As I’ve said many times before, you simply can’t talk about nutrition today without considering agriculture and sustainability. While people are increasingly interested in learning about where their food comes from, many also are further removed from with the farm. That’s what makes June Dairy Month the perfect time for us as health and wellness professionals to clear up misconceptions and connect people to the dedicated dairy farmers who provide nourishing foods in sustainable ways that are good for people, their communities and the planet.
This June also is the first anniversary of The Dairy Good Cookbook. More than just a cookbook, readers are connected with the dairy farm families who work tirelessly to bring delicious milk, yogurt, cheese and other dairy foods to the table through recipes, photography and stories that give us a glimpse into life on a modern dairy farm. Let’s explore just a couple:
Lucas and Alise Sjostrom are a young couple who quit their city jobs to realize Alise’s longtime dream of making artisan cheese on the dairy farm where she grew up in Brooten, Minn. A few years ago they joined the dairy farm of her parents, Jerry and Linda Jennissen, and in 2014 opened the Redhead Creamery (named so because Alise and her three siblings have red hair). They make Ridiculously Good Cheese Curds, Lucky Linda Aged Farmhouse Cheddar, Little Lucie Brie and other varieties with milk from their own 180 Brown Swiss and Holstein cows. Read how a special underground tunnel is part of the reason the farm recently won a 2016 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award from the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.
Lad and Brenda Hastings are third-generation dairy farmers who can attest to the fact that it takes a high degree of knowledge and skill to run a successful dairy farm today. Brenda holds a degree in Agriculture Business and a master's in Agriculture. Lad earned a degree in Animal Science and has an MBA. They started Hastings Dairy in 2004 in Burton, Ohio, which is now home to 600 Holstein cows and Rowdy Cow Creamery, where their fresh milk is bottled and sold on-farm and at local stores. Lad and Brenda love conducting dairy tours May-October so visitors can see how the cows are cared for, what they eat, watch them being milked and ask questions.
These are just a couple of the inspiring stories of dairy farmers you can share with people to help connect them to where their food comes from. The quality of life and satisfaction of these families is evident in everything they do. Here are some of our favorite recipes from the farm that showcase the versatility of dairy foods and are perfect for the grilling and growing season:
If you’d like to order a copy of The Dairy Good Cookbook, click here.