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Agri-Mark Tops 2021 Cheese Contest

December 6, 2021

Agri-Mark received the Chairman’s Award for the Grand Champion cheese with its Extra Sharp Cheddar made in Middlebury, Vermont by the Middlebury Team on Nov. 15 at NMPF’s Annual Meeting, citing its outstanding flavor profile as part of what set it apart from the other 180 entries submitted by 12 cooperatives.

“When I grade cheese in a certain category, I look for a cheese to stand out and meet the characteristics of that category,” said contest judge Dr. Marianne Smukowski. “The cheese that won the extra sharp cheddar did just that. The flavor and texture of that cheese was fantastic. It was one of the best cheeses I ever graded.”

NMPF also gave out a Reserve Chairman’s Award to recognize a cheese that was almost as good as the Chairman’s cheese. This award, which was started last year, was awarded to Associated Milk Producers Inc. for its Pasteurized Processed American and Monterey Jack Cheese with Red Bell and Jalapeno Peppers made in Portage, Wisconsin by AMPI’s Dinner Bell Creamery.

NMPF’s cheese contest provides cooperative members an opportunity to showcase their best cheeses. In total, judges compared 2,155 pounds of cheese.

Other notable awards include:

  • Best Cottage Cheese, going to Upstate Niagara Cooperative Inc. for its 4% Pineapple flavored cottage cheese made in Buffalo, NY by Bison; and
  • Best Italian going to the Associated Milk Producers Inc. for its Aged Parmesan Wheel made in Hoven, South Dakota by the AMPI team.

NMPF would like to extend a large thank you to their cheese judges, Ms. Allison Reynolds, USDA, Dairy Grading Branch, Turlock, California; Mr. Timothy Meyers, College of DuPage, Glenn Ellyn, Illinois; and Smukowski, University of Wisconsin, Madison – retired and to the cooperatives who entered cheese. For the entire list of award winners, click here.