Bongards' cheddar from Perham wins at Minnesota State Fair Butter and Cheese Contest

Justin Larson of Perham's Bongards won the Cheddar Barrel Cheese category at the Minnesota State Fair. All winning cheeses are available by auction.

Bongards still6.jpg
(Forum News Service file photo)
Perham Focus file photo
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FALCON HEIGHTS — Minnesota-based dairy processors and creameries — including Perham's Bongards — came out in full force, showing off their craft during the Minnesota State Fair Butter and Cheese Contest.

This year, 13 butter and cheesemakers entered 71 products in five categories in the contest. Entries were evaluated on a scale of one to 100. Justin Larson of Perham's Bongards won the Cheddar Barrel Cheese category with a score of 99.183.

Other winners include:

  • Continuous Churn Butter: Holly Ulrich of AMPI, New Ulm, Minn., with a score of 99.100
  • Cheddar Block Cheese: Timothy Stearns of Land O’Lakes, Kiel, Wis., with a score of 98.683
  • Miscellaneous Cheese: MJ Smoke Cheddar Power by Shane Dell of First District Association (FDA), Litchfield, Minn., with a score of 99.000
  • Artisan Cheese: Plain Chevre from Stickney Hill Dairy, Cold Spring, Minn., with a score of 99.083
  • Cheddar Barrel Cheese: Justin Larson of Bongards, Perham, with a score of 99.183

The full list of winners can be viewed online.

For the second year, the public has the opportunity to take home a taste of these award-winning, Minnesota-made butter and cheeses, which are on display in the cooler near the butter-sculpting booth in the State Fair’s Dairy Building.


From a half-pound rolled cranberry and cinnamon chevre to a 20-pound block of butter to a 42-pound chunk of Cheddar, about 50 entries in this year’s Butter and Cheese Contest will be auctioned off to the highest bidders to fund dairy student scholarships through Upper Midwest Dairy Industry Association, a nonprofit industry group.

Online bidding is open during the run of the State Fair at Fahey Sales Auctioneers and Appraisers . The public can view the top five winners in each category in the Dairy Building from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Aug. 25 through Sept. 4, and from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Sept. 5.

Winning bidders can pick up their products at the Dairy Building on Sept. 6 or arrange for shipping via the Fahey website.

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