Delicious, nutritious dairy products are the foundation for a wholesome meal or snack any time of the day – and what better time to promote the versatility of these foods than June Dairy Month.
See how dairy producers are opening up their barn doors and sitting down with consumers to share their stories and their products over a dairy-filled meal.
Dairy for breakfast: Breakfast on the Farm
At each Vermont Breakfast on the Farm, approximately 1,000 visitors are expected. Agritourism has grown successfully in Vermont as more people want to understand how their food is made.
Farmers like the Vander Wey family, hosts of the 2016 breakfast on June 25, see agritourism as a way to help protect the future of dairy agriculture.
“The Breakfast on the Farm event gives us the perfect opportunity to show the public how our family farm is traditional in some sense but also embraces new technologies like our wind turbine and robotic milker.
We look forward to sharing our passion for farming and our commitment to pass this legacy to the next generation,” said Raymond and Linda Vander Wey.
This free, public event includes a pancake breakfast, self-guided tours of the dairy farm and a peek into the life and business of farming in Vermont. The Vermont Agency of Agriculture is the lead organizing partner of Vermont Breakfast on the Farm.
The goal is to provide a firsthand look at modern food production and the farm families who work hard to produce a safe, wholesome food supply for Vermont communities and the world.
Learning and exploration is offered through educational stations. Knowledgeable volunteers will highlight how farmers care for the environment, their animals and their community.
Outside of June, Vermont hosts a second Breakfast on the Farm in August.
—Contributed by Laura Hardie,
New England Dairy & Food Council
Dairy for lunch: Lunch on the Dairy Farm
Jackson and Clinton counties, Iowa
Each year since 2009, dairy producers in Jackson and Clinton counties in Iowa have opened up their farms for tours and a free lunch for hundreds of folks through their Lunch on the Dairy Farm event.
Last year’s rainy day lunch saw more than 700 attendees at Moore Family Farms, a 50-cow dairy near Maquoketa; attendance at Blanchard Family Dairy, a 1,200-cow operation near Charlotte, topped 1,300 several years ago.
Each year the event alternates counties and focuses on different aspects of family farms in the two counties.
The Jackson-Clinton Dairy Board partners with the Midwest Dairy Association, agricultural companies, each county’s Farm Bureau, 4-H and cattlemen associations to provide a picnic lunch, equipment displays, children’s activities, barn tours and a whole lot of dairy-related education.
Drawing crowds from the Quad Cities and Dubuque metro areas, it provides plenty of opportunity for introduction to the dairy industry for families and individuals who have never experienced a dairy farm.
The dairy board’s effort to showcase different types of operations, and often hosting the event right after dairy farm upgrades or changes, makes it valuable to other dairymen looking for the latest technologies or genetics as well.
The event is free to the public and is held on a Sunday afternoon in June. The hosts of this year’s event will be Darryl, Donna, Shaw and Levi Banowetz of Charlotte, Iowa, and will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on June 19.
—Contributed by Heather Moore
Dairy for dinner: ‘Got Milk?’ Gala
Brookings, South Dakota
In South Dakota, June is officially kicked off by the “Got Milk?” Gala, which is part of the three-day-long Dairy Fest held at the Swiftel Center in Brookings.
The gala is an elegant evening that welcomes dignitaries to enjoy a five-course meal with a heaping helping of dairy education. Legislators, key influencers and consumer leaders are the guests of honor for the night of fine dairy dining.
A celebrity emcee hosts the dinner, explaining the dairy products included in each course, where and how they were made and which other foods or wines they pair with best. Between courses, the emcee also educates the mostly urban audience with agriculture and dairy industry facts.
Darrel Rennich, gala chairman, says the event creates a relaxed atmosphere for educating these decision-makers on the positive impacts of the dairy industry occurring along the I-29 corridor. “It allows us to inform them about what dairy brings to the community,” he adds.
2016 marked the third year for the “Got Milk?” Gala, drawing a crowd of nearly 200 people. Serving as this year’s emcee was Donna Moenning from the Center for Food Integrity.
The menu, prepared by Matt Chapman, executive chef at the Swiftel Center, included courses with fine, locally made cheeses like “bacon-wrapped Brie topped with raspberry coulis and garden herbs,” “grilled beef tenderloin skewers atop blue cheese” and “grilled cinnamon plums with sweetened mascarpone cheese topped with salted caramel sauce.” PD
PHOTO 1: The goal of the Vermont Breakfast on the Farm is to provide a firsthand look at modern food production and the farm families who make it all possible. Photo by Karen Pike Photography.
PHOTO 2: Several promotions groups and local businesses come together to sponsor the free lunch. Photo contributed by Maquoketa Sentinel Press
PHOTO 3: Infused with dairy messages, the “Got Milk?” Gala is an elegant five-course meal served to legislators and key influencers. Photo by AMPI.