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Wisconsin Cheesemakers Win Big At U.S. Championship Cheese Contest

John (Randy) Pitman of Mill Creek Cheese Factory in Arena, Wisconsin.
John (Randy) Pitman of Mill Creek Cheese Factory in Arena, Wisconsin.

Wisconsin dominated the 2015 U.S. Championship Cheese Contest in Milwaukee last week, sweeping more than a third of the categories judged.

“America’s Dairyland” claimed two of the three overall awards. John (Randy) Pitman, a Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker at Mill Creek Cheese Factory in Arena, was first runner-up for his brick cheese. Founded in 1891, Mill Creek Cheese Factory is the oldest operating cheese plant in southwest Wisconsin’s Iowa County. The second runner-up prize went to Land O’Lakes in Kiel for its medium cheddar.

This year’s contest drew a record-breaking 1,892 entries from 28 states. Wisconsin captured 59 percent of awards: 160 of the total 270 given, far more than any other state. New York ranked second in total awards with 20, followed by Vermont with 18 and California with 16.

Fifty-six Wisconsin companies took one or more awards with 11 garnering five or more. They include Agropur, BelGioioso Cheese, Carr Valley Cheese Co., Edelweiss Creamery, Hidden Springs Creamery, Holland’s Family Cheese, Klondike Cheese Co., Lactalis Deli Inc., Mill Creek Cheese Factory,  Montchevré-Betin and Sartori Co.

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