Cheese From CA Bring Home Awards

They Earn 50 Awards at American Cheese Society Competition in Richmond, VA

 Cow’s milk cheese and dairy processors that use the Real California Milk seal brought home 50 awards from the 2019 annual cheese competition held by the American Cheese Society (ACS), July 31-August 3, 2019 in Richmond, Va. 

The American Cheese Society recognizes the finest cheeses and dairy products made in the Americas. A total of 1742 cheese and cultured dairy products were entered the competition. Cheeses made with 100% California cow’s milk had another strong showing this year in a field of 257 processors representing the United States, Canada, Columbia and Venezuela.

California cheesemakers won a total of 81 awards – the second largest showing in the competition – with Real California cow’s milk cheeses bringing home 50 prizes: 19 first-place, 20 second-place and 11 third-place awards in this year’s judging. Highlights from these wins include:

  • Marquez Brothers International, Inc., San Jose – 15 awards: 1st place each for Panela (Hispanic and Portuguese Style Cheeses), Crema Agria, Plain Stir Yogurt (Cultured Milk and Cream Products), Guava Drinkable Yogurt, Mango Drinkable Yogurt, Strawberry Banana Drinkable Yogurt, and Strawberry Drinkable Yogurt (Flavored Cheeses/Yogurts & Cultured Products with Flavor Added); 2nd place each for Jocoque (Cultured Milk and Cream Products), Queso Fresco Casero Cheese, Queso Fresco Cremoso Cheese (Hispanic and Portuguese Style Cheeses), Peach Drinkable Yogurt, Piña Colada Drinkable Yogurt, and Strawberry Banana Cereal Smoothie (Flavored Cheeses/Yogurts & Cultured Products with Flavor Added); and 3rd place each for Queso Cotija (Hispanic and Portuguese Style Cheeses) and Guava Stir Yogurt (Flavored Cheeses/Yogurts & Cultured Products with Flavor Added),
  • Karoun Dairies, Inc., Turlock – five awards: 1st place each for Brinza Feta (Feta – Cow’s Milk) and Masala Yogurt Dip (Flavored Cheeses/Yogurts & Cultured Products with Flavor Added); 2nd for Bulgarian Yogurt (Cultured Milk and Cream Products); and 3rd each for Whole Milk Yogurt and Armenian Yogurt (Cultured Milk and Cream Products).
  • Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co., Pt. Reyes – five awards: 1st place each for Point Reyes Bay Blue (Blue Mold Cheeses), The Fork Pimento Cheese and The Fork Original Blue & Date Spread (Flavored Cheeses); and 3rd each for Point Reyes Toma (American Originals) and Point Reyes Tomaprovence (Flavored Cheeses).
  • Cowgirl Creamery, Petaluma – four awards: 2nd place each for Fromage Blanc (Fresh Unripened Cheeses), Pierce Point (Flavored Cheeses) and Mt. Tam (Soft Ripened Cheeses); and 3rd for Cottage Cheese (Fresh Unripened Cheeses).
  • Rizo-Lopez Foods Inc., Modesto – four awards: 1st place each for RBCC Oaxaca (Hispanic & Portuguese Style Cheeses) and RBCC Queso Cotija (Hispanic & Portuguese Style Cheeses – Ripened, Aged > 90 Days); and 2nd each for Cotija (Hispanic & Portuguese Style Cheese – Ripened, Aged > 90 Days) and RBCC Grilling Cheese (Hispanic & Portuguese Style Cheeses, Cooking Hispanic – Cheeses).
  • Sierra Nevada Cheese Company, Willows – four awards*: 1st place for Heroes Greek Yogurt (Cultured Milk and Cream Products); 2nd each for Crème Fraîche (Cultured Milk and Cream) and Russian-Style Fresh Farmer Cheese (Fresh Unripened Cheeses); and 3rd for Organic Traditional Jack (American Originals).
  • Oakdale Cheese & Specialties, Oakdale – three awards: 1st place for Aged Gouda (American Made/International Style); and 2nd each for Mild Gouda (American Made/International Style) and Cumin Gouda (Flavored Cheeses).
  • Bellwether Farms, Petaluma – two awards*: 1st place for Fromage Blanc (Fresh Unripened Cheeses) and 2nd for Plain Organic Cow Yogurt (Cultured Milk and Cream Products).
  • Cal Poly Creamery, San Luis Obispo – two awards: 1st place for Smoked Grand Gouda (Smoked Cheeses) and 3rd for Grand Gouda (American Made/International Style).
  • Nicasio Valley Cheese Company, Nicasio – two awards: 2nd place for San Geronimo (Washed Rind Cheeses) and 3rd for Foggy Morning with Garlic and Basil (Flavored Cheeses).
  • Central Coast Creamery*, Paso Robles: 2nd place Holey Cow (American Made/International Style).
  • Marin French Cheese Company, Petaluma – one award: 3rd place for Triple Crème Brie (Soft Ripened Cheeses).
  • Rogue Creamery*, Oregon: 2nd place for Organic Smokey Blue Cheese (Smoked Cheeses).
  • Rumiano Cheese Company, Crescent City – one award: 1st place for Dry Jack (American Originals).

