Annual State Fair Tradition Highlights World-Class Dairy Products in New York State
North Country’s Great Lakes Cheese NYS Cheddar Named Grand Champion
The State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball announced the winners of the 2018 Dairy Products Competition in celebration of the 42nd annual Dairy Day at The Great New York State Fair. Thirty-four manufacturers were awarded this year, including the North Country’s Great Lakes Cheese, which earned the Grand Champion award for its NYS Cheddar Cheese. The state’s top-scoring milk belongs to Mountainside Dairy from the Southern Tier.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Congratulations to our winners and to all of our participants for making so many fine products that put New York State on the map as a leader in dairy in the United States. This competition gives us a chance to highlight just a sliver of the products that use milk from our nearly 4,500 dairy producers throughout the state. Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s vision and support of our New York State Grown & Certified program, the variety of local products is expanding, which is reflected in this year’s entries.”
Promoting New York’s dairy industry has long been a central component of the State Fair, which this year is celebrating the opening of the Exposition Center and record attendance for five days of its 9 day-run so far. Governor Cuomo last week kicked off the 2018 State Fair by cutting the ribbon on the brand-new 136,000 square-foot Exposition Center. The new Expo Center is the largest indoor events space north of New York City between Boston and Cleveland, and has the capacity to hold more than 500, 10'-by-10' trade show booths. The massive venue, which also features 4,000 retractable seats, will attract major shows and special events, including agricultural events, many of which were previously unable to come to upstate New York due to the lack of suitable space.
The Expo is one of the many attractions and things to do at the Fair this year, including new agricultural days, the debut of a New York Experience area, more music and entertainment than ever, and several new special events. The annual dairy competition complements these enhancements by offering visitors an opportunity to experience the diversity of the state’s agricultural industries.
The 42nd Annual Dairy Day awarded 34 processors and manufacturers from across the state with gold or silver honors, or an Award of Excellence. This year there were 241 entries from 68 exhibitors, 30 more entries than the previous year, with more small artisan producers entering products than ever before.
Other highlights from the competition include:
- Byrne Dairy placed second, winning silver in the Fluid Milk class and Stewart’s took home the Award of Excellence. Both processors are part of the State’s Grown & Certified program.
- Ithaca Milk won gold in the Small Processors Fluid Milk category.
- Saputo Friendship earned the most medals overall, with a total of 8. They received the gold, silver and Award of Excellence in the Cottage Cheese category, the Award of Excellence in the Sour Cream category, and gold and an Award of Excellence in the Buttermilk category.
- McCadam Cheese earned six medals, including gold in the Current Cheddar Cheese class, and silver in Aged Cheddar, Cold Pack/Processed Cheese, and Flavored Natural Cheese categories. McCadam is also in the Grown & Certified program.
- Old Chatham Creamery won both gold and silver in the Soft Goat Cheese category, while Coach Farm and Nettle Meadow tied for the Award of Excellence.
Entries were submitted for 23 categories, including fluid milk, various types of cheeses, sour cream, yogurt, dips and cottage cheese. The entries are evaluated by 11 expert judges. This year, the Chief Judge was Heather Spraker from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets’ Division of Milk Control.
A full list of winners is available here.
Acting Fair Director Troy Waffner said, “The Dairy Products Competition is one of the highlights of Dairy Day at the Great New York State Fair. The dairy industry – from our cows, to our milk, yogurt, cheese, sour cream and butter – is a major part of the Fair, as well as our agricultural sector. We truly enjoy this competition as an opportunity to celebrate our dairy farmers and processors who yield and craft such a wide array of high-quality and delicious New York State foods and beverages.”
In addition to the Dairy Products Competition, dairy attractions and exhibits will be featured during all 13 days of the Fair in the Dairy Products Building. The popular Milk Bar continues to offer 25 cent cups of cold white or chocolate milk, supplied by NYS Grown & Certified processor Byrne Dairy, and the famous Butter Sculpture hits a milestone as the longstanding tradition marks its 50th appearance at the Great New York State Fair. Fairgoers can also enjoy a variety of new toppings on Chobani yogurt at the Milky Bun yogurt bar and cheese booth. They can also sample and purchase a variety of cheese from across the state, including from McCadam Cheese, which is a NYS Grown & Certified dairy processor.
The Dairy Cow Birthing Center, located in the western area of the Fairgrounds, gives fairgoers an opportunity to witness live births of baby calves. More than 100 farmers, veterinarians, business representatives and agricultural students volunteer to assist with the births and explain the process to the public. In addition, the Milking Parlor in the Dairy Cattle Barn is featuring live demonstrations, at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. daily, to show how milk gets from farm to fridge.
Great Lakes Cheese Plant Manager Nathan Pistner said, “Great Lakes is honored to participate in the NYS Fair Dairy Competition. Our success is a direct reflection of our dedicated employees and all of the local farms that provide the plant high quality milk every day. We would also like to thank the Epprecht family and our Senior Management team for their continued support in the Adams, NY facility.”
Mountainside Farms General Manager Denyson Wray said, “Mountainside Farms is honored to receive this award. This affirms that our work with our employees and our partners in the milk division has been greatly successful. We wouldn’t have been able to do this without the quality milk we receive each day from our locally owned family farms.”
Dean Kathryn J. Boor of the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said, “The unparalleled skill and care of our dairy producers and food entrepreneurs can be tasted in every bite and sip of New York-made dairy products. Congratulations to all of the winners for their dedication to creating dairy products that reflect the vibrancy of our state’s agricultural economy.”
Rick Naczi, CEO of American Dairy Association North East said, “The success of the Dairy Products Competition reminds everyone that their milk comes from a good place, produced by hard-working dairy farmers. We thank our dairy farmers for their stewardship of the land and care of the animals that produce wholesome dairy products we enjoy.”
The Dairy Industry in New York
New York is a top producer of dairy products in the country, and dairy is the State’s number one agricultural sector. Currently, New York has nearly 4,500 dairy farms with a total of 623,000 dairy cows. In 2017, 14.9 billion pounds of milk was produced, approximately seven percent of the country’s total milk supply, making New York the third largest dairy producing state in the nation. New York is also a leading producer in the country of sour cream, cottage cheese, and creamed cheese. Total cheese production, excluding cottage cheeses, also continues to grow, accounting for more than 800 million pounds last year.
About the Great New York State Fair
The New York State Fair, operated by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, runs from August 22 to September 3, 2018. The Fair's mission, reflected in its theme, "FIND YOUR GREAT," is to showcase the best of New York agriculture while providing top-quality entertainment.
The home of the Great New York State Fair is a 375-acre exhibit and entertainment complex that operates all year. A year-round schedule of events is available on the Fair’s website. Find The Great New York State Fair on Facebook, follow @NYSFair on Twitter, on Snapchat at nysfair and enjoy photos from the Fair at Flickr.com/photos/nysfair. Also, New Yorkers are invited to send their ideas for the Great New York State Fair at firstname.lastname@example.org.