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Gossners Food: Next Stop on Our Cheesy Adventure

Gossner

What started out as a little Swiss cheese making plant in 1966, has turned into an industry-leading family business that is one of the country’s largest Swiss cheese manufacturers. Gossner Foods offers several varieties of Swiss cheese, ranging from a mild Baby Swiss to the full-bodied flavor of their European- Style Old World Swiss. They also produce shelf-stable milk in a variety of flavors, small batches of specialty ice cream, butter, and whipping cream.

350 dairy farm families operate the 190 dairy farms in Utah and Idaho that service Gossner Foods’ two plants (Logan, UT and Burley, ID). Owner and CEO, Dolores Wheeler, has always operated on the “handshake” principle. She doesn’t have contracts with her farmers but believes in mutual trust and respect, feeling that if the relationship is good it will grow and prosper, if not, then the farmer is under no binding obligation. The philosophy has worked well, and the company has a wonderful reputation among the local farming community.

Touring their large, state-of-the-art plant was a great experience and different from our recent cheesy adventures. Because they are a leading Swiss cheese producer, everything was done on a larger scale than our precious tours. Large mixing vats and custom-made equipment are essential to the company’s quality operation.

Making each variety of cheese is a unique process that follows time-proven recipes with specialized equipment and specific aging protocols. Because of this, many large cheese manufacturers specialize in a single variety. Gossner specializes in Swiss and Muenster, a fresher, soft cheese.

The Process of Making Swiss & UHT Milk

After our tour we had the chance to try many of their products at their onsite store. In addition to their Swiss, they offer many other cheese varieties and economy end cuts of cheese at a great price. They also offer homemade ice cream (available only at their Logan store), fresh butter and handmade cheese spreads. At the store you can stock up on shelf-stable milk in a variety of flavors (Chocolate, Strawberry, Vanilla, Rootbeer, Cookies & Cream, Orange Cream, Banana, Mango) and fresh cheese curds – made every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. If you happen to stop by during the holidays, you can pick up a quart of seasonal Holiday Nog – a favorite that sells out quickly!

The Store:

1051 North 1000 West, Logan, UT  84321 | 8:00 am – 6:00 pm Monday through Saturday

Make sure to check out this premium dairy producer!

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NFL QB Alex Smith Inspires Kids Through Utah’s Fuel Up to Play 60 School Assemblies

This fall, all around Utah, NFL Quarterback Alex Smith has made a virtual appearance in our Fuel Up to Play 60 Assemblies. Video chatting with kids from elementary school through Jr. High, Alex interacts with students, Trudy the cow, and our Fuel Up to Play 60 coach, Ashley, to bring great messages and fun into the schools. These assemblies have been a great way to raise awareness about the power of Fuel Up to Play 60, a program started by Utah’s Dairy Farmers through the National Dairy Council and the National Football League.  As the nation’s largest in-school wellness program, Fuel Up to Play 60 is inspiring kids to make changes at their school.

“The messages from the FUTP60 program – being active, eating healthy, and making positive changes in ourselves – are things that everyone can relate to and benefit from. Plus it is so much fun!” – Ashley Huntington (Fuel Up Coach & Dairy Council Events Director)

“We know kids need to eat right and be more active. Moving more and eating right helps kids fight childhood obesity. We’re here to help. We are we engaged in these assemblies, because healthy can be fun! From the video chat with NFL Quarter back Alex Smith, to Trudy Moo the cow showing kids how to dance – even the milk mustache contest with the principal, the kids love it and they learn. Kids are our future and the Fuel Up assemblies teach kids how to have fun while they learn habits for a lifetime.” – Becky Low (Dairy Council Nutrition Education)

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Hormones in Your Food

By Allen Young, Extension Dairy Specialist & Associate Professor Utah State University 

Hormones and their relationship to food are a hot topic, but… What are they? Are they in my food naturally? Are they added to foods? What impact do they have on the body? To answer these questions and understand the impact of hormones, we need to learn a little about them.

