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Cheese Manufacturing in the Twentieth Century

The Italian Experience in an International Context


Edited By Rita Maria Michela d'Errico, Claudio Besana and Renato Ghezzi

Since the end of the nineteenth century the dairy sectors of some industrialised European and American countries have experienced a phase of growth that took place at a different rate and in a different manner in each country, and which was made possible by the availability of raw materials and a more widespread knowledge of scientific and technological methods. The sector’s expansion was favoured by a revolution in transport networks, the beginning of globalisation in world markets and, decisively, by advances in packaging and refrigeration techniques. Italy in particular, despite its low availability of raw materials compared to other countries, rose quickly throughout the last century to become one of the largest international producers and exporters of cheese, especially of high value PDO cheeses. What factors were behind this achievement and which were the strengths and weaknesses of the sector during the twentieth century? The articles presented in this volume attempt to provide an answer to these questions from different points of view and using different interpretative approaches. The geographical range covered by these studies also reaches beyond Italy in order to look at other countries with relatively ancient dairy traditions. This comparative approach, although limited to just a few countries, is important in that it allows us to describe the evolution of a milk and dairy sector which has had such a large influence on the economic life of many regions in the Italian peninsula.

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New York State Cheese. Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Transformations (Julia Lapp)


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New York State Cheese

Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Transformations

Julia LAPP

Ithaca College, Ithaca, New York

1. Introduction

When most people think about cheese production in the USA, New York State probably does not come to mind. Wisconsin, California and Idaho collectively produce more than 50% of American-made cheese,1 with almost half that total coming from Wisconsin alone. New York ranks third in the nation for overall dairy production and much of that milk goes to the production of cheese, placing New York fourth after Idaho in cheese production. In 2014, 6.9% of US cheese came from New York.

But the current ranking of New York State in the production of cheese today belies the story of the North American cheese industry, the early evolution of which largely occurred in the state. Over a span of approximately a hundred years, between the early nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, New York State was the leading American producer and exporter of cheese. The initial growth of the industry in the state, the industry developments that occurred there, and the later accelerated production in western states provide an informative example of how shifts in technology, tastes and demographics shape food systems.

This chapter provides an overview of the story of cheese production in New York, and by default the USA, spanning the early nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries.

2. Nineteenth Century Evolution of Cheese...

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