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Support SDSU Students By Buying Cheese This Holiday Season

SDSU Dairy Club Cheese Boxes
SDSU Dairy Club Cheese Boxes

Supporting South Dakota State University (SDSU) students has never been easier—and you can please everyone on your holiday shopping list.

Through December 13, the SDSU Dairy Club is conducting their annual cheese box sales, so don’t wait to get your order in at the SDSU Dairy Bar, by mail, phone or email. In order to insure delivery in time for Christmas, mailed boxes must be ordered by December 1.  Mail orders that do not need a Dec. 25 delivery deadline will be accepted until December 5.  Dairy Club cheese boxes can be purchased on-site in the SDSU Dairy Bar through December 13.

“The cheese is 100 percent SDSU,” says Cole Hoyer, a SDSU senior Dairy Production major and SDSU Dairy Club President, who co-chairs the Dairy Club Cheese Box Project with fellow student Angela Wick. ”The cheese is made from milk produced on the SDSU Dairy Research & Training Facility, by SDSU students and Dairy Club members. The cheese is then made by SDSU students at the Davis Dairy Plant on campus, and is cut and packaged by SDSU students, too.”

Dairy Club President Cole Hoyer
Dairy Club President Cole Hoyer

Customers can choose to include four, one-pound blocks of cheese in each box. The Dairy Club offers a choice of 12 different types of cheese: mild cheddar, aged cheddar, bacon cheddar, smoked cheddar, white cheddar, co-jack, Monterey jack, black pepper, BBQ, Italian herb, jalapeno and Chipotle garlic. Boxes can be shipped anywhere in the U.S. and Canada with a holiday greeting. Each cheese box costs $35, including shipping and handling.

“Last year, we sold out the Chipotle garlic right away, and a lot of the cheddars go very well,” says Hoyer. “Co-jack and Italian herb are also very popular.”

If you don’t want to mail your cheese, customers can stop by the SDSU Dairy Bar to pick up cheese boxes at $25 each, or new this year, the club is selling gift bags of cheese containing two or four blocks of cheese.

The order form is available at https://www.sdstate.edu/ds. Orders may be mailed to SDSU Dairy Club, Alfred Dairy Science Hall, Box 2104, Brookings, SD, 57007; faxed to 605-688-6276; emailed to sdsucheeseboxes@gmail.com, submitted by leaving a voicemail at 605-688-6739, or picked up at the SDSU Dairy Bar on campus. Although debit and credit cards are not accepted, this year, SDSU students can pay using Hobo Dough.

Of course, the holiday season can provide some level of concern about food safety, but cheese shipped to your destination within the U.S. by UPS generally arrives within two days and is perfectly safe to eat, Hoyer says. Our cheeses are ripened and according to U.S. Department of Agriculture information, unopened cheese can last three to six months.

The SDSU Dairy Club has conducted cheese box sales, since the 1970s, and has seen a steady increase of sales over the past several years. The funds finance the Dairy Club’s strenuous activity schedule, scholarships, trips to visit dairies across the U.S., and some funds are also donated to other organizations.

“Last year, we helped sponsor the SDSU Dairy Challenge team, which is made up of SDSU Dairy Club members,” adds Hoyer. “We’ve also sponsored the SDSU Dairy Cattle Judging team to help pay for their transportation.”

This year, the SDSU Dairy Club will be selling 7,500 pounds of cheese—more than 2,000 boxes. SDSU alumni and local businesses are major customers.

“A lot of businesses in Brookings buy them for their employees,” Hoyer says. “We have a lot of repeat customers.”

Orchestrating a project of this level takes a high level of planning and organization. The process begins in January each year, according to Hoyer.

“Based on the previous year’s sales, the co-chairs determine which cheeses sold the best,” he says. “From there, we decide which cheeses need to be produced and how much of each we will need, and put in the order with the Davis Dairy Plant.”

Starting in September, SDSU Dairy Club members volunteer their time two nights a week for two hours to help cut the cheese in preparation for the boxes—a task that lasts until Thanksgiving. Each time the club members work, they receive “Dairy Bucks” that can be spent on SDSU Dairy Club apparel or put toward their costs for club trips.

The process really ramps up in October. The co-chairs make sure the order forms are ready to go, determine pricing and go over the inventory of boxes and stickers. Order forms are made available in mid-October through various means.

Orders begin coming in around November 1, and SDSU Dairy Club members are busy fulfilling orders, which are mailed after Thanksgiving.

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