The study of hormones is called endocrinology, a term taken from the classical definition of hormones, which states that they are messenger compounds secreted by ductless glands in the body (endocrine glands) that cause an effect on another organ, tissue or cell. In order to be biologically active and do their job properly, each specific hormone needs a very specialized protein located on the organ, tissue, or cell where they have an effect. These are called receptors and their job is to bind the hormone and starts/cause their unique effect.  Think of it as a ball in a mitt.  As individual entities, the two have little effect, but, in baseball, a pop-fly that is caught results in an “out” and a potential cascade of effects. An example of this in action is the hormone insulin. Floating around in the blood stream, insulin is inert but once it binds to an insulin receptor on cells, the compound is able to pull sugar molecules from the bloodstream into the cells. When working properly, this process keeps our blood sugar from getting too high. Extreme problems with this particular hormone/receptor mechanism can be described as diabetes.

Hormones can be categorized into two broad classifications: steroids and protein hormones (amino acids).  Examples of steroid hormones are estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.  Examples of protein hormones include growth hormone, insulin, or prolactin.  The human body produces over 50 hormones and could not function without them.

In addition to the hormones your body makes, there are other sources of hormones. Animals and plants produce hormones naturally, so we eat hormones in our food all the time, but the amounts we take in are low compared to what our bodies produce naturally.  Let’s use estrogen as an example.

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What happens when you give synthetic hormones to animals and then eat the meat or milk?  Basically the story is the same as above.  Any hormone you eat will be totally or partially degraded in the stomach (protein hormones) or the liver (steroids).  In the case of bovine somatotrophin (bovine growth hormone often abbreviated as rbST), not only is it degraded in the stomach, but the structure and receptors in humans won’t work with the bovine (cow) version of the hormone.  This hormone is species specific and inert in humans.What effect does ingesting these hormones have on our body?  The short answer is that only about 2-5% of the hormones we eat actually make it into our body because of inactivation during digestion. Of the protein hormones that we eat, essentially all of the hormone is broken down in the stomach and has no effect.  Steroids get inactivated as they pass through the liver.  When eaten in normal, moderate amounts, dietary hormones have essentially no effect on our body and its ability to do its job.

So, should you be concerned?  Probably not.  Our bodies produce the same hormones that we routinely ingest in food but in amounts that tend to dwarf the amounts we eat.  Normal intake of these foods should not have any effect on the body since the stomach and liver inactivate hormones through natural digestion. As in all dietary practices, moderation is key since excessive consumption of any one food can throw the body out of balance.

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Cheesy Adventure: Gold Creek Farms

Next stop on my Cheesy Adventure…Gold Creek Farms

by Megan Ostler, MS RD – Dairy Council of Utah/Nevada

Just 45 minutes from bustling Salt Lake City, UT, Gold Creek Ranch is a quiet, enchanting place tucked in amongst the tree-lined roads of the small town of Kamas.

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Winding my way to the farm, I passed a small herd of Brown Swiss Cows – the lifeblood of dairy’s hand-crafted artisan cheeses. All of Gold Creek’s cheeses are produced from this small herd of cows, and they are also sourcing a lot of the ingredients for their specialty cheeses right on the farm by raising pigs and growing herbs.  The small farm is committed to sustainable practices and self sufficiency – leftovers from local restaurants and distillery grain provide feed for the animals, and whey (a byproduct of cheese making) is a nutrient-rich source of food for their pigs.

Cold Creek Farm Cows

I slowly passed the barn, smiling at the curiosity of the cows that came to greet me and then went inside the main barn where the magic happens. The sitting room was cozy with a wonderful smell of fresh cheese and cedar wood. I immediately noticed the wall full of awards and the windows looking in on the demonstration kitchen.

