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Arethusa Farm Takes Home Top Title at US Cheese Championship

From left: Judge Tim Czmowski holding the First Runner-Up, Vintage Cupola American Original Cheese; Judge Jim Mueller holding the 2023 U.S. Champion, Europa by Arethusa Family Farms; and Director of Logistics Randy Swensen holding Second Runner-Up, a Medium Cheddar by Associated Milk Producers Inc..

After two days of competition, an aged gouda has been named the 2023 United States Champion Cheese. Europa from Arethusa Farm Dairy in Bantam, Connecticut took home the top honor with an impressive score of 98.739 out of 100. Europa beat out 2,249 entries from 197 dairy companies and cooperatives across 35 U.S. states.

First runner-up, with a score of 98.613, is Vintage Cupola American Original Cheese, a hard raw milk cheese made by Door Artisan Cheese Company of Egg Harbor, Wisconsin for Red Barn Family Farms in Appleton, Wisconsin. The second runner-up position was awarded to a Medium Cheddar made by Dillon Sylla for Associated Milk Producers Inc. of Blair, Wisconsin with a score of 98.554.

A speechless Eric Schmid accepted the award via Zoom on Arethusa’s behalf. Schmid giggled in shock, “Oh my god, oh wow. I’m speechless… my heart’s pounding.”

In true cheesemaker fashion, Schmid gave credit to the cows (and of course his hard-working team of cheesemakers). “We get our milk from five local producers, including our own milk on the farm. I owe it to the great farming practices local to us.”

In a 2020 profile on destination dairies, culture spoke to Arethusa Farm co-owners Anthony Yurgaitis and George Malkemus about what drove them to start Arethusa and the inspiration for its stunning buildings and landscapes. “Our motto is, ‘Milk like it used to taste,’ and the aesthetic of our buildings tends to mirror that approach,” said Yurgaitis. The two met on the New York fashion scene in the 1970s and ran the Manolo Blahnik shoe brand (of Sex and the City fame) for many years.

Top 20 Finalists

Class 2: Cheddar, Medium (Three to Six Months)
Cheese Name: Cheddar
Maker: Dillon Sylla
Company: Associated Milk Producers Inc.
Location: Blair, Wisconsin

Class 4: Cheddar, Aged One to Two Years
Cheese Name: Cracker Barrel Aged Reserve Cheddar
Maker: Manufactured by Agropur – Weyauwega
Company: Lactalis Heritage Dairy
Location: Weyauwega, Wisconsin

Class 6: Traditional Waxed Cheddar, Mild to Medium
Cheese Name: Roelli Haus Select Cheddar
Maker: Team Roelli
Company: Roelli Cheese
Location: Shullsburg, Wisconsin

Class 8: Natural Rinded Cheddar
Cheese Name: Lucky Linda Clothbound Cheddar
Maker: Redhead Creamery
Company: Redhead Creamery
Location: Brooten, Minnesota

Class 12: Baby Swiss Style
Cheese Name: Baby Swiss Wheel, Rindless
Maker: DV Team 2
Company: Guggisberg Cheese
Location: Millersburg, Ohio

Class 13: Swiss Style Cheese
Cheese Name: Founder 56 Emmentaler Swiss
Maker: James Yoder
Company: Rothenbuhler Cheesemakers
Location: Middlefield, Ohio

Class 19: Provolone, Mild
Cheese Name: Mild Provolone Cheese
Maker: Cuba Team 3
Company: Great Lakes Cheese
Location: Cuba, New York

Class 23: Parmesan
Cheese Name: Organic Copper Kettle Parmesan
Maker: Team Lake Country Dairy
Company: Schuman Cheese
Location: Turtle Lake, Wisconsin

Class 38: Gouda, Aged
Cheese Name: Europa
Maker: Arethusa Cheese Team
Company: Arethusa Farm Dairy
Location: Bantam, Connecticut

Class 45: Washed Rind/Smear Ripened Semi-soft Cheeses
Cheese Name: Whitney
Maker: Jasper Hill Farm
Company: Jasper Hill Farm
Location: Greensboro Bend, Vermont

Class 47: Pepper Flavored Monterey Jack, Mild Heat
Cheese Name: Pepper Jack
Maker: Juan Torres
Company: Glanbia Nutritionals
Location: Twin Falls, Idaho

Class 48: Pepper Flavored Monterey Jack, Medium Heat
Cheese Name: Ghost Pepper Jack
Maker: Jim Falls Cheese Team
Company: Associated Milk Producers Inc.
Location: Jim Falls, Wisconsin

Class 54: Open Class: Semi-soft Cheeses
Cheese Name: Cello Fontal
Maker: Lake Country Dairy
Company: Schuman Cheese
Location: Turtle Lake, Wisconsin

Class 55: Open Class: Hard Cheeses
Cheese Name: Vintage Cupola American Original Cheese
Maker: Team Door Artisan Cheese Company
Company: Red Barn Family Farms
Location: Egg Harbor, Wisconsin

Class 56: Open Class: Cheeses with Natural Rind
Cheese Name: St. Malachi
Maker: Team Doe Run
Company: The Farm at Doe Run
Location: Coatesville, Pennsylvania

Class 59: Open Class: Hard Cheeses, Flavored
Cheese Name: Rumiano Pepato Dry Jack
Maker: Rumiano Cheese
Company: Rumiano Cheese
Location: Crescent City, California

Class 77: Hard Goat’s Milk Cheeses
Cheese Name: Hootenanny
Maker: Goat Rodeo Team
Company: Goat Rodeo Farm & Dairy
Location: Allison Park, Pennsylvania

Class 83: Hard Sheep’s Milk Cheeses
Cheese Name: Sweet Annie
Maker: Landmark Creamery
Company: Landmark Creamery
Location: Belleville, Wisconsin

Class 86: Soft & Semi-soft Mixed Milk Cheeses
Cheese Name: Breezy Blue
Maker: Kingston Cheese Team
Company: Kingston Creamery
Location: Cambria, Wisconsin

Class 88: Hard Mixed Milk Cheeses
Cheese Name: Wegmans Three Milk Gouda
Maker: Todd Pontius
Company: Old Chatham Creamery
Location: Groton, New York

For a complete list of gold, silver, and bronze medalists by class click here.

Josie Krogh

Josie Krogh is culture's Digital Strategy Lead. She earned her master's degree in Agricultural and Applied Economics from The University of Georgia. Josie developed a love of food while working at farmstands in the D.C. area as a young adult, and discovered her love of cheese while living and working on a dairy farm on Martha's Vineyard. She is passionate about the food supply chain, fresh stone fruit, and dogs. Josie currently lives in Catskill, NY.

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