AMPI a champion at cheese World Series
By Carol Stender
Date Modified: 03/29/2012 10:08 AM
NEW ULM, Minn. — AMPI came out a winner —twice — in the World Series of cheese and butter competitions.
The milk processor, headquartered in New Ulm, was awarded two gold medals at the 2012 World Championship Cheese Contest. The biennial competition in Madison, Wis, attracted more than 2,500 cheese and butter entries from around the globe.
AMPI's cheese, made at its Blair, Wis., plant scored a 99.5 to be the world's best in the Mild Cheddar competition while the processor's butter entry, a salted butter produced in the New Ulm plant, scored a near perfect 99.9. Both were judged by an international panel.
AMPI's cheese and butter is entered in contests quarterly, said Sheryl Meshke, a spokeswoman for the cooperative. The cooperative earned three wins at the 2011 World Dairy Expo Cheese Championship Dairy Products Contest.
The World Championship Cheese Contest was special, she said. It's international, with entries from Japan, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom besides the U.S. and Canada.
"It's gratifying to the dairy farmer-owner and employees of AMPI to know that the products we make are truly unrivaled anywhere in the world," said AMPI president and CEO Ed Welch. "These international awards are proof of what we've known all along, the dairy products we make from quality milk produced on Midwest family farms are simply the best"
AMPI's mild cheddar entry was made in one of the 18 new cheese-making vats cooperative members purchased last fall. The cooperative is the first manufacturer in the nation to install the vats, which feature advances in technology that are redefining the benchmark for cheese-making quality.
The cooperative's butter plant burned in 2004. Farmer-members chose to rebuild it, making it a state-of-the-art plant.
"When you visit with the cheese and butter makers, they will tell you how they enter products in the contest that they make everyday," Meshke said. "It's the same cheese and butter plant customers purchase."