipe brochure, counter cards, iron man signage and table tents. The selection also is an innovative way for shoppers to sample new cheeses or enhance a deli or prepared food display. Several picks can be grouped to sell in the prepared foods section, especially for home entertaining occasions.

Consumers, too, can easily and quickly compose Picks & Bites℠ for entertaining and other special occasions. Many are simple enough to engage the entire family in kitchen duty while offering kids an educational opportunity and enticement to try new cheeses and the fresh ingredients that complement them.

A downloadable Picks & Bites℠ brochure, featuring photos and ingredient listings for each item is available to trade and consumers online.

Source: Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board

Celebrate National Grilled Cheese Day!

WDD fans – don’t forget tomorrow is National Grilled Cheese Day! Be sure to celebrate by making a delicious grilled cheese sandwich. If you have a whole family to feed, why not try this nifty trick from “Cook’s Country?”

Let us know in the comments if it works! Leave your favorite grilled cheese recipes too.

Cheese Plants in Wis. Growing

Wisconsin will be getting three new cheese plants in the state. Emmi Roth USA is expanding its Wisconsin operations to produce specialty cheese. BelGioioso Cheese Inc. is building another plant in Pulaski, Wis. and Holland’s Family Cheese LLC will expand it’s facitily in Thorp, Wis.

Emmi Roth wanted to expand its Monroe operations but needed access to more dairy herds and a larger production facility. The European-based company had $180 million in sales in 2011 and projects $400 million in sales by 2015.

BelGioioso Cheese has five plants in the area now, with each plant specializing in a particular cheese, according to the company’s website.

Wisconsin leads the nation in cheese production, and there are more cheese plants here now than there were 10 years ago, said John Umhoefer, executive director of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association.

There are 135 plants, up from 120 a decade ago.

Source: Journal Sentinel

Milano’s Cheese Corp Honored

Milano’s Cheese Corp. has been awarded the SQF 2000 Level 3 Excellent Certification by the Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI), the leading global authority on food safety and quality control in the food service industry.

Milano’s received the Level SQF 2000 Level 2 designation last year and then made the decision to proceed with the rigorous Level 3 certification process. The SQF 2000 Level 3 is the highest level of certification awarded to manufacturers and distributors by SQFI, and it is achieved by demonstrating a comprehensive implementation of food safety and quality management systems for more than a year. Through this system, manufacturers and distributors also receive either a compliant, good or excellent ranking.

Only 31 cheese companies nationwide have achieved this recognition and JVM Sales Corp d/b/a Milano’s Cheese Corp. is the only manufacturer focusing exclusively on grated and shredded Italian hard cheeses to earn the excellent level of the SQF 2000 Level 3 certificate. “Due to our food safety measures, consistency and competitive price, we are one of the fastest-growing cheese manufacturers in the U.S., and we know that this certification will distinguish us from the competition and assist in our international growth plans,” said Anthony Caliendo, vice president of sales and marketing for Milano’s Cheese Corp.

Source: Milano’s Cheese Corp.

Emmi Roth USA Offers Award Winning Cheeses

Want to try some of the delicious, award winning cheeses from the 2012 World Championship Cheese Contest? You’re in luck! Several of the cheeses are available in the United States through Emmi Roth USA.

Out of a record-breaking 2,204 entries from 24 nations, Emmi Winzer, a smear-ripened semi-soft cheese made by Adrian Mayer in Wattenwil, Switzerland, captured first runner up, while Emmi Appenzeller, a classic Swiss cheese crafted by Karl Germann in Andwil, Switzerland, was named second runner up. Both cheeses grace the shelves of Emmi’s curing cellars in Switzerland. Winzer, a distinctive artisan cheese carefully cured with red wine lees, is exclusively available in the United States through Emmi Roth USA under the Emmi of Switzerland brand.

Earning a silver medal in the Gruyere class was Le Gruyère AOC du Haut-Jorat, crafted by René Pernet. As an exclusive Emmi cheesemaker, many exquisite wheels from Fromagerie du Haut-Jorat are among those hand-selected and aged to perfection in Emmi’s natural sandstone caves of Kaltbach.

Emmi Roth USA cheeses crafted in Monroe, Wis., also fared well in the competition. Grand Cru Gruyere Surchoix, cured nine months or more, came in a close fourth-place finish in the Gruyere class, which witnessed a substantial increase in entries this year. Rofumo, a smoked Fontina perfect for melting and cooking, earned a Bronze medal in the Smoked Soft and Semi-Soft class.

Three additional cheeses made in Switzerland and offered through Emmi earned medals at the contest. Capturing a gold medal in the Smear Ripened Hard Cheese category was Tête de Moine AOC, crafted by Harald Kämpf in Courtlary. In addition, an Appenzeller made by Norbert Eberle in Steinach earned a bronze medal in the Appenzeller class, and Bündner Bergkäse, made by Severin Caratsch in Müstair captured a bronze in the Smear Ripened Hard Cheese class.

Source: Emmi Roth USA

Crave Brothers Win Cheese Award

Crave Brothers Farmstead Classics Marinated Fresh Mozzarella—Ciliegine has been awarded Second Place in the Flavored Soft Cheeses Category in the 2012 World Championship Cheese Contest.

Cheese maker George Crave’s Marinated Fresh Mozzarella—Ciliegine earned a score of 99.65 from the panel of 40 experts from 17 countries and 10 U.S. states who were judging the event. More than 2,500 entries competed for honors in the 29th Biennial World Championship Cheese Contest.

This year’s award marks the fifth time that Marinated Fresh Mozzarella—Ciliegine has been singled out for honors. The word ciliegine means little cherries in Italian, and true to the name, Marinated Fresh Mozzarella—Ciliegine are cherry-sized fresh mozzarella balls. They’re marinated in an olive oil/canola oil blend with the Crave Brothers’ own special seasoning. The cheese is ideal for serving in salads such as Marinated Herb Tomato Salad, as well as pastas, pizzas and appetizers.

Crave Brothers Farmstead Classics are a family of award-winning artisan cheeses, produced by using 100% green power and practicing water conservation and recycling. The cheeses are made at their state-of-the-art farmstead cheese factory, with milk from the Crave Brothers Dairy Farm.

Source: Crave Family Farms

Dutch Gouda Wins Competition

An international panel of judges at the World Champion Cheese Contest, held every two years in Wisconsin, deemed a mild low-fat Vermeer Gouda from dairy maker FrieslandCampina in the Netherlands the best in show, giving the cheese a near-perfect score of 98.74!

First runner-up went to a smear ripened, semi-soft cheese, Winzer Kase from Swiss cheesemaker Wattenwil, followed by an Appenzeller cheese by SO Appenzeller, also from Switzerland.

Appenzeller cheese is a hard cow’s milk cheese produced in the northeast region of the country.

During Wednesday’s taste test, 40 judges dressed in white lab coats who hailed from far as Argentina, Australia, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia, South Africa, Switzerland, and the UK scrutinized, sniffed, nibbled and spit before deciding on their favorite cheeses.

Meanwhile, at the World Cheese Awards in England last year, a 10-month old Ossau-Iraty made by family-owned business Fromagerie Agour in the southwest of France, was named the champion cheese.

Source: NY Daily News

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