Gold Creek Barn
Gold Creek LobbyI was sitting there taking it all in when Fernando came to greet me. Fernando is Gold Creek’s head cheese maker and has been with the farm since 2010. He told me a little about how he got started with cheese. Working as a gourmet chef, Fernando first met owners, Alan and Debbie Gold as their caterer. They quickly hit it off and Fernando was hired to be a full time cheese maker. Like most of the Utah’s local cheese makers, Fernando sought the council of Utah State University’s cheese making classes. With his background as a chef and some basic cheese making skills, Fernando had the foundation he needed to begin crafting and creating unique, award winning cheeses.

One of the farm’s most acclaimed cheeses is a smoked cheddar, and he credits the inspiration for this cheese to his wife, Ashley, whose secret smoking method launched this cheese to greatness. In 2012, their smoked cheddar won “Best in Class” and their smoked parmesan was “Second in Class” at the World Championship Cheese Competition. It has now become their signature cheese and trade secret.

Gold Creek Farms

Fernando then took me on a tour of the facility. As we walked along and he explained his process, his passion shined through. He explained that each batch of cheese is crafted by hand without special equipment. The milk from their cows changes with the seasons, so each batch is a little different. He said he makes cheese like he cooks and compared it to homemade cooking versus commercial cooking with set recipes and checkpoints.

Gold Creek Cheese-Aging

Fernando’s first batch of cheese, pictured in the left corner, continues to get better with age.

After touring, I was able to taste. It was incredible and I quickly understood the wall of awards. I don’t normally like smoked foods, but the smoked cheddar and parmesan had the perfect amount and the cheese flavor was still prominent. I also tried some of the fun flavors like the drunken cheddar, cumin seed, and bacon chive. I asked what Fernando’s favorite was and he said it changed but it was currently their blue cheese, a recent addition to their repertoire, and it was exceptional. After eating more cheese then the dietitian in me would like to admit, I packed up my things and set off down the winding roads, past the herbs, the pigs, and the cows, excited to share this local treasure.

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Take a virtual visit to Gold Creek Farms where you can shop online and taste for yourself.

Stay tuned for more Cheesy Adventures as our profiles of Utah cheese makers continues…

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Throw Back Thursday #LoveOfPlay

In honor of Throw Back Thursday #TBT and the Love of Play campaign, our staff wanted to show our love of play from when we were kids. Although we may not be playing the same way, we still love to get out and play.

Ashley

From a very young age, I was extremely competitive.  I even told my recreation soccer coach that she was a really nice lady, but she didn’t know anything about soccer. I was about seven. Competitive, tackless, and cute; your standard triple threat.

 Ashley-Love of Play

Jen

All growing up, I used to play in every sport possible and loved to compete against the boys! Baseball was one of the many sports that kept me active.

JH Love of Play

 

Becky

This was a4th of July parade, that’s me sitting on the float (about 5 yrs old). I was supposed to be Statue of Liberty pulled by Uncle Sam, my brother. We loved to play parade and would dress up and march up and down the street for each other (and anyone else who would watch us). If we did not have spectators we would take turns being the crowd and would cheer as the parade passed.

Becky Love of Play

 

Tim

Here is my favorite pic of me as a kid “playing.” I mostly liked to do anything outdoors. I never wanted to be inside, always had to be out exploring what nature had to offer. My favorite thing to do as a child was horseback riding, which led to my passion for horses and rodeos today.

Tim Love of Play

 

Debbie

When I was 3 years old, I moved with my family to Iran…….yes, the country. We lived in a beautiful home in Isfahan, which is about an hours’ drive from Tehran, with maids and a cook and gardners, etc.  We even had a swimming pool and a few cows on our compound – life was good.  However, since we children usually only had each other to play with, we sometimes got creative and played dress up.  Costumes were unheard of – everyone used old clothes from their parents or thrift shops to creatively put together a “look”.  As you can see, our mother helped with the make-up part of our costumes and we were pretty proud of our accomplishments!

