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Cheesemakers begin competition for national title

2023 U.S. Cheese Competition Judging
Posted at 5:49 PM, Feb 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-21 21:09:34-05

GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — Today began the 2023 United States Championship Cheese Contest held in Green Bay.

Now through Thursday, February 23, 2,249 kinds of cheese, yogurts, butter, and other dry dairy products will be evaluated by a skilled team of nationally renowned judges.

The two preliminary rounds of judging, are open to the public at the Resch Expo Center with samples available.

This year, a total of 2,249 entries have been submitted across 113 classes by cheesemakers from 35 states.

Cheesemakers dating back serval generations have all traveled to uphold their family name. Darrell Demeter is a fifth-generation cheese maker who is hoping to make his family proud with his submissions.

“Seeing my dad making cheese and winning his awards made me really want to continue with that family name and growing up seeing that really put the wind in my sail,” said Demeter.

While Darell hopes his cheese is good enough to make the cut, Terry Lensmire has seen his time in the competition, but now, prefers to stick to taste testing, in and out of the competition.

“Oh yes, my family hates me for it, anytime we are out, I always smell the cheese and then do what I do here, and my wife is always like ‘don’t do that’ but I can't stop, it's just how I am,” said Lensmire.

States such as California, Ohio, Texas and of course Wisconsin are all represented as they race to be this year's champion.