by Beth Rotto, dairy and cheese buyer
Teenager Galen Musser of Milton, Iowa has won a Gold Medal at the World Cheese Awards competition in London. That’s quite an accomplishment for anyone, much less an 18-year old. His winning cheese is Prairie Breeze, produced at his family’s business, Milton Creamery. Milton is located in southeastern Iowa, near the Missouri border.
Prairie Breeze was entered in the “extra-mature creamy cheddar” category, and won top honors and the only American-made cheese to win a medal in its category. The competition involved over 2,600 cheeses from around the world.
Galen credits his success to using high quality milk and working in small batches. Producing the milk is a matter of hard work as all the cows are hand-milked twice every day. The traditional farming practices of the Amish mean their cows live in a healthy, low-stress environment. Prairie Breeze is made exclusively with milk produced on Amish farms. The largest farm has only sixteen cows. The animals are never given any artificial growth hormones like rBGH or rBST. They also are given antibiotics only as needed in the case of illness, not as a matter of course. The Amish pasture-graze their cows for as much of the year as possible, and they are fed stored feed in the winter. The crops are planted and harvested using horses and hand labor.
Prairie Breeze is a rindless cheddar that is aged for a minimum of six months. This gives the cheese time to develop subtle and very appealing flavor crystals. The cheese is nutty, a little salty and a little sweet with notes of pineapple. This is not just another cheddar cheese. It’s in a category of its own. Try it on a ham sandwich, grated on your green salad or just enjoy with some crackers. It’s also good with Champagne, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay or your favorite beer.
Congratulations, Milton Creamery and Galen Musser from all of us at Oneota Community Co-op. We knew you had a winner long before anyone in London!