Utah gets a new destination for farm-fresh cheese with the opening of The Creamery

(Heather L. King | For The Salt Lake Tribune) A cheese display at The Creamery, a new retail store in Beaver.

Beaver • The Dairy Farmers of America recently opened a new concept store called The Creamery, where travelers along Interstate 15 can stop to sample and purchase everything from farm-fresh cheese to ice cream to other Utah-made foods.

All the dairy products in the new retail store, at 165 S. 500 West, are made from milk sourced from dairy farms within a 25-mile radius of this rural Utah town, 200 miles south of Salt Lake City.

Farmers in the region have been making cheese — cheddar, Colby jack, gouda, cheese curds and more — for 67 years at a plant just behind The Creamery. The offerings were sold at a store down the block.

At 11,250 square feet, the new creamery is four times the size of the original.

While that may seem large for a town with just 3,000 residents, dairy farmers hope to make The Creamery a destination spot for tourists. The Utah Department of Transportation estimates 17,000 vehicles drive through this town on I-15 each day.

Those who stop at The Creamery will find dozens of dairy products, such as squeaky cheese curds in three flavors, 24 flavors of Farr Better Ice Cream at the ice cream counter, and Utah-made foodstuffs.

(Heather L. King | For The Salt Lake Tribune) A cheese display at The Creamery, a new retail store in Beaver, Utah.

There also is an interactive dairy experience room designed to teach visitors of all ages about dairy farmers and the cheese-making process.

Inside the new store is the Kitchen Cafe, a restaurant that serves breakfast and lunch from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The menu includes fried cheese curds, sandwiches, salads, soup and pizza that highlights cheese products made at the plant.

The Creamery marks a turning point for the Dairy Farmers of America, as it works to tell the farm-to-table story, explained Dennis Rodenbaugh, senior vice president and chief operating officer of the dairy marketing cooperative’s Western Fluid Group.

(Courtesy photo) Children learn about dairy foods and the cheese-making process at an interactive exhibit inside The Creamery in Beaver, Utah.

“This retail store and the cheese manufacturing plant are symbiotic," he said at a recent ribbon-cutting ceremony. “One of the reasons we wanted to have the kitchen is that we’ve got these fresh, handcrafted cheeses, but that only tells one part of the story. How do we take cheese and dairy and make that a bigger part of a family’s table at breakfast, lunch and dinner?”

Rodenbaugh said local dairy farmers want visitors “to leave The Creamery with new family memories and traditions, a deep appreciation for the dairy they consume, and stories and history about these family farms.”

Before The Creamery’s opening, the plant produced 4,000 to 5,000 pounds of cheese curds for the store each week, said Matt Willden, production supervisor for the Beaver City Cheese Plant. He anticipates a significant increase in production now that the new store is open.

The plant now employs 40 people, seven of them recently hired, Willden said. More will be needed to accommodate continued growth and seasonal needs, he said.

The Creamery • 165 S. 500 West, Beaver; 833-796-4551 or https://thecreameryutah.com/. Retail store is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m Monday–Saturday. Creamery Kitchen open 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.