ANAHEIM, CA—Pepper-jack cheese produced under the Heritage Ridge Creamery brand at Michigan Milk Producers Association’s Middlebury, Indiana cheese plant was recently named Grand Champion Cheese. The award was presented by the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) last week at the federation’s annual meeting in California.
The annual contest includes cheese made by dairy cooperatives belonging to NMPF. A record 194 entries totaling 3,070 pounds of cheese products were submitted in the 2017 contest. Heritage Ridge pepper-jack placed first in the hot or spicy cheese category and then went on to win the overall best cheese prize. This is the first year MMPA has entered a product in the cheese contest.
“We are honored our product was recognized nationally, a testament to high quality milk from our farms and the craftsmanship of our cheesemakers,” said Jim Feeney, senior director of sales for the MMPA. “We strive to exceed our customers’ expectations everyday with the quality products in our portfolio.”
The Heritage Ridge Creamery brand markets cheese produced at the Middlebury, Indiana plant and sold in the on-site retail store. The cheese plant produces Colby cheese, a softer, milder flavored cheddar cheese, in addition to cheddar, pepper-jack, Amish Creamery cheese and other flavors.
Heritage Ridge Creamery is a brand of Middlebury Cheese Company, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the MMPA. The farmer-owned cooperative acquired the facility in 2016 and is currently reviewing options to increase capacity and expand product offerings.
The Michigan Milk Producers Association—established in 1916—is a member-owned and operated milk marketing cooperative and dairy processor serving approximately 1,700 dairy farmers throughout Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana. In addition to the cheese plant in Indiana, MMPA operates two SQF Level 3 dairy ingredient plants in Michigan, producing butter, nonfat dry milk powder, condensed skim milk, cream and whole milk powder.