Rogue Creamery,a small Southern Oregon artisan creamery internationally known for its award-winning handcraftedcheeses, is taking home a new recognition during June Dairy Month, by receiving the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award for Outstanding Dairy Processing and Manufacturing.
In October 2019, Rogue Creamery was rewarded for its high standards as the first-ever American cheesemaker to be named Grand Champion at the World Cheese Awards. But owner David Gremmels’ commitment to excellence extends far beyond cheesemaking to business practices that create a culture around doing the right thing.
“The food industry is a challenging environment with an ever-changing landscape. It takes passion, energy, awareness of food safety and a high level of professional business skills to understand, create and adapt,” said Cathy Strange, Vice President of Specialty, Product Development and Innovation at Whole Foods Market. “My experiences with Rogue Creamery and their owners and employees is that they are committed to represent themselves, the dairy community and United States artisan cheesemakers at the highest level.”
The sustainability awards program is managed by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, which was established under the leadership of dairy farmers and dairy companies. For 10 years, award recipients have been recognized for their commitment to dairy sustainability with nearly 80 winners and from more than 270 nominees.
Rogue Creamery became Oregon’s first certified B Corporation in 2014, inspiring other like-minded businesses to follow suit and pursue this rigorous certification. And since 2017, it has consistently ranked in the top 10% of B Corps worldwide for its impact on people and planet. This recognition affirms Rogue Creamery as a force for good—balancing purpose with profit and considering the broader, community-wide impact of every business decision.
As a leading proponent of renewable energy and waste reduction, Rogue Creamery has installed solar panels, reduced packaging waste, and created an employee commuter program. And, through team volunteer days, giving campaigns, sponsorships and food drives, Rogue Creamery advances core goals, which include alleviating hunger, increasing access to education, and building awareness about sustainable agriculture. Its “Cheese is Love” campaign has resulted in more than 3,500 pounds of cheese donations for those who have been impacted by fires that ravaged Southern Oregon in September 2020.
“Oregon’s dairy community has long embraced the importance of sustainability,” said Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council’s Executive Director, Pete Kent. “Dairy farms, co-ops and companies recognize that their businesses can be used to exemplify sustainable choices. We are proud to have Rogue Creamery represent Oregon on the national stage this year as a standard for these efforts.”
This small creamery’s commitment to quality, sustainability and doing the right thing has substantial, sustainable impacts within its local community and beyond – enlightening partners, neighbors, and customers worldwide.
With warm weather and re-opened trails beckoning to hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, packing up nutritious snacks and meals to take along is important. Cheese is the perfect high-protein food to throw in your backpack. With the array of hike-friendly cheeses available, even the most discerning hiker will have options to choose from.
What kind of cheese should I bring on my hike?
The next time you pack your backpack for a hike, avoid taking soft cheeses (brie, goat cheese or cream cheeses) and go for hard and dry cheeses like Cheddar, Parmesan and Gouda. Avoid shredding your cheese or cutting it into chunks before hiking as it speeds up the aging process and provides more chance of getting contaminated by bacteria.
How should I store my cheese?
Store your cheese in parchment paper while traveling, the porous surface allows cheese to breathe and helps in retaining it’s flavor. Replace your wrap frequently to reduce “sweating” (the process of butterfat separating from the cheese). And don’t forget to store cheese away from hot locations in your backpack and direct sun exposure.
Here’s a list of some popular dry and hard cheeses you can take with you in your backpack:
How do I keep cheese fresh?
A good habit to get into at home and on the trail, is to write down the date you initially stored your cheese on it’s storage container. This helps you to measure when your cheese may be past it’s prime. And if you’re backpacking for several days – keep your cheese in one block. Cutting it into pieces increases the surface area that can get contaminated by mold and bacteria.
How can you tell if your cheese is past it’s prime?
Always adhere to the 2 Hour Rule for leaving perishables out: After being in room temperature for 2 hours, always re-refrigerate hard cheeses and throw out soft cheeses.
Welcome to the first-ever, virtual culinary experience with Chef Jessica! Sponsored byODEand ODNC, school and child nutrition professionals across Oregon are invited to watch or cook along with Jessica as she prepares easy, tasty and fun recipes that meet Child Nutrition Program guidelines.
