December 23, 2010

Milton Creamery Wins Gold in International Cheese Competition

Milton Creamery helped put American cheese on the international map in late November.

The small Iowa company's Prairie Breeze cheddar won a gold medal at the World Cheese Awards in London, England, during judging on November 24. Milton Creamery is owned and operated by the husband-and-wife team of Rufus and Jane Musser. The Musser's son, Galen, is the head cheesemaker, and son Mark is also involved in the rural Milton family business.

Milton Creamery's Prairie Breeze cheddar cheese was judged "the highest example of the category" in the "Extra Mature Creamery Cheddar, aged 9-12 months" competition. Prairie Breeze was the only American winner along with 10 British cheddars which were honored with gold, silver or bronze medals in the category.

"We're very honored by the award," said Milton Creamery co-owner Rufus Musser. "To have Prairie Breeze recognized as the equal of some of the best cheeses in the world is very rewarding. The ultimate prize for us, of course, is to create cheeses that delight our customers, but we're pleased that the quality and care we put into our products has been recognized as among the best in the world."

The World Cheese Awards (WCA) is the world's largest international cheese competition held to evaluate and reward quality and excellence in the global cheese industry. More than 2,600 cheeses from the United Kingdom, Europe, U.S., South Africa and Australia were judged at the contest.

"A lot of credit for our success has to go to the families who produce our milk," said Musser. "These are wonderful people who operate small, family farms where every cow is hand milked and given nothing but wholesome feed. These awards are really a tribute to our milk suppliers as well."

Milton Creamery continues to use 20,000 to 30,000 pounds of milk per week purchased from 11 area Amish farms.

The Milton Creamery flagship cheese also won Best in Class for the Open Category of the 2009 U.S. Cheese Championships and a gold medal at the 2009 American Cheese Society championships. The achievements are an impressive feat for a cheese maker in business for less than five years.

Rufus and Jane Musser moved from Pennsylvania to southeast Iowa in 1992 due to high land prices in their native state. Initially, the Mussers milked their own cows. Later, at the urging of nearby Amish farmers, the Mussers founded Milton Creamery and produced their first batch of cheese on May 8, 2006. For more information, contact Jane or Rufus at 641-656-4094 or miltoncreamery@emypeople.net.

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