Penn State Berkey Creamery stands out in state cheese competition

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State Berkey Creamery took home a slice of the glory in the Cheese Competition held during the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg last month.

The Creamery won second place for its cheddar entry in the Cheddar, Colby, and Monterey Jack from Cow Milk category, while its jalapeno-flavored cream cheese earned third place in the Flavored Semi-Soft, Semi-Hard from Cow Milk class. The Creamery also placed fourth with two other contest entries — smoked cheddar and plain cream cheese.

"We've been known for our award-winning ice cream for many years, and it's now exciting to have our cheeses recognized for excellence," said Tom Davis, Creamery manager. "We know our products are exceptional, but it's always great to be lauded by our peers in the industry."

The contest is open to Pennsylvania producers, who may enter up to four cheeses, which are judged on appearance and packaging; flavor and aroma; body and texture; and cheese-specific characteristics.

This year, there were 57 entries submitted from 19 Pennsylvania creameries, making for an interesting — and tasty — contest.

"I'm pleased that the Farm Show Cheese Competition continues to highlight the diversity of Pennsylvania cheese, from small, hand-crafted artisanal cheeses to the larger, commercial-scale cheeses," said contest coordinator Kerry Kaylegian, dairy foods research and extension associate with Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences. "The contest judges commented that they were impressed with the quality of our milk and cheese, and that the cheesemakers are innovative in expanding the types of cheese made in Pennsylvania."

Penn State's Berkey Creamery, located on the University Park campus, produces ice cream, cheese, milk, yogurt and sour cream as well as a variety of other products, such as juices, lemonade and iced teas, all made through the Department of Food Science in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

According to Jim Brown, assistant manager, it is the largest university creamery in the United States, using approximately 5.5 million pounds of milk annually, about two-thirds of which comes from a 225-cow herd at the University's Dairy Production Research Center.

The Creamery sells approximately 750,000 hand-dipped cones and bowls of ice cream in its store each year and ships its products across the United States via online sales. Its cheese offerings include a variety of cheddar cheeses, cream cheeses and cheddar spreads.

Last Updated February 14, 2018