April 10, 2023 at 5:30 p.m.
First time being dished to the top
The on-farm processor’s strawberry yogurt bested others in its class to earn the honor presented this week at CheeseCon, which hosted the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest awards banquet and auction in Madison, Wisconsin.
Country View Dairy processes a variety of dairy products roughly 50 feet from where the farm’s 330-cow herd is stalled. Dave and Carolee Rapson began their processing venture in 2011, which now uses milk from about 70 of its cows to create a variety of consumer products. The remaining milk goes to Wapsie Valley Creamery in Independence.
Along with Dave and Carolee, the Rapson sons, Jesse and Seth, are involved in the two businesses of farm and creamery, and daughter Ellie also helps.
In 2017, Country View Dairy’s vanilla yogurt was third in the same contest, and their aronia blackberry Greek yogurt has placed as high as second in the American Cheese Society contest. Their products regularly win awards at the Iowa State Fair. But Bob Howard, Country View Dairy’s director of sales, said this is the creamery’s first best of show in a national competition, at least one of which they enter each year.
“You’re just kind of in your own bubble every day here, and you get out of that a bit entering a contest,” Howard said. “And it’s not just how you place, but the feedback you get.”
Multiple judges evaluated Country View Dairy’s yogurt, saying they liked the flavor and texture.
Country View Dairy’s products are pasteurized but not homogenized, so the yogurt is packaged as a liquid product then placed in the incubation room to let the cream rise to the top.
“You notice the cream on top,” Howard said. “And there are not a lot of cream-top yogurts in the competition.”
Howard said the competition included creameries larger than Country View Dairy, although most are of an artisan nature.
“To me, these are very large companies – not Chobani, but small and mid-sized, and we are very small in comparison,” he said.
It is not only the yogurt from Country View Dairy that remains non-homogenized. Its entire line – traditional Greek yogurt, soft-serve frozen yogurt, sour cream, heavy cream, barista milk, white and chocolate milk and pre-packaged frozen yogurt – is marketed without homogenization to maintain a minimally processed attribute. The milk from the farm is pasteurized at the lowest approved temperature.
Howard said food service, schools and institutions comprise most of Country View Dairy’s business, but their products are also carried in area retail outlets. He said coffee shops like the company’s non-homogenized barista milk because it froths better and lends itself to the microfoam artwork done by some outlets.
Their Greek yogurt is also non-traditional, because it is not strained to create a thicker, higher-protein texture. Instead, Country View Dairy adds milk protein concentrate to accomplish the same thing.
During the coronavirus pandemic, the creamery’s business was under pressure because of its dependence on outlets which closed. That led to the recent debut of pre-packed frozen yogurt for retail sale. Previously, they only produced frozen yogurt mix for use in soft-serve machines.
“We had a long three-year ride to figure out how to make it low-fat but still indulgent,” Howard said. “We worked really hard on the flavor and texture.”
The new yogurt was featured in a Minty Moo flavor at the 2022 Iowa State Fair and was named one of the top 10 new foods at the fair.
Even with a new accolade for its yogurt, Country View Dairy is focused on continuing to expand its use of the farm’s milk to help the farm prosper and continue for the Rapson family.
To Submit an Event Sign in first
No calendar events have been scheduled for today.