When you hear of Maytag and Iowa you are probably thinking about washing machines, but that shouldn’t be all you’re thinking about. The Maytag Corporation was an Iowa owned corporation for many years, but some sad mismanagement led to it being forced to sell out and restructure. A public outcry went up over a foreign company buying the proud American product and eventually it was sold to the Whirlpool Corporation.
Although the company shut down was a big blow to the town of Newton, it has come back strong and has a more diversified economy now. The brand continues to be produced and is owned by Whirlpool. Some are still manufactured in state at Amana, Iowa.
Blue Cheese Recipe Traces Back to ISU
In the 1930s, Fred and Robert Maytag inherited the farm from their father and looked for alternative products to increase the value of the milk from their herd of prize winning Holstein show cows on Maytag Dairy farm. They got in touch with the scientists at Iowa State University (ISU – Iowa’s land grant college) and together with the Maytag funding and ISU research they developed a way to make Blue Cheese not from goat milk, but instead from pastured Holstein milk. Commercial production started in 1941 and their patented process has become the standard for use in the American Blue Cheese market today.
https://www.cals.iastate.edu/content/department-animal-science-125th-points-pride (Read the third paragraph down)
Maytag Blue Cheese in Newton, Iowa
While the Maytag appliance company is gone, the Maytag Dairy Farm has remained producing around 1 million pounds of high quality Maytag Blue Cheese each year. The same family started both businesses, but the appliance company had become publicly traded while the dairy is still own by the Maytag family. Their Maytag Blue Cheese is used in many of the best restaurants in the region and available for purchased for your home use (if you don’t want to drive out to the farm take the exit off I-80 with the Jasper County Historical Society – not the one with gigantic race track – and head north up the hill, drive past the restaurants and stop at the convenience store/gas station in the mini-mall on the right hand side of the road, they have a display case of high quality cheese including Maytag Blue Cheese. – I know what it sounds like, but seriously this is the easiest place to get some without driving into Newton proper and they really do have an impressive assortment of various high quality cheeses). You can also enjoy a menu that features Maytag Blue Cheese at the Okiboji Grill restaurant right across the street from the mini-mall. Otherwise you can take the racetrack exit (there is lots of signage and you’ll see the huge structure to the south of I-80) and turn north instead and blue highway signs will direct you to the Maytag Dairy farm. Or you can buy it by mail through their website.
Take a tour around the farm:
NPR’s Story on Maytag Blue Cheese
Cooking With Blue Cheese
Iowa Ingredient, the Iowa Public Television show that produced the video segment above, also did one with an Iowa chef about cooking with Maytag Blue Cheese.
Find the recipe they cook here:
Find recipes from the Maytag Dairy Farm here:
Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation.Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. She is currently acting President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.