Words inspired by the backroads of America

The Famous Maytag Blue Cheese

If you happen to be near Des Moines, Iowa, venture 22 miles east to Newton (Exit 164 on US 6 and I-80), and take a few minutes to search out the Maytag Blue Cheese factory, just on the north edge of town.  Now, we had heard of Maytag Blue Cheese, but until our brother-in-law, Tom, introduced us to the gourmet side of designing an entire meal around blue cheese on our recent trip to Amana, Iowa, we would have figured the cheese crumbles found in the local grocery were about as good as it gets.  Let me tell you, as a newly converted aficionado, Maytag will change your whole opinion of blue cheese!  This highly flavorful and mildly pungent wedge is so smooth that it can be enjoyed simply on wheat crackers with a glass of wine. You might actually try a thin slice on a Wheatsworth cracker with a drizzle of honey!

Maytag, established by the son of the Maytag Appliance Company founder in the early 1900’s as a dairy farm, produced and bottled milk from their award-winning herd of Holsteins.  Intrigued by Iowa State University’s new process of producing Roquefort cheese from cow’s milk rather from the traditional sheep’s milk, Fred Maytag converted the farm’s bottling plant into a cheese factory and in 1941 began producing an American Blue Cheese.  Many awards and kudos later, the Maytag Dairy Farm is still producing America’s best blue cheese, by hand, in the original factory and hillside caves where the process began 67 years ago.  The company has been quietly creating and selling their product, without advertising or a sales staff, and has managed to keep their family-owned company personal and friendly.  Stopping in near closing hour on a Saturday morning, we were treated to a personal visit and tour of their sales facility by their energetic president, Verna Ver Ploeg. 
It’s possible now to buy Maytag Blue Cheese through their web site, but if you are anywhere near Newton, Iowa, it’s a treat to experience the friendliness and sincerity of the Maytag employees and to see the small quality company that produces the country’s best blue cheese.  You can also take home a supply to give to all of your friends and neighbors for 40 - 50% less than ordering and having it shipped.  Trust me, they will be impressed!

Maytag Dairy Farm’s Famous Blue Cheese: www.maytagblue.com
: Take exit 164 (Iowa 14, US 6) at Newton, 2 mi. north, turn east at intersection of F36 and Iowa 14 and follow the Maytag signs.