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Cheddar for Credit: Products of the Cornell Cheese Club


In the Cheese Talk column of our autumn 2014 issue, we profiled some of the colleges around the country running their own dairy plants and hiring student cheesemakers, including Cornell University. At Cornell, student interns are cutting curds and manually flipping blocks of “future cheese,” as described by the president of the Cornell Cheese Club, Elizabeth Freedman, but, as she points out in her article for the Cornell Daily Sun, they’re not just there for the hard labor and course credit:

“The mission of the CCC is to promote learning about the production, traditions and appreciation of cheese and fermented dairy products. With that goal in mind, we host a variety of events where participants can appreciate cheese as both a food and as an important product of history and culture. “

Big Red was the college’s first original cheese and was unveiled on Halloween in 2012. At first, only 30 wheels of cheddar could be made at a time, but according to Rob Ralyea, the Dairy Extension associate in the food production laboratory, they quickly outgrew their equipment. A new manual cheese press was ordered that could accommodate 88 wheels at once, so that the dairy could meet the skyrocketing demand for Big Red. Aged for 6 months, the cheddar has a hard consistency and pleasantly salty taste.  Approximately 2,400 pounds of Big Red Cheddar is served per year at the campus and online store.  

A.D. White Cheddar is the latest cheese to come out of the Cornell Dairy Plant. The A.D. stands for Andrew Dickson, named after the University’s founder. Unlike it’s Big Red peer, it is only aged for 3 months, and is generally softer and more mild. 

Both cheeses are available for purchase through Cornell University either at The Dairy Bar or through their online store. If you’re interested in more student made cheese, check out our list of other university-made cheese shops.

Jamie Ditaranto

Jamie Ditaranto is a senior at Emerson College and an online editorial intern for culture, who enjoys writing, photography, and travel. She finds a way to sneak cheese into just about every meal and is a sucker for free samples.