A Jefferson, N.Y., creamery took home an armload of honors from this summer’s 2011 North American Jersey Cheese Awards at Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells, Wis.
The awards ceremony was held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Jersey Cattle Association and National All-Jersey Inc.
Shannon Mason of Cowbella Dairy Products in Jefferson dominated the Jersey cream butter, any style, category.
Mason was awarded gold medals for Cowbella Chive Butter, Cowbella Garlic Oregano Butter, Cowbella Salted Butter and Cowbella Sweet Cream Butter. In addition, she received a silver medal for Cowbella Maple Yogurt and a bronze medal for Cowbella Plain Yogurt.
All entries had to be produced from 100 percent Jersey milk. A total of 24 artisans from 16 states submitted 77 entries of cheese, butter and yogurt to compete in 11 classes.
The World Jersey Cheese Awards, presented by the World Jersey Cattle Bureau is the only breed-specific dairy product contest in the world. The World Jersey Cheese Awards showcase the quality and diversity of cheeses made from 100 percent Jersey milk.
Judges scored each product out of a possible 50 points for texture, body, appearance, aroma, flavor and balance.
This year’s judges included Kate Arding, co-founder and cheese director of Culture Magazine; William Wendorff, retired University of Wisconsin-Madison professor, serving as emeritus professor and consultant for the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research; Mariane Smukowski, dairy safety/quality applications coordinator for the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research; Gina Mode of Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research, who works with cheese brokers, ingredient suppliers and manufacturers; Jane Cisler, marketing coordinator for the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association; and Paris Knox, cheese monger and staff writer for W.D. Hoard’s and Sons.
Best of show went to Spring Brook Farm Tarentaise, made by Farms for City Kids Foundation of Reading, Vt. Second best of show was presented to Calvander, produced by Chapel Hill Creamery of Chapel Hill, N.C. Third best of show was awarded to Country Classic, produced by Homestead Creamery of Jamesport, Mo.
Spring Brook Farm, owned by Jeremy Stephenson, is a traditional dairy farm spanning more than 1,000 acres with 100 registered Jersey cows. The 42 milking cows produce over 600,000 pounds of milk each year.
Calvander is owned for 10 years by Portia McKnight and Florence Hawley, who, with the assistance of six employees, milk a 30-cow Jersey herd with a spring and fall calving season and an intensive rotational grazing program. The cheese is modeled after the Italian cheese Asiago.