Get to Know the Northeastern Dairy Product Innovation Competition Finalists 

With the business development phase of the Northeastern Dairy Product Innovation Competition underway, the Dairy Innovation Program is proud to spotlight the 10 finalists selected for the inaugural competition. 

The Northeast has a rich history of producing high quality dairy products with vast growth potential and appeal to both at-home and institutional customers. The Northeastern Dairy Product Innovation Competition supports entrepreneurs in the development of new, value-added products that utilize dairy ingredients produced in the Northeast. The competition saw over 50 applicants from which 10 finalists were selected, each receiving $20K in participant support, as well as individualized mentorship and business development guidance. 

Meet the 10 competition finalists: 

Bell & Goose Cheese Co: Based in South Hampton, N.H. , founder Anna Cantelmo spent more than a decade studying artisan cheese making before she started Bell & Goose. Bell & Goose sources its  milk from local New Hampshire dairies to make a variety of cheeses, including Mustard Seed Butter Cheese, Hot Pepper Havarti, and its Marinated Feta Cheese, which earned them a spot in the Northeastern Dairy Product Innovation Competition. ice cream: Based in Vermont, founder Laura Mack founded ice cream in 2014 close to her family’s restaurant.’s natural flavorings and locally sourced ingredients are inspired by the farm-to-table style food that Mack grew up with. ice cream has intriguing ice cream flavors such as, “Garden Basil” and “Semi-Charmed Kinda Life,” a Lucky Charm cereal milk infused ice cream. earned its spot as a competition finalist with a new product: Goat’s Milk Gelato. 

Maia Yogurt: First created in founder Hamilton Colwell’s Manhattan apartment in 2010, Maia yogurt can now be found in multiple locations in the Northeast. Colwell created Maia with the goal of working with local family-owned farms and improving consumers’ health. Maia is currently sourced, made, and cupped in Pennsylvania, and became a competition finalist with its grass-fed yogurt for kids. 

Maple Valley Farm: The Shurtleff family has been farming at Maple Valley Farm for five generations, since Levi Shurtleff moved to North Bridgewater, Vt.. Maple Valley Farm is now predominantly a dairy farm with two seasonal farm stands where the Shurtleffs sell their farm grown maple, pet products, and specialty products like pumpkin and saffron. Maple Valley Farm became a finalist with its saffron maple yogurt. 

Naturally Golden Family Farms Co-op: Naturally Golden Family Farms Co-op has been run by the Trotter family for four generations. There are two farms under Naturally Golden Family Farms: Maple Bottom and Trotacre, both located in Pennsylvania. The farms use Guernsey milk cows to produce the high-quality milk used for the farms’ value-added products. Naturally Golden Family Farms earned their spot as a finalist with its all natural, dairy-based coffee creamer. 

North Country Creamery:  Owned and operated by Ashlee Kleinhammer in Keeseville, N.Y., North Country Creamery produces and sells farmstead cheeses, cream-line yogurts, and raw milk which are made from their Milking Shorthorn and Jersey Cows. North Country Creamery earned its finalist selection after working with their cheesemaker, Nico Brossar, to craft its semi-hard, pasteurized cheese. 

Oakfield Corners Cheese LLC: Oakfield Corners Cheese LLC is a division of Lamb Farms, Inc., which was founded in 1966 by the Lamb family in Oakfield, N.Y. Currently, Lamb Farms is owned and operated by the Lamb and Veazey families and maintains over six farm locations. Oakfield Corners Dairy works with some of the best cow families in the Holstein breed and placed as a finalist with its Mexican style cheese. 

Spekld: Jonah Gershon ‘24, a hotel administration major in the Nolan School of Hotel Administration at the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, is the founder of Spekld. Spekld allows consumers to use brown butter instantly, coming in the form of a stick just like conventional butter. Gershon aims to help consumers use brown butter as easily as they would regular butter. Spekld plans to sustainably source the butter and work with small-scale organic farmers. 

Terra Firma Farm: Brianne Casadei directs Terra Firma Farm, which is based in North Stonington, Conn. Terra Firma Farm is a nonprofit community farm where everyone is welcome to learn the importance of local agriculture and  community. Terra Firma Farm became a competition finalist with its ready-to-use, premium ice cream base. 

Very Good Yogurt: Anu Rangarajan is the co-founder of Very Good Yogurt, serves as the director of the Cornell Small Farms Program, and is a senior extension associate at the Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. As the director of the Cornell Small Farms Program, Rangarajan helps farmers get expert assistance to facilitate small farm development. Very Good Yogurt earned a place as a competition finalist with its savory yogurts. 

These 10 finalists receive mentorship, access to Cornell resources, and time at Cornell’s Food Processing and Development Lab (FPDL). On August 8, the finalists will pitch to a panel of judges who will select up to three  winners who will receive an additional $55K in funding and be featured at a Dairy Innovation Showcase at the Grow-NY Summit in November 2023.