FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. — For butter- and cheese lovers, it’s a gouda opportunity to take home a taste of Minnesota dairy products from the State Fair: For the first time, the award-winning Minnesota-made butter and cheeses in the display cooler near the butter-sculpting booth in the State Fair’s Dairy Building are being made available to the public.
From a half-pound rolled blueberry chevre to a 20-pound block of butter to a 42-pound chunk of Cheddar Parmesan, about 50 entries in this year’s Butter and Cheese Contest will be auctioned off to the highest bidders to fund dairy student scholarships through Upper Midwest Dairy Industry Association, a non-profit industry group.
Online bidding is open during the run of the State Fair at Fahey Sales Auctioneers and Appraisers. The public can view the top five winners in each category in the Dairy Building from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Aug. 26 through Sept. 5, and from 9:00 a.m. to noon Sept. 6. Winning bidders can pick up their products at the Dairy Building on Sept. 7 or arrange for shipping via the Fahey website. The auction is made possible by the support of your local dairy farmers through Midwest Dairy as a zero-waste sponsor.
All proceeds from the first-ever public auction will fund UMDIA’s Gene Watnaas scholarship, named for the organization’s retired longtime director. To recognize individuals pursuing post-secondary education in a field that will enhance the quality and safety of dairy and food products, UMDIA will be awarding $1,000 scholarships to qualified applicants pursuing a degree in Animal Science with emphasis in dairy, Dairy Science, Food Animal Veterinary Medicine, Dairy Manufacturing, Dairy Technology, Dairy Food Science or other related degree programs.
Butter and cheesemakers from creameries across the state participate in the Minnesota State Fair Butter and Cheese Contest each year and are evaluated on a scale of one to 100. This year’s winners – all part of the auction – are:
- Artisan Butter: Mike Iverson of Hope Creamery, Hope, Minn., with a score of 96.567
- Continuous Churn Butter: Joey Vogel of AMPI, New Ulm, with a score of 99.233
- Cheddar Block: Justin Larson of Bongards, Perham, with a score of 98.600
- Cheddar Barrel: Zac McCann of First District Association (FDA), Litchfield, with a score of 98.567
- Artisan: Rolled Blueberry Chevre from Stickney Hill Dairy, Cold Spring, with a score of 98.733
- Miscellaneous: Hot Chili Pepper by Doug Anderson of First District Association (FDA), Litchfield, with a score of 98.867