In total, 14 cow’s milk cheese and dairy companies won awards for products made with 100% Real California milk from the state’s more than 1200 family dairy farms. California is the second largest cheese producing state in the nation, responsible for more than 2.5 billion pounds of cheese in 2017. Real California cheeses and dairy products can be found at retailers throughout the U.S., Mexico and Asia. For more information, visit: RealCaliforniaMilk.com. For more information on ACS competition winners and the ACS Conference, go to: cheesesociety.org.

* Bellwether Farms, Central Coast Creamery, Rogue Creamery and Sierra Nevada Cheese Company also received awards for cow’s milk and non-cow’s milk cheeses that do not carry the Real California Milk seal.

Hilmar Cheese Company Unveils Largest Dairy Mural in the U.S.

Scoop it Forward Event Collects Food for Hilmar Helping Hands 

News Release

Hilmar Helping Hands received thousands of food items on July 13 as part of a “Scoop it Forward” event to celebrate the official unveiling of the largest hand-painted dairy mural in the United States at the Hilmar Cheese Company Visitor Center.

Hilmar Cheese Company owners, employees, local officials and the community brought non-perishable food items to donate in exchange for a scoop of delicious ice cream made with Real California Milk as part of the mural celebration, which honors the partnership between the dairy industry and the local community.

“Dairy farm families are the backbone of many of our local communities,” said Jenny Lester Moffitt, California Department of Food and Ag Undersecretary. “But their impact goes well beyond that. They benefit the entire state—economically and by providing wholesome, affordable dairy foods.”

The mural is part of a national effort to celebrate the contribution of dairy farms and farm families to local communities. The Hilmar Cheese Company Visitor Center was selected by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy as one of seven locations across the nation to feature a custom mural as part of the Undeniably Dairy campaign. Undeniably Dairy is an industry-wide, national campaign that aims to increase consumer trust in the practices, principles, and people behind the dairy foods people know and love.

Standing 32 feet tall by 60 feet wide, the mural is a creation of muralist Ed Trask of Richmond, Va. The mural creation used 22 gallons of paint and 273 different colors. It depicts the Hilmar Cheese Company’s founding principles of farmers, family, community and faith—and its passion for Jersey cows. It also depicts a child’s journey from experiencing the visitor center as a youth and showing cows to discovering her devotion to dairy and pursuing a career in dairy innovation and research.

“This mural represents our values and foundation,” said Jim Ahlem, chairman of the Hilmar Cheese Company Board of Directors. “We are grateful to our local communities, our employees, the wholesome dairy foods we produce, the next generation of agricultural leaders developed through 4-H and FFA, and of course, the dairy farm families who ship their milk to us and the Jersey cows that produce it.”

“We appreciate that we were selected as one of the mural locations,” added David Ahlem, CEO and President of Hilmar Cheese Company. “We have thousands of families and school children visit each year. It’s important that people understand where their food comes from, and we hope this mural will bring a new connection to dairy.”

California Depends on National Dairy Month

National Dairy Month Encourages Americans to Eat More Cheese

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

Across the country, National Dairy Month will be celebrated during the month of June to promote the consumption of dairy products. Though California is the number one dairy state, California dairy farmers have been experiencing a decline in dairy production amidst high labor costs, competition from other states and declining profit.

Founded in 1937 as National Milk Month with the goal of increasing milk consumption to stabilize the dairy surplusthe holiday was renamed National Dairy Month to encompass all dairy products.

Anja Raudabaugh, CEO of Western United Dairymen
Anja Raudabaugh, CEO of Western United Dairymen

Anja Raudabaugh, CEO of Western United Dairymen in Modesto, Calif., is hopeful that celebrating National Milk Month will educate more consumers about the health benefits of diary products, increase dairy consumption opportunities, open more markets and enable the lagging dairy industry in California to better compete with other states.

States such as South Dakota and Wisconsin have ramped up their milk production significantly, which has stressed California producers to even the gap. According to Raudabaugh, the term oversupply doesn’t necessarily apply to the dairy conditions in this state. She remarked, “We’re actually in a 17-month decline at the moment, which is the longest decline [in milk production] we have ever been in.”

The dairy industry has managed to be very competitive with wages, another stressor, but the high labor costs are hurting production companies. “As things get more and more competitive globally,” said Raudaubaugh, “we are going to continue to struggle to figure out how those margins play out.”

