Berkey Creamery products nab top awards at national dairy product contest

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — While the Penn State Berkey Creamery has been famous for its ice cream for decades, it is now gaining national recognition for other dairy products, as well.

At this year’s World Dairy Expo Championship Dairy Product Contest, the creamery earned two first-place awards for its butter pecan ice cream and black raspberry frozen yogurt. It also brought home a third-place trophy in the sharp cheddar category. Last year — the creamery’s first time entering the contest — it won first place for its chocolate milk.

Tom Davis, Berkey Creamery manager, said the honors are a true testament to the high quality of its products beyond just ice cream.

“We are very proud of our ice cream and the fact that our butter pecan received top honors in its category,” Davis said. “But it’s also immensely gratifying to be recognized for our frozen yogurt and sharp cheddar cheese this year, in addition to our chocolate milk last year, proving we’re more than ice cream. It’s a testimony to our dedicated employees who craft and manufacture these products.”

The contest, sponsored annually by the Wisconsin Dairy Products Association, is unique as the only contest in North America that includes all types of dairy products. Cheese, butter, yogurt, ice cream, cottage cheese, fluid milk, whipping cream, sour cream and whey processors can all be entered. Top manufacturers from across the continent, such as Land O’Lakes and Cabot Creamery Cooperative, enter regularly.

A culmination of team effort

Davis credits many variables for the Creamery’s success. For example, while many companies produce ice cream that is between 10% and 12% butterfat, the ice cream from the creamery is 14%, giving it a creamier texture. Additionally, recipes and processes are constantly evaluated and tweaked to improve the products on a continuous basis.

But perhaps most importantly, the creamery staff notes, is the years of experience and teamwork that have played the key roles on the road to success.

While Terry Grove, dairy products processor for ice cream; Bill Kurtz, dairy products processor for milk pasteurization; and Bob Rosenberry, dairy products processor for cultured products, run the processes for making the past two years’ award-winning products, the three of them all agree. It’s a team effort.

“Our teams are together every day, relying on each other’s expertise as we continue to test and improve our products,” said the three, who combined have more than 100 years of experience in the dairy business. “We’re like an engine — we all play a key part to have it run smoothly. The entire team takes pride in keeping the tradition of the creamery going as we also help prepare the next generation of employees and experts.”

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