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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Real California Dairy Families

Last month I had the most amazing opportunity to visit two family owned and operated dairy farms in Modesto, CA. I was invited along with other Mom Bloggers to the Mom to Mom Tour hosted by California Milk Advisory Board. I was surprised to find out that 98% of all California Dairy farms are family owned. We visited the Charles Ahlem farm that raises Jersey cows and the Durrer Dairy Farm which raises Holstein cows.The most impressive thing about these farms is the pride these families have in what they are doing. At both farms the first thing we were told in introductions was that the people who owned and operated these farms were 3rd or 4th generation dairymen.  On both tours the whole family is involved, even the toddlers were in attendance.

Another thing that was telling of the pride these farmers posses is the way these cows are treated. The cows are given a carefully selected feed that is shown to keep these ladies healthy and producing milk. They sleep on water beds and walk on padded paths. They are cleaned regularly and misted with heat sensitive monitors to reduce stress. Happy cows indeed.

At one point we were able to sit down in small groups and talk with an Environmentalist, a Veterinarian, and a Dietitian. The environmentalist told us that the dairy industry's carbon foot print is 63% less over 65 years. Basically because of genetics and improved farming fewer cows are producing more milk. The veterinarian told us all about her day helping the families care for their cows. I was very interested in seeing the backpack ultrasound machine they use on the pregnant cows. The dietitian talked to us a little about some of the myths surrounding milk.  One myth that was debunked was about antibiotics in milk. ALL milk, organic and conventional, is antibiotic free. Milk is tested many times once it leaves the dairy and if at any point any contaminants such as antibiotics are detected the milk is dumped and not processed.
I learned so much on this trip. The most important thing is that the whole process was demystified for me. I was really proud to show my kids the pictures of the cows being milked. Knowing where your food comes from is a big thing in our house and the kids were just as impressed with the process as I was.

To read more about family dairy farm life visit The Durrer Family blog.


All photos courtesy of one of the fabulous bloggers I met on this trip, Tonya Staab.

The views expressed in this post are my own honest and fair opinions and this post was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. The manufacturer and/or agent working on their behalf did one or more of the following: presented me with swag and/or products, paid my travel expenses, and paid for my meals.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for a great post! We are so glad that you enjoyed your visit, we really enjoyed having you with us! Thank you for checking in on the Blissful post, it's always a joy to be able to share what we do... it is our life! I must add that we eat a lot of cheese... but I don't believe I've tried any of the pairings I've heard mentioned in the posts since the tour! I'm going to have to give some of them a try! Happy Holidays to you and your family!