The North Central Cheese Industries Association’s (NCCIA) annual cheese contest was recently held in Norwood, Minnesota, attracting dairy suppliers from across the industry as they compete to be the best of the best. Prairie Farms was one cheesemaker that stood out from the rest as its Cream Cheese produced at facilities in Luana, Iowa, was named Grand Champion. Prairie Farms Cream Cheese took the top honors in the Miscellaneous category of the contest with a 99.167 score. The company’s Cheese Division, Caves of Faribault, finished second in the same category with a score of 99.033 for St. Pete’s Select® Blue Cheese.
“This is a result of consistent quality from our farmers and through our manufacturing processes and dedicated employees of Prairie Farms’ Luana plant,” said Ray Downes, General Manager at Luana.
According to a press release, entries for the NCCIA Cheese Contest competed in three categories including Cheddar Block, Barrel, and Miscellaneous. Cheddar Block entries required a minimum of 40 lbs and the manufacture date. Barrel entries consisted of three plugs of cheese taken at random with a barrel cheese trier. Miscellaneous entries were standard commercial size and included any type of cheese except Cheddar.
Judging took place at Bongards’ Creameries in Norwood, MN, by professionally-trained judges. All entries were graded with an official scorecard identifying the grade and feedback of the products submitted. Judges selected one Grand Champion, as well as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in each category.
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Contest winners were recognized during the banquet dinner at the NCCIA Annual Conference on October 14. First place in each category received $40 cash from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and award-winning cheeses were put up for auction at the conference. Proceeds from the conference and auction are used to support annual scholarships at the University of Minnesota, Iowa State University, South Dakota State University, and University of Wisconsin-River Falls.
Congratulations to Prairie Farms on this exciting win!