Organic Valley Offers New Kingdom Cheese
Cooperation Among Cooperatives: Product Spotlight
By Jessica Morel, Organic Valley Co-op
Cooperatives have always been about…well…cooperation. Kingdom Organic Cheddar, La Montanita’s newest offering in premium imported cheese, is the result of an emerging partnership among two organic family farm dairy cooperatives; one in the US, the other in Great Britain.
Hundreds of years ago, farmers in the Somerset area of Southwest England began aging cheese in the limestone caves of a deep gorge in their region. They named this delicious sharp cheese after the village at the bottom of that gorge: Cheddar. Through the centuries, dairy farmers and cheese makers in this region have honed their skills to introduce distinctive English Cheddar to shoppers around the world.
English organic dairy farmers were frustrated, though, because the slight differences in the organic regulations between the US and the European Union prevented them from being able to market a quality organic English Cheddar to shoppers in the US. All of that changed when the United States and Europe negotiated an agreement in 2012 that set up a procedure to allow EU organic products into the US if those products could be verified to meet the USDA organic Standards.
Dairy farmers belonging to England’s major organic milk cooperative went to work to start creating a pool of milk that complied with the USDA standards so that they could make a quality cheddar for the American marketplace. The Kingdom Cheddar they produced has won accolades from cheese experts around the world. The creamy texture with notes of fresh, green grass, make Kingdom a perfect cheese for entertaining, recipes, or just for an afternoon snack.
English organic dairy farmers knew they needed a solid partner in the U.S. to bring that premium cheddar to the marketplace. They reached out to their fellow organic dairy farmers who owned Organic Valley Co-op, the most established organic dairy brand in the United States. The partnership forged among these two cooperatives is allowing the British organic dairy farmers to bring their premium, heritage cheddar to La Montanita through the network of Organic Valley.
Richard Hampton, the head of the British organic cooperative that produces Kingdom Cheddar, said, “Our farmers are very proud of the bold, distinctive premium heritage cheddar that they help produce. By connecting with our fellow organic farmers at Organic Valley, we have developed the ability to bring our unique products to shoppers in New Mexico and elsewhere around the United States.”