Participants receive tips for shaking up old recipes with new flavors and ideas to keep kids coming back for more.
While supplies last, all participants who complete the evaluation survey will receive an “Undeniably Dairy” apron, as worn by Chef Jessica (with three front pockets) and a handy portable milk cooler for your organization.
Statewide culinary trainings and this event are sponsored by the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council and the Oregon Department of Education, Child Nutrition Services. Questions? Please contact Crista Hawkins: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can’t go wrong with flowers… especially if they’re mixed with Salt n Straw’s delicious ice cream! Their Eat Your Flowers Pint Series ships across the US and features the vivid and aromatic tastes of Jasmine, Hibiscus and Wildflower.
On that note, jewels don’t hurt either. Try the in-store Jewels and Gems Menu at Ruby Jewel and treat your Mom to specially made indulgent ice cream sandwiches with decadent flavor combinations like Strawberry Rhubarb and Malted Milk.
The best gift of all? Time with your Mom. However you spend this Mother’s Day, by Zoom, phone or in-person, we hope it’s filled with delicious memories!
Sustainable Communities Dairy contributes to strong, thriving communities and is accessible to all.
Dairy farmers are proud members of America’s essential workforce.
The dairy community is working hard to ensure every child has access to nutrient-rich foods, including dairy foods, to help them grow, learn and thrive. Read about school breakfast and child nutrition programs in Oregon.
Each year, farmers and dairy companies work with local food banks to deliver nutritious dairy foods to those in need, providing 469 million pounds of dairy- including milk, cheese and yogurt – to Feeding America in 2020 alone. Find out more about how farmers fight Hunger.
Looking for more information on how dairy nourishes people while responsibly caring for our planet and animals?Join the Dairy Nourishes Network.
Members of the network receive the latest dairy research, resources and recipes, as well as opportunities for free continuing education.
Sustainability, quality, innovation … you could say the Oregon dairy community has a lot to celebrate. And you’d be right! Over the past couple of years, our producers, processors, and individuals within the community keep setting the bar higher, earning recognition regionally, nationally, and even internationally.
To acknowledge individuals for their lifelong contributions to Oregon’s Dairy Industry, the Oregon Dairy Farmers Association presents two annual awards at the state convention. Recent recipients have included:
Community Service Award – Roger and Jessie DeJager (2020)
Distinguished Service Award – Troy Downing (2020)
Community Service Award – Tom Johnson (2019)
Distinguished Service Award – Will Wise and Julie Hoffman (2019)
Oregon Dairy Industries, also known as ODI, was founded in 1910 to promote and elevate interest in dairy food products in the western United States. Each year, exceptional ODI members are recognized with the Oregon Dairy Industries Award. The 2020 Sweepstakes Award recipients included:
Oregon Ag Fest seeks to reward student organizations, nonprofit groups or classrooms that promote and educate Oregonians about agriculture. In 2020, Lost River FFA of Merrill, Oregon, won first place, and the Oregon Dairy Princess Ambassador program won second place. The Oregon Dairy Women’s Dairy Princess Ambassador Program was created in 1959 to promote and provide outreach on behalf of the Oregon dairy industry. In 2019, they were able to reach more than 10,000 students statewide with in school presentations and county fairs. In 2020, they adjusted their programs to meet students virtually.
The Oregon dairy community has proven they can walk the walk when talking about sustainability. As an annual award that recognizes dairy farms, businesses and collaborative partnerships that demonstrate outstanding economic, environmental and social benefits, Oregon provides powerful examples of dairy sustainability leadership.
The American Cheese Society Judging and Competition is the largest competition of its kind for American cheese. The awards are designed to shine a spotlight on American cheesemakers by showcasing their talents and work as leaders within the industry. Unfortunately, this competition has been cancelled for 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, many Oregon cheesemakers were celebrated in 2019.
This contest, sponsored by the Wisconsin Dairy Products Association, is unique because it includes all dairy products. This competition was also cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, but it gives us an opportunity to continue celebrating Oregon’s winners in 2019:
A celebration of American cheesemakers, NMPF’s yearly competition went virtual in 2020. In spite of the virtual contest, they still received nearly 190 entries of cheese and cottage cheese. Darigold claimed top honors for Best Cottage Cheese last year with their Pineapple Cottage Cheese.
