By Trista Gropp
April 11, 2011--Ranee May, University of Wisconsin-River Falls dairy pilot plant manager, recently hosted a training group from Kosovo through an effort of Land O’Lakes International Development. The Kosovans spent two weeks in the U.S. to learn about the development of yogurt, various cheeses and food safety issues.
The five participants are owners and operators of dairy plants back in Kosovo and were accompanied by a U.S. chaperone and a translator. The group spent half of their time working with May at UW-River Falls and the other half visiting dairy processing facilities and creameries in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
While at River Falls the group was very interested in learning how to create American-type yogurts with fruit, an idea that ended up being too sweet for their variant palate. They mixed up batches of yogurt that were tested by the Kosovo group and students. Tendencies of UWRF students to favor the varieties with higher sugar and the Kosovans towards a more natural-sour flavored yogurt quickly became apparent.
May notes, “It was a great cultural exchange between the group and our students.”
The Kosovans also spent an afternoon teaching a lab for the Dairy Manufacturing 2 class on making European-style Gouda.
While visiting the U.S., May chuckled that the Kosovan group enjoyed visiting the thrift shops in River Falls and Shopko more than the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn.
May has been involved with the Land O’Lakes International Development program for twenty years, travelling internationally and sometimes bringing training groups to River Falls. The program believes in generating economic growth, improving health and nutrition and alleviating poverty around the world.
Photo: Ranee May, UW-River Falls dairy pilot plant manager, and the visiting students from Kosovo work to produce Gouda-style cheese at UWRF’s dairy processing facility. L to R: May, Veli Halimi, Fatmir Berisha, Fatos Kelmendi and Mimoxa Kelmendi.