Deb Love of Play

That’s me in the middle

 

Kristi

I didn’t grow up on a farm, but I did have a horse! Crafted by my father, “Woody” was my first birthday present.  I enjoyed many a “giddy-ups” and though I have long outgrown my little wooden rocking horse, he is reliving his youth (as am I) through my one-year-old son.

 

Kristi Love of Play

Aiden 2014————————- Kristi 1980

 

 

Megan

 

I have always loved the outdoors. As a child I could be found climbing trees, play sports on the grass, swimming at the pool, or helping my mother garden. I used to dress up and pretend to be a garden princess watering my flowers. Now that I am grown up, I climb mountains instead of trees and still love to be outdoors. I can often be found gardening, without the hat and tutu.

Meg Love of Play

 

The Love of Play campaign was developed by The National Dairy Council (NDC), NFL, and Quaker to help encourage kids to eat well and play hard. Don’t forgot to show your #LoveOfPlay from September 9- October 17. For more information check out the FUTP60 website. 

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Cheesy Adventure: Aggie Creamery

Our Aggie Spoils

Our Cheesy Adventures continued with a stop at the Aggie Creamery on the gorgeous Utah State Campus, where we met with Don McMahon and Steve Shelton. The creamery, known for incredible ice cream, is also a small scale cheese making facility, focused mostly on teaching. Undergraduates can learn food science and processing and graduate students can utilize the facility for research. They also feature community classes for those interested in making cheese. They offer 2 classes a year 1 basic and 1 advanced. The basic goes over how to make cheddar, mozzarella, and monterey jack. The advanced class goes into different flavors and techniques. These classes are where many of our local cheese artisans cheddared their first batch of cheese. In fact Beehive Cheese, Gold Creek Farms, Rockhill Cheese, and Heber Valley Artisan Cheese learned here and are now making award-winning cheese.

After learning about the history, we went on a tour of the facility, which featured their machines for pasteurizing and homogenizing milk, making cheese (non- homogenized), and making ice cream (homogenized milk)

Aggie Cheese MachinesAggie Ice Cream Machines

Then of course we ate yummy cheese and ice cream. Along with their yummy cheese curds we also tried the following:

  • Old Ephraim Smokey Swiss : A processed cheese made from swiss cheese with a mild smokey hint along with great swiss flavor.
  • Big Blue Cheese Spread: A creamy spreadable cheese made with cream and Blue cheese. It was delicious on crackers.
  • Old Juniper Cheese: Aged for more than a year for a sharp mature cheese with a rich flavor. Great for sharp cheese lovers.
  • Crimson Trail Cheese: A processed cheddar cheese flavored with jalepeños. This cheese has some serious kick and would be wonderful on nachos.
  • White Pine: A vintage white cheddar cheese aged for 2 years. One of our favorites.

Aggie CheeseIf you have never tried their cheese, be sure to pick up a block with your next ice cream purchase. Aggie cheese is especially popular around the holidays and makes delicious gifts. Tours are also open to the public. Check out their website for more information and see where the magic happens first hand.

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#LoveOfPlay

The National Dairy Council (NDC), NFL, and Quaker have teamed up to help encourage kids to eat well and play hard. The Love of Play campaign encourages kids and the adults who care about them to get up and get active for 60 minutes of play a day. From September 9- October 17, students and adults can get active and win prizes such as a day of play with Colts queaterback Andrew Luck or daily chances to win $50 NFL Gift Cards.

This campaign is part of Fuel Up to Play 60 (FUTP60), the nation’s largest in- school wellness program. Are you a FUTP60 member? If not join today and help make positive changes in your school. Already a member? Get the whole school involved by implementing a Physical Activity Play and logging it on your Fuel Up to Play Dashboard to earn up to 7,500 points.

This campaign is all about sharing. If you are 13 years of older, share how you are playing with #LoveOfPlay or have a parent/adult share for you. Your whole family can show how they play and enter to win. To learn more visit the FUTP60 website.  Get involved and help keep kids moving for a healthier generation.

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