Jasper Hill cheeses have won multiple ribbons at the 2017 US Championship Cheese Contest, a biennial event that took place at Lambeau Field (home of the Green Bay Packers) in Green Bay, Wisconsin. This event is the largest cheese competition in the US, drawing entries from across the industry.
The competition was steep this year, with a record 2,303 entries of cheese, butter and yogurt, submitted by cheesemakers from 33 states, for a combined weight of 37,000 pounds. Wisconsin had the most entries by state, but Vermont was in the top five (alongside New York, California and Idaho). Forty eight judges oversaw the 101 categories.
In the Smear Ripened Soft Cheese category, the top four winners were Jasper Hill originals or Jasper Hill collaborations. Jasper Hill also took home a best of class award in the Brie & Camembert category as well as a best of class in Open Class: Soft Ripened Cheese.
For Smear Ripened Soft Cheese, the results were:
BEST OF CLASS: Willoughby, Cellars at Jasper Hill, with a score of 99.70
2nd AWARD: Greensward, Murray’s Cheese & Jasper Hill, with a score of 99.65
3rd AWARD: Oma, von Trapp Farmstead Cheese & Cellars at Jasper Hill, with a score of 99.60
4th PLACE: Winnimere, Cellars at Jasper Hill, with a score of 99.40.
For Brie & Camembert, the results were:
BEST OF CLASS: Moses Sleeper, Cellars at Jasper Hill, with a score of 99.40. The Moses Sleeper also made the list for Top 20 Finalists.
For Open Class: Soft Ripened Cheese, the results were:
BEST OF CLASS: Harbison, Cellars at Jasper Hill, with a score of 99.75
More about the winning cheeses
Moses Sleeper is an approachable and nuanced brie-style cheese. Beneath its thin, bloomy rind lies a gooey, milky core showing a complex array of flavors at peak ripeness: cauliflower, crème fraîche, and toasted nuts. The cheese’s historic namesake, Moses Sleeper, and his compatriot, Constant Bliss, were Revolutionary War scouts killed while defending a blockhouse along the Northeast Kingdom’s legendary Bayley Hazen Military Road.
Winnimere is a take on Jura Mountain classics like Vacherin Mont d’Or or Fösterkäse. In keeping with this tradition, this decadent cheese is made only during winter months when Jasper Hill’s herd of Ayrshire cows are enjoying a rich ration of dry hay. Young cheeses are wrapped in strips of spruce cambium, the tree’s flexible inner bark layer, harvested from Jasper Hill Farm’s woodlands. During aging, the cheese is washed in a cultured salt brine to help even rind development. At peak ripeness, this cheese is spoonably soft and tastes of bacon, sweet cream, and spruce.
Oma is an American original, made by Sebastian von Trapp on his family’s dairy farm in Waitsfield, Vermont. An approachable washed-rind, tomme-style cheese, Oma is made from the unpasteurized, organic milk of the von Trapp’s primarily Jersey breed cows. Oma balances pungent and sweet flavors with aromas of roasted nuts, cured meat and cultured butter. The paste is soft, almost pudding-like, but never runny. The thin, orange rind, often overlaid with white flora, is an earthy foil to the richness of the paste.
Harbison is named for Anne Harbison, affectionately known as the grandmother of Greensboro. Harbison is a soft-ripened cheese with a rustic, bloomy rind. Young cheeses are wrapped in strips of spruce cambium, the tree’s inner bark layer, harvested from the woodlands of Jasper Hill. The spoonable texture begins to develop in the Jasper Hill vaults, though the paste continues to soften on the way to market. Harbison is woodsy and sweet, balanced with lemon, mustard, and vegetal flavors.
Greensward is made by Jasper Hill Creamery, using a Harbison-based recipe. Fresh cheeses are then shipped to the caves of Murray’s Cheese where they are ripened and packaged for sale.
