Northern New York Produces World Class Dairy Products - Great New York State Fair Photo.png

The dairy industry is a vital part of New York state’s economy and its leading agricultural sector. Our nearly 3,600 dairy producers supply more than 15-billion pounds of milk annually, accounting for about one-half of New York’s total agricultural income and making New York the nation’s fourth largest dairy state.

The dairy community in New York is composed of both large dairy operations and small, family-run farms, as well as processing facilities that range in type and size from trans-national food processing conglomerates to small, artisanal dairy-product-makers.

The dairy industry is a vital part of the state’s economy and its leading agricultural sector. Our nearly 3,600 dairy producers supply more than 15-billion pounds of milk annually, accounting for about one-half of New York’s total agricultural income and making New York the nation’s fourth largest dairy state.

What’s more, the milk and milk products they produce are consistently top-notch.


According to Cornell University’s Department of Food Science, Stewart’s Shops sells the best milk in New York. On Sept. 1, the family- and employee-owned company was honored with gold at the 2022 Dairy Products Competition during the Dairy Day celebration at The Great New York State Fair. The University initiated the awards program in 1997, as part of Cornell’s New York State Milk Quality Improvement Program, which serves as the state’s official judging group.

The key to producing prize-winning milk is freshness. and Stewart’s, which operates more than 350 shops across New York and southern Vermont, employing more than 4,500 people, guarantees that the milk at all of their convenience stores is picked up daily from — and sold to consumers within days of leaving — the farms producing it.

Vertical integration from the farm to their stores to your table allows Stewart’s to offer the highest-quality milk possible, by avoiding the ultra-high temperature (UHT; 280°F / 138°C) process used by most larger-scale milk distributors. The UHT process allows milk to remain shelf-stable for up to six months, but also causes milk to lose a lot of its natural flavor and goodness.

Pasteurization is a conventional disinfection method. The high temperatures destroy harmful microbes, such as bacteria and viruses. Stewart’s Shops milk is pasteurized for safety in the traditional way (161°F / 72°C), at the peak of freshness.


Dairy Day at the State Fair also featured awards for cheese products from New York-certified cheese processors. and Cabot Creamery Cooperative took 1st Place awards for both their Sharp Cheddar and their New York Extra Sharp Cheddar, which received an Award of Excellence, as well.

Cabot Creamery Cooperative also earned the title of Grand Champion for their Horseradish Cheddar — a cheese the Cooperative describes as a “skillfully-blended, lactose-free cheese that loves to be melted on an old-fashioned hamburger or served with gourmet cranberry chutney. Perhaps the simplest way to enjoy it is layered on a ham sandwich.”


At this year’s Dairy Products Competition, Meier’s Artisan Pepper Flavored Cheese won gold in the Farmstead Open Class. Meier’s Smoked Cheddar took silver. and their Beer Mustard Flavored Cheese won an Award of Excellence. Meier Alpine Style Cheese took gold in the Farmstead/Artisan Cow’s Milk Hard Cheese Class.

Artisanal cheese is handmade cheese produced in limited quantities, by skilled crafts-persons, using only the highest-quality ingredients and traditional methods. and Daniel Meier Sr. is a true aficionado, an artisan cheesemaker who knows cheeses and enjoys bringing old world flavor to modern cheese-lovers.

Since 2011, Meier has carefully overseen every aspect of cheese-making at Meier’s Artisan Cheese in Fort Covington: a dairy farm and artisan cheese plant that maintains the highest standards for making superior cheeses. His focus has always been on quality, not quantity.

Meier grew up in Switzerland, and he learned his craft in the village of Geltwil, an agricultural community in the northern part of that country. When he came to New York’s North Country, he brought his knowledge of cheese-making with him. He’s proud to be the proprietor of a small, family-owned and operated cheese plant that uses only the milk from his family’s herd of Holstein and Jersey cows to craft award-winning, high-quality cheese.

Meier’s Artisan Cheese is an Adirondack Harvest member-farm. Adirondack Harvest is a program of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Essex County and is funded in part by membership dues, private donations, county funding, and state and federal grants.


Cow’s milk is loaded with nutrition. One cup (8 ounces) of 2% cow’s milk contains 8 grams of protein (about 1/3 of an adult’s daily protein requirement) along with 4 grams of fat and 12 grams of carbohydrates. It’s also a healthy source of calcium, which helps keep your bones strong; vitamin B12, which plays an essential role in red blood cell formation, cell metabolism, nerve function, and the production of DNA (the molecules inside cells that carry genetic information); and potassium, an essential mineral that has a very important role in the regulation of blood pressure and the function of muscles and nerves.

— Richard L. Gast, Extension Program Educator II: Horticulture, Natural Resources, Energy; Agriculture Programs Assistant (retired); Cornell Cooperative Extension of Franklin County. 355 West Main St., Suite 150, Malone, 12953. Call 483-7403, fax 483-6214 or email

Trending Video

Recommended for you