We’ve been making top quality cheese since the 1980s, but our story begins much earlier than that with the founding of the Cooperative Creameries Association in 1921. Known as the First District Association, this group of 11 creameries worked together to produce dried milk powder from milk that came from local dairy farms. In 1975, First District took the leap into commercial cheese making. After 10 years, the group decided to create their own distinctive brand. Local farmers held a contest to pick the name, and in 1985 the Fieldgate brand was born.

Now, in 2023, we’re thrilled to be reopening our brick-and-mortar store in its original location in Litchfield, Minnesota. Whether you’re shopping on our website or in our building, you’ll enjoy the comfort and quality that comes from home grown food.

Our Story

The roots of Fieldgate Cheese are woven into the fabric of our community. As a farmer-owned business, our products are made from the finest locally produced milk and cream. Fieldgate is committed to sustainability by ensuring that all of our family farms are located within a two – hour radius of our store in Litchfield.

Our history truly is the story of our values. Founded as a dairy cooperative designed to help farmers work together bringing their products to market, we remain steadfastly committed to the well-being of our community and its economy. Even in the face of the challenging economic conditions of the 1930s, the creameries that make up this cooperative stayed open to show their dedication to local farmers.

Now in 2023, with an exciting new chapter in Fieldgate’s story, we are proud to build on that tradition and grow our farm to consumer product offerings.

First District Association

Founded in 1921 as a dairy cooperative, First District continues to serve our commercial customers with dairy products produced from locally raised milk. Purchasing milk from local farms keeps them strong, and has allowed us to grow from a small-scale cooperative of creameries to a state-of-the-art business. And, as of 2021, our production capacity has reached 7.5 million pounds of milk per day—thanks to the hard-working family farmers who supply it.

Our Mission

Our mission is simple. To build on the tradition of supporting local family dairy farms and bring our customers a taste of the natural, locally raised dairy products our cheese makers create. With Fieldgate Cheese, individual family-run dairy farms are able to join together and reach individual customers—nearby and far away. That way, each individual owner can enjoy the benefits of a much larger market. And no matter where our customers live, they can enjoy their favorite dairy foods with a genuine small-town connection.

Our Vision

Fieldgate Cheese is committed to people—first and foremost. From the member-owners who raise the milk that is the backbone of our products, to the families who enjoy those products at home, everything we do is guided by the age-old rule: business is people. We proudly stand for doing what is right, doing it well, and conducting business with integrity.

Our Farmers

Filk Farm

Filk Farm

Hutchinson, MN

Filk Farms was started in 1880 by John Filk in Hassan Valley Township Hutchinson, MN when he purchased the current homestead of 160 acres, cleared the land, built a log cabin. Today, the 6th generation takes the same pride in farming as they did in 1880.

The entire Filk family works hard 365 days a year to produce a wholesome product. This starts with excellent cow comfort and treating the animals like they are one of the family. It also means taking care of the land around them to not only produce the crops they use to feed the animals, but so the land can be the best it can be for future generations.

Farming is a family operation for the Filks. They are able to work with their children on a daily basis which they find truly rewarding. Being able to grow their own crops to feed their herd, to raising their own livestock truly shows how hard work pays off.

Farming only 25 miles from the plant that makes Fieldgate Cheese, the Filks are proud to be a part of the process in creating a nutritious food product that them and their neighbors get to enjoy.

“Spending long hours in the field and just as many taking care of the cattle is a full-time job. After a long day it is a rewarding feeling to see happy, well taken care of animals, bountiful crops and a successful family.”

Herkenhoff Central Dairy, Inc

Herkenhoff Central Dairy, Inc

Freeport, MN

Herkenhoff Central Dairy, Inc. located near St. Rosa, Minnesota is owned and operated by Tom and Vicky Herkenhoff, who purchased the century farm from Tom’s parents Bernie and Diane Herkenhoff. The Herkenhoffs consider themselves a mid-size dairy and crop farm, milking just over 150 cows with nearly 600 acres of cropland they use to raise feed for their cattle. They describe their farm as the perfect size, one that needs some hired help but yetsmall enough so that if Tom, Vicky and their three children Collin, Elaine and Evelyn are all around they can manage the day to day work themselves.

Bernie enjoys seeing the farm transition to the next generation and enjoys his daily chats with the grandkids. Vicky works full time off the farm and their children enjoy hunting, fishing, some sports along with involvement in the Melrose FFA. When everyone is around, the Herkenhoffs find it rewarding to work together as a family, with everyone having their own responsibilities on the farm. Dairy farming is simply a way of life, and they are proud to raise their children on this fifth-generation farm. When the milk truck leaves the Herkenhoff farm, they know that a high-quality product is being shipped to create Fieldgate Cheese. Cow health and nutrition is a top priority. The Herkenhoffs know that if they care for the animals, they will then take care of them. The Herkenhoffs are proud to be dairy farmers and the milk that is produced by their farm.

“There never is a shortage of dairy products in our refrigerator, especially cheese. Our new favorite is a chunk of pepper jack cheese dipped in pizza sauce. It might sound odd, but it is a favorite.”

Lakeshore Dairy LLC

Lakeshore Dairy LLC

Albany, MN

As a farm that started in 1936 with 20 cows, hogs, chickens and horses has turned into the 3rd and 4th generations raising 70 dairy cows today. The Dobmeiers have been raising cattle and the crops to feed the cattle for more than 80 years, and have every intention in keeping it in the family. Recently, Austin officially became and owner of the family farm along with his wife and daughter. It is truly a family affair as every family member pitches in with chores including milking cows, feeding calves, driving tractor and much more.

The animals are what makes their job so enjoyable. They all have their own personalities, quirks, habits, and other traits that make each of them so unique. Getting to watch a new calf being born, and then raising that calf to adulthood and watching the process repeat itself is so rewarding for the Dobmeiers.

Producing a product like Fieldgate Cheese brings pride and purpose to what the Dobmeiers do each day. Being able to see a finished product to all their hardwork and dedication makes it all worth it. The high standards of animal care and sustainability the Dobmeiers set for their farm are an essential piece in the process of making Fieldgate cheese.

“The dairy industry is more than just about producing milk. Farmers care not only for each individual animal providing the best care possible, but they also care about producing the best product for consumers. Our families are consumers just like yours.”

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