Steve Millard, Senior Vice President of Merchandising and Operations for Murray’s Cheese, has been driving this collaborative effort since the cheese’s inception. “I have been truly blessed by the opportunity to visit Jasper Hill every couple months and reconnect with my friends to the north,” he said. “Our collaboration with Jasper Hill on Greensward started as a special project for 11 Madison [restaurant] and has grown into an award-winning cheese that is sold in our stores nationwide. In Greensward we have the perfect match of superb cheesemaking coupled with impassioned affinage, both born of a continuous desire to achieve and repeat perfection.”
All of Jasper Hill’s award winning cheeses can be purchased where fine cheeses are sold, at Jasper Hill’s retail counter within the newly constructed Boston Public Market, or from Jasper Hill Farm’s online store. Greensward is only available at select Murray’s Cheese locations.
Sunset Foods is remodeling its Lake Forest, Illinois, location. The remodel demonstrates Sunset’s dedication to providing the Lake Forest community with an extraordinary shopping experience.
“We’re always seeking to innovate and improve,” says John Cortesi, Sunset Foods’ President and CEO. “Coupled with Sunset’s tradition of exemplary customer service, this remodel will allow Sunset to create a shopping environment that truly stands out… we’re thrilled to continue to invest in this location and the larger Lake Forest community.”
‘Clean, fun-to-shop stores’ are a key part of Sunset’s mission statement. Each element of the remodel was carefully conceived to enhance the entire shopping experience. Not only will the remodel broaden Sunset’s selection of fresh, local products, it will also expand in-store dining options and emphasize one-of-a-kind offerings. These include:
As a convenience to customers, the store will remain open during the remodel, which is slated to begin in early April of 2017. Sunset recognizes that remodels can be challenging. The Sunset team promises to do everything possible to make this a seamless transition.
About Sunset Foods
Sunset Foods is a privately owned neighborhood supermarket dedicated to making grocery shopping a pleasurable experience by providing the finest customer service possible and by offering an outstanding selection (of food, liquor, floral arrangements, and more) at competitive prices. From its modest beginnings in 1937, Sunset has expanded considerably and now employs approximately 900 employees at its stores in Highland Park, Lake Forest, Libertyville, Long Grove and Northbrook. Sunset is committed to giving back to the communities it serves. In addition to exceptional service and a wide variety of foods—including gourmet, ethnic, specialty, and organic items—Sunset also offers its customers a selection of cooking classes and demonstrations, free nutrition store tours, and many other great events.
Novak Construction Company representatives stood proudly next to its Whole Foods partners on March 22 for the unveiling of a new Whole Foods Market at the historic intersection of Ashland-Belmont-Lincoln (3201 N. Ashland Avenue), signaling the return to a bustling corner punctuated by commerce, commuters and community.
The highly anticipated opening featured 44th Ward Alderman, Tom Tunney and Department of Building & Planning Commissioner, David L. Reifman, and Whole Foods Market Regional President, Michael Bashaw. 47th Ward Alderman, Ameya Pawar, also attended alongside Novak leadership, John G. Novak and Michael W. Kanzler.
Noted Novak’s Founder/President, John Novak, “By activating this vacant site with such a long-term tenant commitment, Whole Foods Market enhances the community and accommodates the needs of its residents, in addition to ushering in an era of new activity and new jobs at this location. I am sure this store will inspire a new vitality in this neighborhood – from morning until night. We are very honored to be a part of that.”
A large portion of the three primary building facades is covered with an innovative LiveWall greenspace that softens the building’s sleek architecture, while providing greenery along the busy pedestrian corridors. The Lobby includes a full-service roastery for Allegro coffee, which is sold at many Chicagoland Whole Foods stores. To enhance customers’ enjoyment, the second-story retail level includes a wine bar, pub, juice bar, arcade, a Wrigley Field nook and a “porch.” Finally, the construction incorporated “SMART Park” for its 300 indoor parking spaces to facilitate the flow and reduce traffic congestion.
The multiple phases of the actual construction presented the chief challenge for the team. With zero lot line with which to work, Project Director Steve Bykowski cited incredible coordination as his team worked on the basement, ground floor and second floor simultaneously. “However, everything transitioned seamlessly and we hit the target opening date.”
An extensive collaboration across a swath of city officials and community members went into this project as well. Key team members of Novak Construction worked with several key constituencies over a one-year period that included Ald. Tunney, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), St. Luke’s Pastor David Abrahamson, the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce and the West Lakeview Neighbors Association.
