The following blog on PICS – Price Chopper Cheddar was written by Ellie Wilson, MS, RDN and Senior Nutritionist at Price Chopper. It was originally featured on the Price Chopper blog earlier this month.

“At Price Chopper and Market 32, we know one thing – ensuring the highest quality in our brands brings enjoyment to our customers and communities. After 80 years in the food business, one thing has remained constant – working with our local agricultural producers is a great way to deliver on that promise. Our PICS long process, naturally aged, award winning cheddar is a great example.

Did you know – the most popular cheese in America is cheddar? This spring, I visited our partners at Great Lakes Cheese Company, located in Adams, NY –  the heart of New York dairy country.  This company is responsible for creating this wonderful cheese. Our friends at the American Dairy Association Northeast joined me as I saw firsthand how hard they work to make it.

They have been here over 40 years, and are committed to the New York North Country, so much so that they doubled production capacity in 2009.

They are true experts that have crafted their process over time, they make four types here – mild, sharp, Vermont-style and extra sharp New York cheddar cheese. They also process the whey protein as part of sustainability efforts and for new product ingredient markets.

John Jennings, Plant Manager for over 40 years, and Nathan Pistner, Assistant Plant Manager, were proud to show us the inner workings of this modern facility and introduce us to some of their 122 employees. There is a lot of workmanship in this cheese – over 300 years of combined expertise!

By the numbers, they receive 250,000 gallons of high-quality milk from local dairy farms like Murcrest Farms per day, which becomes over 87 million pounds of cheese per year (Cheese heaven, according to our group!).

The farms they work with must meet high standards for cow care. Like the farms, this is a 24- hour, 365 days per year operation – cows don’t take any days off. They also use all natural ingredients and move the cheese through the process using air, to protect the curd integrity and texture. These steps ensure a premium, reliable, delicious cheese on your table every time!

The tour showcased the work and time that goes into making this cheddar.  There are quality tests built into every step that continues throughout the entire year of aging. Once they have the cheese in production and process the whey, they turn the remaining liquid back into clean water that helps keep the plant clean – another sustainability process they are very committed to. Tradition and technology are part of making sure they are serving their own communities and partners well.

Great Lakes cheese

You will be sure to enjoy these wonderful cheddars, as a great snack, or as part of a new recipe – check out the links below for some delicious ideas!”

Mini Apple Pies with Cheddar

Courtesy of EatingWell®