Idaho is the country's third-largest cheese producer, according to the Idaho State Department of Agriculture. But residents of the Gem State aren't eating that cheese.
That's because much of the product from the state's cheese industry isn't labeled as coming from Idaho. Most cheese made in Idaho is sold to food companies that put their brand on the packaging for distribution nationwide, according to the ISDA, with no reference to where the cheese was actually produced.
But this week, a new Idaho brand cheese will hit southern Idaho Walmart shelves.
Leah Clerk, manager of the Idaho Preferred program, said the brand would offer customers a way to identify local, Idaho-made products in the grocery store.
Varieties will include Colby jack, Monterey jack, pepper jack and mild and medium cheddars, as well as mozzarella. Distribution will move into northern Idaho in the fall.
Nelson-Ricks Creamery, located outside Rexburg, will provide the product swathed in packaging that will bear the image of the state of Idaho and the Idaho Preferred logo.