Stewarts Shops Wins 'Best Milk in New York State' Honor

Published in CSP Daily News

Earns perfect score from Cornell University's Department of Food Science

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- Stewart's Shops has been recognized for having the best milk in the state of New York, earning a perfect score for a second time. The distinction has been awarded by Cornell University's Department of Food Science, and was officially announced at the New York State Fair during its Dairy Day events on August 26.

The award is part of Cornell's New York State Milk Quality Improvement Program. Since Cornell first began its awards program in 1997, there have only been four perfect scores from eligible plants, two of which have now been earned by Stewart's Shops. The other perfect score was awarded in 2007. Stewart's milk also took first place (gold) in 2005 and 2008.

Wendt's Dairy and Byrne Dairy earned perfect scores in 2004 and 2011, respectively.

Stewart's Shops prides itself in processing fresh, quality milk at its dairy in Greenfield Center. That milk is produced by more than 30 local dairy farmers from Saratoga, Rensselaer and Washington Counties, and it is on Stewart's store shelves within 48 hours of leaving the farm, the company said.

"As a family and employee-owned company, we all take pride in an award like this," said Stewart's president Gary Dake, "We care for our milk every step of the way. From our local farms to our own dairy, everyone strives to provide our customers fresh, high quality milk that we can now say is the best in the state."

The university collected samples from New York State plants between July 2012 and July 2013. The samples of whole milk, 2%, 1%, and skim milk were scored on criteria ranging from bacteria counts, flavor and butterfat content.

The selection of the best milk in the state is part of New York State's Milk Quality Improvement Program, which is sponsored by the New York Milk Promotion Order. It is funded by revenue collected by the state from dairy producers and administered through the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets. Nearly all commercial-milk processors in the state participate.

The milk quality program began in 1972, and the awards program began in 1997.

Stewart's milk can be found in a number of products sold in its shops, including buttermilk, eggnog, half and half and heavy cream.

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Stewart's milk is also a key ingredient in the "World's Best Ice Cream," as awarded by the World Dairy Expo earlier this month. Blueberry Patch, a Greek frozen yogurt, earned the first place honor in the frozen yogurt category, while Stewart's Dark Chocolate and Crumbs Along the Mohawk also won awards in their respective categories, said the company.

Founded in 1945, Stewart's Shops is an employee and family-owned convenience store chain based in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Stewart's is known for offering milk, ice cream, coffee, food to go, gasoline and other convenience items. Today there are 330 Stewart's Shops located in more than 30 counties across upstate New York and southern Vermont.