Presented by the Good Food Foundation, this award is not solely focused on dairy food products, and it is judged on quality, sustainability and socially responsible production. Amongst the nearly 2,000 entries in 16 different categories, Oregon creameries have been highlighted several years running.
These awards recognize its member creameries that go above and beyond in a variety of categories, including: production, quality, marketing, and customer service, highlighting superior performance in finished product quality, plant appearance, cleanliness, efficiency, management leadership and process control. Criteria includes laboratory test scores and evaluation of a plant’s process systems. The 2020 award winners included:
In the Olympics of all cheese competitions, cheeses are sent from around the world to be judged in a single day. Judges work in teams of three to identify cheeses worthy of a gold, silver, or bronze award based on the rind, color, texture, consistency and of course, taste. All teams also nominate a “Super Gold” from their table, and those top cheeses are judged a second time by a “Super Jury” of international judges. The final cheeses are debated in front of a live consumer and trade audience before choosing the Grand Champion Cheese on live television. In 2019, the first-ever American cheese was selected as the best in the world, and it was from Oregon.
This string of impressive awards and accomplishments speaks volumes about the individuals and organizations integral to the Oregon dairy community. Oregon may be a smaller dairy state compared to others in the U.S., but our positive impacts, high standards and great accomplishments continue to put our state among the best in class – now and into the future.
Spring is in the air, a time when many high school graduates and college students are looking to the future as they consider higher education and their future careers. Luckily, there are scholarships available to help pay for the ever-increasing costs.
The dairy community and others in the world of agriculture are also looking to the future as they seek to invest in the next generation of students who are seeking to make their career home in agriculture.
If you’re interested in an agricultural-related degree, don’t miss out on these scholarship opportunities! Deadlines are fast approaching, so the time to act is now.
Awarded to students majoring in Animal Science, Food Science, Veterinary Science, Nutrition, Dietetics or other areas related or having an impact on the dairy industry, or be the son or daughter of an Oregon dairy family or worked on a dairy for at least two years or had a 4-H or FFA dairy project for four years.
Connecting college students from across the country who are passionate about sharing positive information about animal agriculture.
Oregon has many great institutions where students can earn degrees at all levels from associate to doctoral, gaining work experience along the way. There are many career opportunities related to agriculture and food production to fit many interests, from food science to animal nutrition, veterinary services to agronomy.
Join ODNC and Food Hero with Food Hero’s Grow This! Oregon Garden Challenge this spring. 38,000 free seed packets, donated by Bi-Mart, will be distributed by Food Hero to Oregon state residents as part of the program which aims to inspire kids to grow their own gardensand eat a healthy diet.
You can register to pick up a seed kit with Food Hero while supplies last. The seed packets will be available in 4 different seed kits: cool-weather vegetables, warm-weather vegetables, herb or edible flowers and flowers that attract pollinators, like bees and birds. Or you can join in with your own seeds, says Halie Cousineau, OSU Extension Food Hero state garden education coordinator.
The Food Hero Facebook page will hold weekly office hours when gardeners can ask questions, post photos and share their accomplishments, Cousineau said. Once they harvest their produce, gardeners can find more than 300 recipes using vegetables and fruits on the Food Hero website.
Children are a big part of the program. Beginning April 1, digital lessons will be released every Thursday through June 10 when school ends. The lineup includes Growing Healthy Kids with OSU Master Gardeners and a four-week lesson plan in partnership with the Oregon Bee Project. Kids will learn about how bees help make healthy food and how to identify several of Oregon’s bees.
Kids can upcycle their yogurt or milk containers and use sleeves provided by ODNC to help track the care and progress of their plants. Download yours here!
Throughout summer and into fall, participants will receive a monthly Grow This! Oregon Garden Challenge email with gardening information, harvest recipes and storage tips. Challenge information will also be available in English and Spanish on the Food Hero gardening page. For more personalized interaction, participants can email challenge leaders or email or call the Master Gardeners in their area.
