Did you have cereal for breakfast, or toast, or yogurt? Chances are you had something that is considered a dairy product. You may have even had cream in your coffee.
Once you have been involved in the dairy industry, you are always a friend of dairy and the farmers who work so hard to produce one of nature's most perfect foods. Remember that milk was the first thing that was served to the man after he had a heart transplant years ago.
In the newly revised food requirements, there is still a place for dairy; however, they now promote the fat-free products.
If you think you do not need the dairy farmers, you just may need to think again. I came across some interesting facts at MooMilk.com. According to that website, Americans eat the equivalent of 10 acres of pizza, with mozzarella cheese, every day. An average person eats about 31 pounds of cheese annually. Forty percent of the cheese is served in restaurants and cafeterias. Here is where you have to be savvy to know that you are indeed getting "real" cheese so that you get all of the nutritional benefits. Everything is not always what it seems to be.
The history of dairy products goes back hundreds of years or more. The production of wheels of Swiss cheese started in the Middle Ages. The government taxed the cheese makers on the number of pieces produced so they responded by making giant wheels of their product to avoid the taxation.
Cows arrived in the U. S. during the early settlement almost as soon as people did. Cows arrived in Jamestown in 1611. The most prevalent breed of cow in the U. S. is the Holstein. The milk produced by Holstein cows does not contain as much butter fat as that produced by the Jersey breed.
Of course, calcium can be found in other foods as well as dairy. It is found in broccoli, oranges, and wheat bread. You just have to eat a considerable quantity of any of these foods to get the amount of calcium that is contained in 8 oz. of milk.
A relatively new feature of dairy production is the plastic bottle. It came on the scene in 1967. Until that time milk was bottled in glass bottles or in waxed cardboard cartons.
I had the good fortune to work for a dairy the summer after I graduated from college. My job was checking the books of the drivers. Each driver had a route where he delivered milk several days a week. On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday he went to some homes. The Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday route was different. Some of the routes included stores where a considerable amount of product was left. The drivers had to note if anything was picked back up at those locations so the stores received credit.
I really liked that job. It was different than going to school. The dairy that I worked for was a family owned operation. In those days most of the dairies were family owned. N. S. Briggs and Sons ran for many years employing many local people and drawing a milk supply from local dairy farms. There was something to be said for local producers. Quality control was very strict. They had an inspector on the scene often.
One of the things that I liked best about working at the dairy was being able to walk out in the hall and look through the windows to watch the milk going in to the glass bottles. Even after the cardboard cartons were introduced, the milk that went into the schools had to be bottled in glass. The standard for the milk that went into the schools was high. The chocolate milk had to have a certain fat content.
How different it is today! Now they are removing the fat from all the milk in the schools. I am not sure about the current philosophy. My own children grew up on farm fresh milk. They were small for the amount of dairy products that they consumed. The key was in the level of activity. They went to school each day and came back to the farm to work. They rode the hay wagons picking up the bales and helped with the milking, too. My children made good use of their study halls, they had to. There was little time to do homework when they got home.
Here are some other interesting facts about cows that you might enjoy.
A gallon of milk weighs 8.59 pounds
A cow has four stomachs and 24 teeth
An average cow produces 350,000 glasses of milk in her lifetime
An average cow weighs 1,400 pounds
Cows consume 50 pounds of dry matter per day including hay, silage, and grain
Cows can smell something up to six miles away
Most cows chew up to 50 times per minute and spend 10 hours a day chewing
In 96% of the American households you will find a container of milk
American dairy farmers are a dedicated group. They produce a clean wholesome product. Tell them thank you for all of their efforts on your behalf.
Enjoy dairy products as part of a balanced diet. The USDA's new MyPlate concept pays tribute to the role that milk plays in a healthy diet. The glass of milk sets right beside the plate showing a larger vegetable section, then, fruit, grain, and protein. The guideline says that all children need three servings a day of low-fat or fat-free milk.
Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, PA. Contact at firstname.lastname@example.org.