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Local milk producers earn Creamery Awards
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The results of the 2012 Merced County Fair’s Grade A Milk Producers’ Contest have been tabulated and six entries from throughout the Central Valley rose to the top to receive the Creamery Award.

The contest was limited to milk producers from Merced, Madera, Stanislaus, San Joaquin and Sacramento counties. The annual event is held for educational purposes and as an incentive for milk producers who don’t distribute their own products, but sell them in bulk to companies for processing and distribution.

The competition is designed to give producers an opportunity to demonstrate their skills in producing high-grade milk and to recognize their abilities. Judging and collection of samples were done under the jurisdiction of the State Bureau of Dairy Service and Health Department Milk Sanitarians. Entries were scored for bacteria and flavor.

There were 415 entries in this year’s competition, down from 475 entries in the 2011 contest. Six plaques were awarded to the following high scoring producers from these creameries: Berkeley Farms, RELM Dairy, Ripon; California Dairies, Inc., D. R. Dairy, Chowchilla; Dairy Farmers of America, Mulder Dairy, Turlock; Hilmar Cheese Company, Yosemite Jersey Dairy, Hilmar; Nestle Food Company, Andrew Zylstra, Modesto and Independent Shippers, Joseph Gallo Cottonwood Dairy, Atwater.

The contest has been known as the Haydn J. “Mickey” Sartori Grade A Milk Producers’ Contest since 1998. Sartori, who died in 1997, worked as a state dairy inspector and started the fair’s milk judging contest 54 years ago. His daughter, Carol Sartori-Silva, who is on the fair’s Board of Directors, asked directors to name the contest in her father’s memory before she was named to the board.