“We’re trying to make the program accessible to anyone, children, elders, people with special needs and the diversity of cultural populations in Oregon,” said Cousineau. “We’re encouraging people anywhere to join. We want to make a community.”
The 2020 – 2025 DGA provide suggestions for healthy eating patterns throughout all stages of life, including specific recommendations for women during pregnancy and lactation, and for infants from birth to 23 months.
The dietary guidelines have four main points:
1. Follow a healthy dietary pattern at every life stage.
2. Customize and enjoy nutrient dense food and beverage choices to reflect personal preferences, cultural traditions, and budgetary considerations.
3. Focus on meeting food group needs with nutrient-dense foods and beverages, and stay within calorie limits.
4. Limit foods and beverages higher in added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium, and limit alcoholic beverages.
The USDA MyPlate and MyPlate website guide all Americans to discover a healthy eating routine that is just right for their individual needs. MyPlate highlights five food groups (dairy, fruit, vegetables, protein, and grains) and suggests ways you can add more foods packed with vitamins and minerals, called “nutrient-dense foods,” to your diet. Examples of nutrient-dense foods are low-fat dairy, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. Nutrient-dense dairy foods are low fat milk, cheese and yogurt.
One healthy tip to help you meet your food group needs is to include two to three food groups with each meal and, watch your portion size to stay within calorie limits. To learn more about portion size and how much you need from each food group, go to MyPlate.gov.
Healthy eating should be enjoyable! Picking foods that sound good to you will also help make changes easier to stick with long term. Try to swap healthier foods into your diet, like low fat yogurt and fruit instead of a donut or Danish, or simply choose whole wheat bread instead of white bread.
It is recognized in the DGAs that milk, cheese and yogurt are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals like calcium, vitamin D, iodine, and vitamin B12. These nutrients provided by dairy products are important throughout your entire life.
Starting at 6 months old, dairy foods like cheese and yogurt are important first foods that help form the foundation for healthy eating.
At 12 months, toddlers can drink whole milk instead of breastmilk or formula as a t critically important source of 13 essential nutrients important for healthy growth and development.
From pre-school to teenage years, dairy foods provide high-quality nutrients that help kids grow, thrive and stay healthy.
Adolescence is a critical time for good nutrition. Teen girls especially fall short of Vit. B12 and bone-building nutrients. Dairy foods have more bone building nutrients per calorie than any other food group.
For women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, dairy foods provide vitamin B12 as well as iodine which are important to brain health.
Older adults benefit from protein and minerals in dairy to support bone health and maintain muscle.
Healthy eating is important throughout all stages of life for growth, prevention of disease, and overall wellness. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPlate are helpful guides to help you make every bite and sip count.
Makenna Stafford, is currently a Master’s student in the Dietetic Nutrition Program at Oregon State University. She recently worked as a Dietetic Intern for the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council in 2021.
MyPlate is a guide for Americans on healthful eating that includes five major food groups, fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy. MyPlate has recently been updated to reflect the newest edition of the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Each person needs different amounts from each food group based on their height, weight, gender, and age. It doesn’t have to be complicated, because MyPlate has an app for that! Easily calculate your daily dietary needs in less time than it takes you to catch up on TikTok. Find the new app by searching for “Start Simple with MyPlate” in your app store.
What to explore on MyPlate.gov
Myplate.gov helps you eat healthier by including specific nutrition guidance for all stages of life! This includes nutrition for pregnancy and lactation, infancy, toddlers, preschools, kids, teens, young adults, adults, and older adults.
Another new aspect on the MyPlate website is a quiz to help you make sure you’re getting in all the nutrients you need to stay healthy. The quiz will ask you about your regular food intake, what your goals are, and what aspects of healthy eating you want to learn more about. Once the quiz is complete, you can find out if you should increase your intake for certain food groups. You will also be provided links to resources on topics you indicated you wanted to know more about.
Once you know what food groups may be lacking in your diet, the app also helps you create goals and holds you accountable. And, it even goes one step further to generate ideas to complete these goals. There are tips on easy ways to add the food groups based on your goals, and it will link you directly to recipes that include the food groups you need.