Dairy Distinction: Stewart’s Shops Milk Named Best in Empire State

Convenience-store chain wins Cornell University award for second time in three years
Stewart's Shops Best Milk in New York State
Photograph courtesy of Stewart's Shops

BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. — Stewart’s Shops milk is once again the best in New York State as judged by Cornell University’s Department of Food Science.

Convenience-store chain Stewart’s last won this award in 2020.

The award was presented on Dairy Day, Sept. 1, at the New York State Fair in Syracuse, N.Y., Ballston Spa, N.Y.-based Stewart’s Shops said.

The recognition is part of Cornell’s New York State Milk Quality Improvement Program.

Cornell collected samples from Empire State plants in October and May. The samples of whole, 2%, 1% and fat-free milk were scored on various criteria, including best flavor, the chain said. The samples were judged on microbial analyses, fat determination, freezing point and flavor.

  • Stewart's Shops is No. 23 on CSP’s2022 Top 202 ranking of U.S. c-store chains by number of company-owned retail outlets.

“My grandfather and his brother started this business as a dairy company over 100 years ago,” said Gary Dake, Stewart’s Shops president. “We take great pride in the quality of our dairy products and providing fresh and local milk to our customers. This award would not be possible without our hard-working dairy farmers and experienced dairy team.”

Travis Smith of Gansevoort, N.Y.-based Smith Dairy, a third-generation dairy producer that supplies milk to Stewart’s Shops, said, “We work hard to produce a great product. This award validates everything we do every day on the farm. We focus on cleanliness, which is a top priority when it comes to getting the best-quality milk. I am proud to be a dairy producer for Stewart’s Shops. I love that our milk stays local and feeds my neighbors and my family.”

Stewart’ works with 20 local dairy farms to source raw milk. Stewart’s Shops employees pick up the milk daily and process and bottle it themselves at a manufacturing plant in Greenfield, N.Y., to ensure the highest-quality standards, the company said.

Celebrating With Double Punches

To celebrate this award, Stewart’s Shops is giving out double punches on Milk Club Cards from Sept. 5 to Sept. 11. Customers will get one punch for every half gallon they buy and two punches for every gallon. Stewart’s half-gallon juices and Refreshers earn punches as well. Ten punches earn a free half-gallon of milk, juice or drink or half off on a gallon of milk.

Founded in 1945, Ballston Spa, N.Y.-based Stewart’s Shops is an employee- and family-owned c-store chain known for its milk, ice cream, coffee, Easy Food meals and other convenience items. There are 354 Stewart’s Shops in upstate New York and southern Vermont.

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