Saturday, July 24, 2010

Prairie Breeze

I'm in Iowa this week, listening to the corn rustle. I came for a high-school reunion and a chance to hang with my pops, but the real treat has been discovering local cheese. I grew up on Maytag Blue, a raw-milk zinger from Newton (made by the same family who manufactured your washer and dryer), but I don't remember any other regional cheesemakers. Now, there are a handful, including Milton Creamery, makers of Prairie Breeze.

You can taste the quality milk in this young cheddar -- it's sweet and nutty with a rich, buttery color, a sign of pasture-grazed cows. I like a sharper, more rustic cheddar, personally, but this has a pleasing taste and enough boldness to sidle up to whole-grain mustard and hearty bread. With its sugary notes, this cheese reminds me of sweet corn.

Milton Creamery launched in 2006 by a Pennsylvania Dutch family, the Mussers. Ma and pa moved to Milton, Iowa with their five kids back in 2002, and they recognized the quality of Amish milk. After four years of experimentation, they released their first cheese, using hormone-free milk from their neighbors. This is a pasteurized cheese; Iowa doesn't permit the sale of raw-milk cheese (too bad), except for Maytag Blue, which was grandfathered in.

I look forward to trying more Milton Creamery cheese, especially their new release, Prairie Rose. In the meantime, I've got plenty of corn on the cob to keep me happy and a cheddar that tastes sweetly of Iowa.

Prairie Breeze is available at farmers' markets around Iowa and from the creamery's web site. I bought my hunk at Wheatsfield Co-op in Ames.

1 comment:

  1. no raw milk, boo ! i just finished my last block of raw gouda from wholesome dairy farms, from a visit there earlier in the week.

    listening to the corn rustle-- i love that.