The Department of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Minnesota has its own Dairy & Meat Salesroom — and the offerings are pretty terrific. Products from its state-certified dairy plant and meat lab are made in-house by students, faculty, and staff. Some are produced during classroom hours; others are pumped out extracurricularly to help underwrite research projects.
And unlike, say, an iffy student haircut, the quality control is tops. The U of M has been working the dairy beat for more than a century. Its pioneering scientists helped develop the protocol for making blue cheese in America; in fact, they still age their wheels in caves on the Mississippi River in St. Paul.
The cult favorites from the Pilot Plant include creamy Havarti, meltable Raclette, and Nuworld, a white “blue” cheese the school invented using a white strain of mold. Hunks sell for $6.50 to $12 a pound. Dairy fiends should also keep their eyes peeled for 1.75 quarts ($6.75) and pints ($4) of ice cream. Flavors vary by the week: Fingers crossed for Gopher Gold (French vanilla with raspberry chocolate ripple), Minnesota Sundae (honey with sunflower seeds), or State Fair Vanilla Malt.
The Andrew Boss Laboratory of Meat Science, meanwhile, is just as respected as the U of M dairy. The state-of-the-art facility processes both red meat and poultry. We grilled up their Row the Boat bratwurst, made with beer and pepper jack cheese, as well as bratwurst patties studded with wild rice.
Other highlights from the meat department include lamb shanks, chorizo chubs, ox tail, porchetta roasts, and brisket. The lab even sells whole and half lamb, pork, and beef carcasses. When big summer holidays knock at the door, maybe you wanna fire up some jumbo franks or quarter pounders with aged cheddar? ‘Cause they sell those, too.
Due to construction, the salesroom is temporarily located in Room 1 of the Food Science and Nutrition building. It is open to the public every Wednesday from 2 to 5 p.m. To place a meat order in advance, email your list to Dallas Dornink at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may pay with cash or credit card and can even pick up a Gophers hat while you’re at it.
Dairy & Meat Salesroom
The University of Minnesota, Food Science and Nutrition Building, 1334 Eckles Ave., Room 1, St. Paul, MN; 612-624-7776.