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Cheese curds in China

When you’re traveling the high-speed train from Shanghai to Beijing in China, you go so fast you hardly even know it.

“We were going 210 miles per hour and it was all electric,” Tony Birkel of the Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery said. “It was a pretty smooth ride.”

And “smooth” was the kind of entry the creamery wanted to make into the Chinese market to sell Ellsworth Cheese Curds. Birkel, the creamery’s Director of Marketing and Sales, was in China last March for the Food Ingredient China Show.

“This was my first time out of the country and it was quite an experience,” Birkel said of the four-day trip, as it went from Minneapolis to Detroit to straight flight to Shanghai and then to Beijing. “There’s an effort to increase protein in the Chinese diet, and cheese and dairy products are a part of that. ”

The effort to market cheese curds in China has only been done just recently. For the past five years, the creamery has been selling whey powder in China.

“We export about 35-40 percent of over whey powder and over 20 percent of that goes to China,” Creamery CEO Paul Bauer said. “It’s getting to the point where we can’t keep up with the orders.”

For more please read the June 25 print version of the Herald.