Maytag Blue Cheese Is a Product of the Entrepreneurial Spirit of Jasper County Iowa
23 Oct 2020
Jasper County, Iowa is rich with entrepreneurial spirit, and Maytag Dairy Farms embodies that spirit to the fullest. For nearly 80 years, Maytag Dairy Farms, located in Newton, Iowa, has been crafting its world-renowned awarding-winning blue cheese. However, they are not content to live on that legacy alone. Their mindset embraces innovation and continuous improvement.
“2020 is a big year for Maytag Dairy Farms,” said Noreen Otto, chief administration officer, Maytag Dairy Farms. “In June, we were awarded the independent Safe Quality Food certification for our facility which will allow us to bring new partners online. We’re also moving new product development to the forefront, looking to expand our product lines and bring our artisan products to more customers. In the specialty food world, innovation is key as customers are looking for new items and new flavors. This October we’re actually launching a new blue cheese: Maytag Farm Reserve!”
Maytag Farm Reserve is ripened in the rind which adds an additional layer of complex, earthy flavor. This is different from their traditional blue cheese, which has the rind removed. Regardless, the origin of the distinct flavor of every Maytag Blue Cheese is the milk of Holstein cattle from local Iowa dairy farms.
“The flavors of an artisan cheese reflect the location and seasons, just like wine,” said Otto. “Maytag Blue Cheese is made from local milk and every wheel has been ripened in the same caves for decades: our cheese is literally a taste of Jasper County!”
Maytag Farm Reserve was not the only launch in October: they completely redesigned their website. “Our new website will better allow us to handle growing online sales,” said Otto. “Consumers are more comfortable than ever ordering a perishable product online. We have to constantly be upping our level of customer service to meet those expectations, and an updated website is a key way to do that.”
Newton is an ideal location for a shipping-centric business because of the direct access to Interstate 80, the “Main Street of the United States” in terms of traffic volume and travel points from Manhattan to San Francisco.
“In today’s modern marketplace, it's critical we take advantage of all the commerce platforms available — from grocery stores to our online cheese shop to a little specialty store — but all our cheese is shipped over the road via truck at some point,” said Don Boelens, CEO, Maytag Dairy Farms. “Whether it's headed to one of our large retail partners or directly to someone’s front door, accessibility to that trucking infrastructure is critical. You’ll see lots of delivery trucks coming in and out of our facility via I-80 during the holidays!”
Maytag Dairy Farms employs about 80 local people. “We have a strong local workforce from the area,” said Otto. “Our employees work hard and have huge pride in the product they are making and sharing with the rest of the country.”
Maytag Dairy Farms is a perfect example of how adaptability goes hand in hand with innovation. During the spring of the COVID-19 pandemic when in-person business and farm tours were restricted, they used the slight slowdown to work on many projects to improve their business, like the website and expanded product line. According to Otto, their employees were already used to working in a rigorous food safety environment, so they handled additional sanitation and safety protocols with ease.
“The high level of commitment and dedication to craft has defined Maytag from the beginning and continues today,” said Otto. “A premium product like ours inspires people to share that food experience: Maytag Dairy Farms was founded by family and created for friends. We are looking forward to our 80th Anniversary in 2021: but our main focus is on innovation and growth right now!”
Click here to get your own taste of Jasper County from the cheese shop (reopening for in-person November 2nd), find recipes, and explore cheese pairings at Maytag Dairy Farms!
Jasper County is the location of choice for businesses looking for the ideal combination of low-cost real estate, a strong workforce, and great transportation access. With its strong network of state highways, along with Interstate 80 running through the center of the county, businesses have easy access to markets in the Des Moines metro area Iowa and the rest of the country. Click here to find out how Jasper County Economic Development Corporation (JEDCO) can assist with your business’s relocation and expansion needs. Email them at JEDCOIowa@gmail.com or call 641-417-9500. Follow JEDCO on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin!