The Mt. Sterling Goat Cheese Creamery has done it again.
The winners circle isn’t new for head cheese maker Bjorn Unseth and the crew in Mt. Sterling, but they’re proud to be there none-the- less.
This little creamery is tucked away overlooking a beautiful valley in the small Village of Mt. Sterling, on Highway 171 between Gays Mills and Seneca. Operating since 1976, The Mt. Sterling Co-op Creamery has been producing award winning and just down right delicious goat milk products from family operated goat farms.
This year, the creamery took home a win from the American Cheese Society competition held in Rhode Island. With their raw milk mild cheddar and whey butter, Mt. Sterling was able to bag a third place ribbon on both.
Cheese and butter maker at the co-op, Bjorn Unseth, couldn’t have been happier with the wins. “Every contest we’ve entered we’ve won something,” Unseth said. In fact every time Mt. Sterling’s whey butter has been entered in the completion it has won.
In 2014, the raw milk mild cheddar won first place, an accomplishment considering the current climate surrounding raw milk products.
“A lot of places have stopped making raw milk products because of the regulations, and strictness of the USDA” Unseth explained, “But, we plan on continuing to provide it until the end.”
Raw milk is unpasteurized milk, which has led to disputes on safety and benefits from communities around the world. However many cheesemakers, in Wisconsin, including Mt. Sterling continue to make it.
The process of choosing the product to submit is a labor of love for Mt. Sterling.
“I usually let these ladies choose what we send,” said Unseth, gesturing towards the women, who diligently work up front packaging, selling and shipping the cheeses. Throughout the year, various batches that stand out to Unseth and his crew are tested and tasted and put away for safe keeping before the competition. Later, they will be tasted and tested one last time before shipping to the judges.
Many people may speculate over the flavor of goat cheese, but not to worry, in addition to their award winning mild cheddar, the co-op offers up a variety of flavored cheeses that promise to please every pallet.
“The smoked jalapeno is a really good choice for someone who wants something that doesn’t taste too much like typical goat cheese,” noted Unseth who includes the jalapeno pepper jack style cheeses, sharp cheddar and the award winning Sterling Reserve among his favorites. He does note however, after a life time of butter made from cows milk, he can taste the difference in the whey butter, but that doesn’t seem to hold back the public from coming back time and time again to sample and purchase the whey cream butter which is a bit sweeter than a typical sweet cream butter.
“Whenever we bring the butter for people to sample at shows, they always come back for more,” noted Unseth with a smile, “When people come back to taste your butter at a convention where they’re eating butter and cheese all day, that’s the best compliment you can get.”
Mt. Sterling Creamery also ships its delightful goat milk products everywhere from their website. It is however worth the trip to see the gang in Mt. Sterling, and get the freshest possible goat cheese around.