The American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) and the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA) announced that three industry leaders were honored as the recipients of the prestigious Frozen Food Hall of Fame Award during an induction ceremony held at the AFFI Frozen Food Convention (AFFI-CON) on Saturday, March 4, 2017, in San Diego. The 2017 inductees were the late E. Glen Grader, Founder of Albany Frozen Foods; William S. Smittcamp, President and CEO of Wawona Frozen Foods; and Ron Suchecki, retired Vice President of Sales for Ateeco, Inc./Mrs. T’s Pierogies.
“The frozen food industry is one built on innovation. We are proud to honor and celebrate these three gentlemen whose achievements have made the growth and continued success of the industry possible,” said AFFI President and CEO Alison Bodor. Members of the Grader, Smittcamp and Suchecki families were in attendance to recognize the hard work and dedication these men have provided to the industry and the leadership roles they have played in AFFI and NFRA.
E. Glen Grader founded Albany Frozen Foods in 1961 growing the business until its sale in 1975 to Seabrook Foods, Inc. Following the sale, Grader held executive positions with Seabrook Foods, Inc., Oxnard Frozen Foods Corp. and Continental Companies. He served as chairman of the board for AFFI in 1986 and retired in 1987. Grader passed away on Aug. 27, 2014.
William S. Smittcamp is President and CEO of Wawona Frozen Foods in Clovis, California, a family-owned grower and processor of frozen fruit. Smittcamp joined the AFFI board of directors in 1988 and was appointed as AFFI Western Frozen Food Convention chair in 1995. In 1997, he served as AFFI chairman of the board and currently serves on the Frozen Food Foundation and AFFI board of directors.
Ron Suchecki served as Vice President of Sales for Ateeco, Inc./Mrs.T’s Pierogies for nearly 27 years retiring in 2015. Suchecki remains active with the Frozen and Refrigerated Association of the North East (FRANE) receiving FRANE’s “Person of the Year” award in 2015. He served as NFRA’s convention chairman from 2005-2009 and continues to serve on the board of directors.
The Frozen Food Hall of Fame was established in 1990 by the Distinguished Order of Zerocrats, an organization of industry members whose purpose is to maintain the tradition of promoting the image and advancement of the frozen food industry. The Hall of Fame Award honors the individuals whose imagination and innovation have ensured the continued growth and success of the frozen food industry.
Twelve of the world’s leading cocoa and chocolate companies agreed to a statement of collective intent committing them to work together, in partnership with others, to end deforestation and forest degradation in the global cocoa supply chain, with an initial focus on Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. The agreement, concluded during a meeting hosted by HRH The Prince of Wales, commits the participating companies to develop and present a joint public-private framework of action to address deforestation at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP 23) meeting in Bonn in November of this year.
This meeting, organized by World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), IDH-the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) and The Prince’s International Sustainability Unit (ISU), is the first of its kind covering the global cocoa supply chain. Senior executives from the 12 companies stated their commitment to develop an actionable suite of measures to end deforestation and forest degradation, including greater investments in more sustainable forms of landscape management; more active efforts in partnership with others to protect and restore forests in the cocoa landscape; and significant investments in programs to improve cocoa productivity for smallholder farmers working in the cocoa supply chain. Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana are the world’s leading producers of cocoa, and many observers point to cocoa farming as a driving force behind rapid rates of deforestation in both countries.
Speaking at the event, HRH The Prince of Wales said, “Tropical rainforests play an absolutely crucial role in climate change mitigation and adaptation, in ensuring sustainable livelihoods for hundreds of millions of people and in conserving biodiversity. The most powerful direct reason for action is that deforestation threatens to undermine the very resilience of the cocoa sector itself, and with it the livelihoods of the millions of smallholders who depend on it. I am heartened that companies are undertaking to work up, in full collaboration with host governments and civil society, a Joint Framework of Action to make good on the commitments announced today, in time for COP 23 in November.”
