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Utah cheesemakers show off state’s dairy power
Beehive cheese's rustic twice-baked crackers are great with any of the Utah businesses cheeses. Shown here is their fully loaded whiskey fortified cheddar, using whiskey from Park City's High West Distillery, and their Barely Buzzed.
SARAH WELLIVER/Standard-Examiner

Turns out the Beehive State is home to some delicious cheese

Utah’s home not just to a variety of farms and farmers markets, but lots of entrepreneurs making unique and delectable products. There are hundreds of unique food businesses, from candy makers to popcorn glazers to jelly mashers to cider brewers.

When browsing the aisles of grocery markets or the shelves of stores, Wayne Bradshaw with the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food said it’s important to pay attention to a food product’s source.

“If we can keep a dollar in the state of Utah, it circulates in the economy longer,” he said. “For every dollar you spend on a local product, 60 percent stays in the local economy.”

Only 40 percent of that dollar stays in Utah when buying products from out of state.

Bradshaw’s working to help Utahns easily identify foods produced in the state. More than 500 farmers and food producers have applied to be part of the “Utah’s Own” directory, which includes branding for the food’s packaging so Utah products are easy to spot.

If local shoppers pay attention to their food’s sources and shift just 10 percent of their shopping budget to local products, that can keep $1.3 billion in the state each year, Bradshaw said.

We’ve compiled a list of nearly 100 food products made in the state and easy to purchase in Northern Utah. Each week, we’ll feature produce a category of delectable Utah foods with information on where to get them and what sets the producer or product apart. 

June is National Dairy Month (and Sunday, June 4, was National Cheese Day), according to the International Dairy Foods Association, so we’re starting by featuring some of Utah’s cheesemakers. The Beehive State isn’t the largest dairy producer in the country — it’s ranked 20th, according to the Dairy Council of Utah and Nevada — but the density of dairies in Northern Utah is the highest in the state.

A lot of that locally-sourced milk is put to good use by nearby Utahns, too. 

Tyler Udy who works in cheese sales at Gossner Foods in Logan said all the milk they use in their cheese is from local farmers.

Having local milk is key to producing a quality product Udy said. Swiss cheese is their signature product and is very sensitive to any variance in the milk. Using local milk prevents those issues.

“If people don’t support local then it is a lot harder for those farmers to continue doing what they are doing,” Udy said. “If we don’t get good milk, then we can’t produce a good product.”

A few suggestions for brands to keep an eye out for in grocery stores near you: 

Beehive Cheese Co.

Family-owned gourmet cheese producer. 

Location: Uintah

Where to buy: Available at most grocery stores

Website: http://www.beehivecheese.com

Gold Creek Farms

Artisan cheeses made using milk and cream from Brown Swiss cows on a sustainable-minded farm.

Location: Kamas

Where to buy: Harmon’s grocery stores or order online

Website: www.goldcreekfarms.com

Gossner Foods

This cheese plant got its start trying to bring a slice of Switzerland to Utah. Five decades later, Gossner now produces 30 varieties of cheese as well as shelf-stable milk.

Location: Logan

Where to buy: Available at most grocery stores and Logan retail store at plant location.

Website: http://www.gossner.com

Heber Valley Artisan Cheese

A fourth-generation dairy that produces award-winning fine cheeses.

Location: Midway

Where to buy: Available at most grocery stores

Website: https://hebervalleyartisancheese.com/

Rockhill Creamery

Dairy farm producing raw milk, small-batch cheeses.

Location: Richmond

Where to buy: Harmon’s grocery stores, the Cache Valley Gardeners Market

Website: http://rockhillcheese.com/

Utah State University Aggie Creamery

Choose from three specialty cheese boxes (or twenty-six flavors of ice cream!) made from milk and cream produced at USU’s Caine Dairy.

Location: Logan

Where to buy: Order cheese boxes online or find the ice cream at Lee’s Marketplace grocery stores and the university’s ice cream shop

Website: aggieicecream.usu.edu/htm/products/cheese-boxes