Disclosure: My trip to Tennessee and attendance at a media workshop was fully paid by SUDIA (Southeastern United Dairy Industry Association). I was not expected to write this post. Opinions expressed are my own. I was not paid for writing this post.
• where food comes from
• what it tastes like
• how it gets from farm to table
• how to enjoy it after you purchase it and how to serve it in healthy and delicious ways to your family and friends
Believe it or not, less than 2% of the U.S. population is involved in farming today and we are 3 to 4 generations removed from the farm. The result is a BIG information gap about modern farming practices.
Last week I had the unique opportunity to visit a family dairy farm in College Grove, Tennessee. So today, I am happy to write about my up close and personal visit to the Hatcher Dairy Farm and provide some insight into how milk gets from the farm to your table plus a recipe for a nutrient rich smoothie made with the goodness of farm fresh milk. I’d like to share this information with you in the context of 3 things about dairy farming that you probably don’t know, but should consider.
1. Dairy farmers are committed to their animals. The seventy cows on the Hatcher dairy farm are family, not inventory. Cows are named, like Tulip (the cutest calf on Earth). Cow comfort is a priority and the Hatcher family provides this by ensuring their animals have a nutritious diet, good veterinary care (2 of the 5 Hatcher dairy farmers are also veterinarians) and healthy and clean living conditions. Note: healthy, happy cows produce more milk; 6 to 8 gallons of milk per day or up to 125 glasses of milk!
2. Dairy farmers are commtted to the land. The Hatchers not only work on their land, they live there too. Responsiblity for the land, air and water makes them good neighbors and pillars of the local community.
3. Dairy farmers are commited to their product. Strict quality controls ensure freshness, purity and great taste. Milk is one of the most regulated beverage in America. The Hatcher Dairy farm has fought hard to remain in existence for 5 generations. One huge step this dairy farm took in 2007 was pasteurizing their own milk. Milk never touches human hands and it takes 2 days or less for the milk to travel from farm to local grocers such as the Whole Foods chain.
Milk is a smart choice for packing more nutrition into every meal and/or snack because it is a nutrient rich food providing 9 essential nutrients: Calcium, Potassium, Phosphorous, Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin D , Vitamin B12, Riboflavin, Niacin. As a registered dietitian and fitness enthusiast I recommend milk for recovery and I especially like that milk is a delicious and inexpensive way to meet daily protein needs necessary for maintaining or increasing skeletal muscle mass, and improving body composition (increasing skeletal muscle and decreasing body fat). So pour a glass of ice cold milk or enjoy it with fruit as a smoothie in the recipe below .
- 3 ice cubes
- 1/2 cup frozen banana slices
- 1/2 cup skim milk
- 1/2 cup vanillia low fat yogurt
- 1 Tablespoon orange juice concentrate
- 3/4 cup fresh strawberries (or a combination of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries)
- honey to taste (Optional)
1.Place ice cubes and frozen banana in blender process to crush ice and break up banana.
2. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.
3. Pour into cups and enjoy!