According to WCF Chairman Barry Parkin, “Today marks a crucial step forward because 12 leading World Cocoa Foundation member companies have agreed to work together, and in partnership with others, to tackle the challenge of deforestation in cocoa. We look forward to more companies joining the effort and are grateful for the leadership provided by The Prince of Wales in convening today’s landmark event.”
The meeting brought together a cross-section of the world’s largest chocolate makers and cocoa buyers, producers and traders, including Barry Callebaut; Blommer Chocolate Company; Cargill; CEMOI; ECOM; Ferrero; The Hershey Company; Mars, Incorporated; Mondelēz International; Nestlé; Olam and Touton. Also present were ministers and senior government representatives of the two-leading cocoa producing countries – Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana – as well as France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom.
“Côte d’Ivoire, the world’s leading producer of cocoa, in 2014 signed the New York Declaration on Forests, the objective of which is the elimination of deforestation caused by agriculture. In respecting this commitment as it concerns the production of cocoa, we intend, with the support of the private sector, to undertake efforts to preserve our forests by improving productivity on existing cocoa lands and developing agroforestry approaches to sustainable cocoa production without deforestation. It is with great pride that we join with The Prince of Wales, World Cocoa Foundation, IDH and their partners in demonstrating this willingness to conserve, restore and manage forests for the benefit of all Ivorians”, said Marcel Yao, from Côte d’Ivoire’s Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development, Coordinator of the National Climate Change Program and National Executive Secretary for CN-REDD+.
Ghana’s Minister of Lands and Natural Resources Hon. John Peter Amewu said, “As the second largest producer of cocoa in the world, we are excited to be part of this noble step by The Prince of Wales, World Cocoa Foundation, IDH and private sector companies to work towards reducing the rate of deforestation emanating from cocoa production. On our part, we are poised to enhance the environmental governance regime in the cocoa sector and implement actions that will enable cocoa producers to adopt cocoa agroforestry systems and practices that are climate smart.”
The 12 companies will now engage in a planning and consultation process with governments, farmer organizations NGOs and other relevant stakeholders to build the joint framework to be unveiled at COP 23.
As farmers in Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America seek new areas of land to grow crops including cocoa amid increasing global demand, WCF, IDH and ISU organized an industry commitment to end deforestation and forest degradation recognizing that deforestation is likely to increase in the future unless concerted action is taken. This commitment builds on the cocoa industry’s existing initiatives in partnership with producer country governments and other stakeholders to design sustainable cocoa development programs aimed at improving the livelihoods of the millions of smallholder farmers who grow cocoa.
Senior representatives of the Agence Française de Développement, Greenpeace, International Finance Corporation, Oxfam, Tropical Forests Alliance 2020, World Bank, World Resources Institute, and UN Environment, as well as other organizations, were also present at the event.
Joost Oorthuizen, Executive Director of IDH, said, “We feel very privileged and honored to be leading the process in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana that will develop detailed Frameworks of Action as we look toward Bonn. In recent history, the cocoa sector has proven to not be afraid to address difficult issues like child labor, malnutrition, and poverty reduction, all in a non-competitive manner. This meeting provides a great starting point to expedite action on the deforestation issue in concert with other relevant stakeholders.”
To create a vehicle for organic farmers to weigh in on national policy issues and raise the profile of U.S. certified organic farmers, Rodale Institute’s Organic Farmers Association has unified with a parallel grassroots national organic effort, the Organic Farmers Alliance.
Going forward as the Organic Farmers Association (OFA), sponsored by Rodale Institute, a farmer-majority interim steering committee has been appointed to ensure this effort is farmer-led and controlled. Elections for the first farmer-majority Governing Council will take place in early 2018.
“It’s time that organic farmers have a clear voice shaping the future of the organic movement they helped build,” said Jim Riddle, organic farmer, Blue Fruit Farm, Winona, Minnesota, and newly appointed chair of the Organic Farmers Association steering committee.
OFA’s mission is to provide a strong and unified national voice for domestic certified organic producers. Its purpose is to build and support a farmer-led national organic farmer movement and national policy platform by: developing and advocating policies that benefit organic farmers; strengthening and supporting the capacity of organic farmers and farm organizations; and supporting collaboration and leadership among state, regional and national organic farmer organizations. “A lot of people say they speak for organic farmers,” said Jeff Moyer, Executive Director, Rodale Institute. “It’s time we had a clear, unified farmer voice on policy issues that affect our industry and businesses.”