“The margin is going to continue to shrink, especially as wages get more and more competitive,” Raudaubaugh observed. “Being a worker on a dairy farm is certainly very wage-competitive throughout the agricultural industry. We cannot keep workers at anything less than about $16 or $15 an hour as it is, so it’s a good time to be a worker in the dairy industry. It’s a good craft and skill to have if you become a milker.”Real California Cheese Logo

Given Western United Dairymen’s mission to promote and administer programs and policies aimed at maintaining the longevity of the dairy industry on the West Coast, and as the milk industry struggles and continues to face tough times, Raudabaugh has a solution: “Eat more cheese.”

Enter: National Cheese Day every June 4! According to the California Milk Advisory Board website and California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) 2014 data, California is the #2 cheese producing state—right behind Wisconsin—and the #1 producer of Monterey Jack cheese. An amazing 43% of California’s cow’s milk is used to make California cheese, which is produced by more than 50 California cheesemakers.

Even beyond cheese, Raudabaugh said, “There is a tremendous amount of diversity in the way people have exposure to dairy products they don’t even know about. There are yogurts and sour creams, ice creams, and whey products.”  She believes market sectors should understand more about the dairy products consumers are exposed to every day to increase not only more milk consumption, but higher-value dairy as well.

“The diversification of the product line is really what has kept us in business,” reflects Raudabaugh, “It’s what keeps us looking to the horizon and looking to the future optimistically, even in the face of some pretty bad milk prices right now.”

Remember California dairy producers, particularly, this monthNational Dairy Month, and try a new dairy product. And discover a new cheese tomorrow, June 4, National Cheese Day!

California Among Good Food Awards Winners

California Among Good Food Awards Winners

Congratulations to the 2016 Good Food Awards Winners and their food communities for leading the way towards a tasty, authentic and responsible food system.

For a long time, certifications for responsible food production and awards for superior taste have remained distinct—one honors social and environmental responsibility, while the other celebrates flavor. The Good Food Awards recognize that truly good food—the kind that brings people together and builds strong, healthy communities—contains all of these ingredients. We take a comprehensive view, honoring people who make food that is delicious, respectful of the environment, and connected to communities and cultural traditions.

Chosen from 1,927 entrants, California companies placed among the 242 award winners that are creating vibrant, delicious, sustainable local food economies.

 

BEER

Almanac Beer Co., Farmer’s Reserve Citrus & Golden Gate Gose, California
Eel River Brewing Company, California Blonde Ale, California
Fort Point Beer Company, Manzanita, California
Rogue Ales & Spirits, Rogue Farms Fresh Roast, California

CHARCUTERIE

Black Pig Meat Co., Coppa, California
Fork in the Road Foods, Uncured Black Forest Ham, California
Real Good Fish, Smoked Carmel Canyon Black Cod, California
Wooden Spoons, Pork Rillettes, California

CHEESE

Bellwether Farms, Whole Milk Ricotta, California
Cowgirl Creamery, Red Hawk, California
Pennyroyal Farm, Reserve Boont Corners, California
Tomales Farmstead Creamery, Teleeka, California

CHOCOLATE

Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate, 70% Bolivia, Alto Beni, California

COFFEE

Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, Panama Esmeralda Estate, Lino Lot Natural, California
Equator Coffees & Teas, Panama Finca Sophia Gesha, California
Klatch Coffee, Kenya Karatu, California

CONFECTIONS

Little Apple Treats, Rose and Cocoa nib Caramels, California
Neo Cocoa, Toffee Nib Brittle, California
Nosh This, Lavender Crack, California

HONEY

Bloom Honey, Orange Blossom, California
Mikolich Family Honey, Sage and Wild Buckwheat, California
UrbanBeeSF, Tree Blossom Honey Quince & Tree Blossom Honey Nopa, California

OILS

Apollo Olive Oil, Sierra & Mistral, California
Berkeley Olive Grove 1913, California Mission Blood Orange,California
Calivirgin, Calivirgin Jalapeno-Garlic Olive Oil, California
La Nogalera Walnut Oil, La Nogalera Walnut Oil, California
La Tourangelle, Gourmande Roasted Hazelnut Oil, California
MoonShadow Grove, Ascolano, California
The Olive Press, Sevillano Extra Virgin Olive Oil, California

PANTRY

Happy Quail Farms, Farm Style Relish, California
Mimi’s Confitures, Radicchio Jam, California
SALSAOLOGY, Ancho Chile and Tamarind Sauce, California
Spoiled Rotten Vinegar, Blackstrap Vinegar, California

PICKLES

Pernicious Pickling Co., Pickled Red Beets: Fashionably Dill,California
Wild West Ferments, Seasonal Sauerkraut, California
Wine Forest, Pickled Sea Beans, California

PRESERVES

Happy Girl Kitchen Co., Raspberry Lemon Jam, California
The Good Stuff, Best Plum Jam, California

SPIRITS

Bear & Eagle Products, 1.0.1 Ultra Premium Vodka, California
Five By Five Tonics, Barrel-Aged Vanilla Bitters, California
Venus Spirits, Gin Blend No. 2, California

Lactose Intolerance: 11 Ways to Still Love Dairy

Source: Brunilda Nazario, MD; WebMD

If you’re lactose intolerant, you can still eat foods with lactose — in moderation. The key is to know your limit. Keep a food diary, write down when, what, and how much you ate, and how it made you feel. You should see a pattern emerge and you will learn how much or how little lactose you can have. Then, stick to your limit.

