ALUMNI

Purdue Ag Alumni Swiss Cheese tradition continues at Indiana creamery

By Maureen Manier

November 16, 2020

P

urdue Ag Alumni Swiss Cheese was first produced in 1969 when Dave Pfendler, an associate dean of agriculture, launched the program in the now closed Purdue Creamery to raise money for student support. The program has encountered twists and turns over the past 50 years, but the latest turn brings it back to an Indiana creamery and its original recipe.

Purdue Ag Alumni Association Executive Director Danica Kirkpatrick shares. “We’ve been able to forge a partnership with a local creamery that is excited to base the cheese recipe off those original instructions.”

Schnabeltier in Rochester, Ind., will be producing the swiss cheese and brings distinct strengths to the process, as its manager Kori Pugh explains.

Purdue Ag Alumni Swiss Cheese being made

“What sets our cheese apart starts with the milk that we use. We use milk from a small family farm located in Bourbon, Ind.  The single herd consists of Guernseys, Milking Shorthorns, Brown Swiss and Ayrshires. All the cows are grass fed and free to roam the large pastures around the farm. The milk Schnabeltier uses is high in butterfat and protein giving our cheese the best possible flavor. Schnabeltier cheesemakers haul all of the milk from the farm to our plant where it is tested in the on-site lab to ensure its quality. ”

Pugh says producing the swiss cheese is also reflects her company’s mission.

“Schnabeltier is an active member of Indiana Grown. It is important for us to give back to our community. Purdue Ag Swiss Cheese allows us to do that with a percentage of each purchase supporting the Purdue Ag Alumni Trust Fund.”

Kirkpatrick explains the role of the Ag Alumni Trust Fund. “We distribute approximately $25,000 annually to support undergraduate and graduate students, including travel, professional development, improvement to student spaces, career exploration activities, and more.”

Putting on cheese label

Schnabeltier is not only a small batch artisan creamery, it is also a winery and brewery. Pugh offers suggestions on what might accompany Purdue Ag Alumni Swiss Cheese.

“The two that stick out the most would be our Bruce Lake Blueberry Wine and our Involuntary Dismount Pale Ale. Our Bruce Lake Blueberry Wine is a delightfully sweet, natural fruit wine made with locally grown berries from Tillman Farms in Lapaz, Ind. Our Involuntary Dismount Pale Ale, along with the slight hoppiness, really compliments the sweet notes in the swiss.”

Pugh shares that their company’s name, schnabeltier, is the German word for platypus, “an amazing animal made up of many different parts to create a unique whole. We produce delicious, fresh products that are better together. All the good things in one place!”

Makers of Purdue Ag Alumni Swiss Cheese
(Left to Right) Glenn Goss – Cheesemaker and Vintner, Haley Lehman – Cheesemaker and Brew Master, Kori Pugh – Operations Manager, Danica Kirkpatrick -Purdue Ag Alumni Association Executive Director

Purdue Ag Alumni Swiss Cheese can be purchased year-round online and in several retail locations beginning on November 16.  Visit https://ag.purdue.edu/agalumni/pages/cheese.aspx to learn about online purchase options as well as a list of retailers that carry the product. The cheese can be purchased at Schnabeltier in Rochester, Ind. Visit https://schnabeltier-cheesery-and-winery.square.site/purdue-swiss for store hours.

Decorated plate with Purdue Ag Alumni Swiss Cheese

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Ag alumni share their Purdue Pete lore

Each school day afternoon, the busses line up outside Woodbrook Elementary in Carmel, Ind. In bus #168, driver Van Betulius, BS’76, and passenger Brayden Krueger patiently wait to get to the front of the line by playing math games.

“There must be seven buses in front of us,” says Betulius, intentionally miscounting the number to challenge Krueger’s math skills.

The two became bus buddies earlier in the school year when Betulius told Krueger he had once been Purdue Pete.

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Family farming roots run deep at Purdue

Jones’ family began dairy farming in Star City, Ind., in 1942. Four generations later, the family is still milking cows along with growing corn, soybeans and alfalfa, mainly used to feed back into the dairy herd. They were the first dairy farm in Indiana and the tenth in the nation to adopt robotic milking practices. Jones’ parents, Sammy and Pam, manage the day-to-day operations with her brother, Josh, who is a Purdue Agriculture and Biological Engineering graduate. Amy helps on the farm each month along with her sister, Christy, a Purdue Animal Sciences alumna, and her brother, a Purdue Liberal Arts alumnus.

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