The steering committee includes 12 voting seats for certified organic farmers and seven non-voting seats for organic farm organizations (including fiscal sponsor Rodale Institute):
Dave Colson, New Leaf Farm (Maine)
Jack Erisman, Goldmine Farms (Illinois)
Phil LaRocca, LaRocca Vineyards (California)
Nick Maravell, Nick’s Organic Farm (Maryland)
Theresa Podoll, Prairie Road Organic Farm (North Dakota) (Officer: Vice Chair)
Bob Quinn, Quinn Farm and Ranch (Montana) (Officer: Member)
Judith Redmond, Full Belly Farm (California) (Officer: Treasurer)
Jim Riddle, Blue Fruit Farm (Minnesota) (Officer: Chair)
Will Stevens, Golden Russet Farm (Vermont)
Isaura Andaluz, Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) (New Mexico)
John Bobbe, Organic Farmers’ Agency for Relationship Marketing (OFARM) (Wisconsin)
Renee Hunt, Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) (Ohio)
Maddie Monty, Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) (Vermont) (Officer: Secretary)
Jeff Moyer, Rodale Institute, Skyhollow Farm (Pennsylvania)
Michael Sligh, Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI-USA) (North Carolina)
(Four additional steering committee seats will be filled in the coming months (3 farm and 1 organization seats))
The United States has more than 16,000 certified organic farms. With American consumers spending more than $43 billion annually on organic food and products, US organic farmers need a place at the table to advocate for policies that will enable them to meet growing demand.
“We are calling on all organic farmers to join in this farmer-led, farmer-controlled association,” said Theresa Podoll, organic farmer, Prairie Road Organic Farm, Fullerton, North Dakota and newly appointed Vice Chair of Organic Farmers Association steering committee.
As demand for organic production continues to increase, it is imperative organic farmers inform policy that impacts our food and agriculture system. “By coming together, we will create a groundswell of organic farmers to inform our decision makers and the public how current and future policies allow us to produce food that is healthy for people and the planet,” said Podoll.
Organic farmers, organic farm organizations, and supporters of organic farmers can join the association by going to OrganicFarmersAssociation.org.
Vermont Creamery was honored for achievement in artisan cheesemaking this week with three awards at the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest (USCCC) held biennially in Wisconsin.
Vanilla Crème Fraîche won “Best in Class” while Cultured Butter with Sea Salt and Maple and St. Albans both took third place in their respective categories.
“It’s a tremendous honor to be recognized by our peers in the cheese community, especially in the good company of other Vermont cheesemakers,” said Allison Hooper, co-Founder of Vermont Creamery. “These awards are the result of our entire team’s commitment to quality and innovation in cheesemaking.”
This is the first USCCC award for St. Albans, the newest aged cheese to join the lineup; in 2015, Vermont Creamery products took home five USCCC awards.
This year, the contest garnered a record 2,303 entries, up 22 percent from the previous contest in 2015. Forty-eight judges from nineteen states evaluated all of the entries across 101 classes. Vermont Creamery’s Cultured Butter with Sea Salt and Maple took third in a new category—flavored butter.
A trifecta of wins, including two top-20 finalists, continued a tradition of excellence for Schuman Cheese at the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest, held March 7-9 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Three best of class awards, and a third place finish, made for another strong showing for this leading Italian cheese company at the biennial competition.
Among the top 20 finalists, selected as the best of 2,303 entries in the competition, was Yellow Door Creamery’s Hand Rubbed Fontina. This best of class entry in the Open Class Flavored Semi-soft (Semi-hard) Cheeses category is the result of smooth and creamy Fontina wheels that are hand-rubbed with vibrant spice blends from around the globe and naturally aged for over 60 days. The winning variety – Harissa Hand Rubbed Fontina – offers a smoky blend of chili, cumin and caraway seed paired with the rich and nutty flavor of fontina.