Consider Lactose-Free Milk and Other Dairy

For regular milk drinkers, most supermarkets have lactose-free or low-lactose milk in their dairy case or specialty foods sections. You can also find lactose-free cheese, lactose-free yogurt, and other dairy products. It can be hard to get enough calcium when you are lactose intolerant. Lactose-free milk, however, has the same amount of calcium as regular milk.

Take Control of Your Diet

Take control of your meals by brown bagging it rather than struggling to find something that you can eat on a menu. When cooking at home, you can replace milk in recipes with lactose-free milk. You can also buy a cookbook that features lactose-free recipes and start trying them. Many classic recipes can be adapted to fit a lactose-intolerant diet. Control the ingredients that go in the meal and you may be surprised at how much variety you can eat.

lactose intolerance, milkConsider Lactase Supplements

It’s not a cure, but taking lactase enzyme supplements can help you eat foods containing lactose. Supplements are found in many forms, including caplets and chewable tablets. They may be particularly helpful if you don’t know the exact ingredients in your meal. If supplements do not help your symptoms, be sure to check with your doctor.

Hunting for Hidden Lactose

Lactose is found in most dairy products, except those marked “lactose-free,” such as lactose-free milk or cheese. It also can be in packaged foods such as dried mixes, frozen meals, and baked goods. Read food labels carefully, and watch out for ingredients such as “milk solids,” “dried milk,” and “curd.” If you choose to eat these foods, you may need to take a lactase supplement to help prevent symptoms.

Ask the Experts

Learning a new way of eating isn’t easy, but you don’t have to do it alone. Ask your doctor to suggest a nutritionist or dietitian to help you manage your diet. She can teach you how to read food labels, share healthy eating tips, learn how much dairy you can eat or drink without symptoms, and come up with reduced-lactose or lactose-free foods to provide a well-balanced diet.

Smaller Portions, Fewer Symptoms

Maybe you can’t enjoy a big glass of milk with cookies, but you can try a smaller serving. Start with a 4-ounce glass instead of a full 8 ounces. Gradually increase the amount of dairy you eat until you begin to notice unpleasant symptoms. Listen to your body. It will tell you when you’ve reached your limit. If you want to avoid lactose completely, try lactose-free dairy milk or non-dairy drinks, such as soy milk.

Enjoy Dairy on the Side

Instead of eating or drinking dairy products by themselves, try having them with food that doesn’t contain lactose. For some people, combining dairy with other food may reduce or even get rid of their usual symptoms. So don’t just drink a glass of milk in the morning. Pour it over cereal or have a piece of toast on the side.

Make Better Cheese Choices

With lactose intolerance, you can still eat cheese, but choose carefully. Hard, aged cheeses like Swiss, parmesan, and cheddars are lower in lactose. Other low-lactose cheese options include cottage cheese or feta cheese made from goat or sheep’s milk. Certain types of cheeses — especially soft or creamy ones like Brie — are higher in lactose. If you want to avoid dairy completely, try lactose-free and dairy-free cheeses.

Learn to Love Yogurt

Look for yogurt with live and active bacterial cultures. When you eat this type of yogurt, the bacterial cultures can help break down the lactose. Plus just 1 cup of plain, low-fat yogurt provides 415 mg of calcium. But forget frozen yogurt. It doesn’t contain enough live cultures, which means it may cause problems for people who are lactose intolerant. To be safe, you can always choose lactose-free yogurt.

Probiotics for Lactose Intolerance

For some people, probiotics can ease symptoms of lactose intolerance. Probiotics are live microorganisms, usually bacteria, that restore the balance of “good” bacteria in your digestive system. They can be found in foods like yogurt or kefir — probiotic-rich milk — as well as dietary supplements. Check with your doctor to see if probiotics might help you.

Low-Lactose Home Cooking

Cooking low-lactose requires a change of thinking. The simpler you cook, the better. Use herbs and seasonings to flavor meat, fish, and vegetables. Stick to fresh ingredients and use fewer prepared foods. Experiment with chicken stock or lactose-free milks to make sauces. Use low-lactose cheeses for baking. Explore cuisines — such as Mediterranean or Asian — that don’t rely very much on dairy products.