Schuman’s other top 20 finalist, also earning best of class honors in the Blue Veined Cheeses category, was a Montforte Bleu Wheel. Crafted in the old-world tradition of artisan cheesemakers, Montforte Bleu’s savory tangy flavor is enhanced by its characteristic blue marble veining, giving it smooth and creamy undertones that lend a decadent bite to a rich risotto and a host of other recipes.
Rounding out the first place finishes was Cello Shredded Parmesan in the Open Class Shredded Cheese, Flavored & Unflavored category. The deep, nutty, caramel character of this flavorful parmesan is the result of the 12-plus months of natural aging each wheel undergoes to reach maturity before shredding.
Cello Copper Kettle Parmesan also earned recognition at the contest with a third place award in the Parmesan category. The rich, nutty flavor of authentic Italian Grana Padano is made in traditional copper kettles and aged over 20 months. A crunchy texture and robust flavor are the result of high-quality ingredients, bringing in natural sea salt and aging in a temperature-controlled environment. Each wheel is hand-selected once its intense flavor profile has reached the peak of perfection for a true culinary delight.
This year marked the 19th biennial U.S. Championship Cheese Contest, which is hosted by the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association. Entries across 100 classes were evaluated by a team of skilled technical judges selected from across the country in areas such as flavor, body and texture, salt, color, finish, packaging and other appropriate attributes.
Montchevre claimed seven awards at the 2017 U.S. Championship Cheese Contest®. Hosted by the Wisconsin Cheesemakers Association, the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest, is the largest technical cheese, butter, and yogurt competition in the country.
At the 19th biennial U.S. Championship Cheese Contest held Thursday, March 9 in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Montchevre received the following honors:
Class: Flavored Soft Goat’s Milk Cheeses
Best of Class, Truffle Fresh Goat Cheese Log
Second, Four Pepper Fresh Goat Cheese Log
Class: Flavored Soft Goat’s Milk Cheese with Sweet Condiments
Best of Class, Blueberry Vanilla Fresh Goat Cheese Log
Class: Semi-Soft Goat’s Milk Cheeses
Best of Class, Crumbled Goat Cheese
Class: Flavored Semi-Soft Goat’s Milk Cheeses
Best of Class, Apricot & Sage Crumbled Goat Cheese
Third, Candied Cranberry Crumbled Goat Cheese
Class: Hard Goat’s Milk Cheeses
Best of Class, Trivium (in partnership with Crown Finish Caves and Creamery 333)
A record-setting 2,303 cheeses, butters, and yogurts from 33 states participated in the 2017 U.S. Championship Cheese Contest.
Italian Foods Corporation’s imported La Piana® balsamic vinegars of Modena now are available in the northeastern United States through Shaw’s and Big Y.
Shaw’s is now carrying the La Piana Bronze Aged Balsamic Vinegar of Modena and Silver Aged Balsamic Vinegar of Modena at its 155 stores in five New England states through Chex Finer Foods of Mansfield, Massachusetts, according to Francesca Lapiana-Krause, Italian Foods General Manager. Big Y has added the Bronze Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, also through Chex Finer Foods, Lapiana-Krause said.
The vinegars are imported from the Modena region of Italy and made from the juice of Trebbiano grapes grown in the region. These produce a rich, sweet and pleasantly acidic balsamic vinegar with intense, but well-rounded, flavor, Lapiana-Krause said. La Piana Bronze Aged Balsamic Vinegar of Modena has a density of 1.18 and a sugar level of 400 to 430 grams per liter. The Silver balsamic vinegar has a density of 1.25 with sugar at 540 to 570 grams.
Italian Foods Corporation also carries Gold Aged Balsamic Vinegar of Modena with a density of 1.32 and sugar at 750 grams along with a line of Romantica vinegars and balsamic pearls. Suggested retail prices of the vinegars, which come in 8.4-ounce decorative bottles, are $16.47 for the Bronze, $22.65 for the Silver and $36.04 for the Gold.
More information about Italian Foods Corporation is available online at http://www.ItalianFoods.com and https://www.Facebook.com/LaPianaItalianFoods or by calling 1.888.516.7262.