It’s time for a Happy dance to celebrate the fact that more and more Americans have a genuine interest in strengthening the connection between the farmer and the consumer. Since the recent return of locally sourced produce as a phenomenon, farm to table stories are becoming popular! These stories are helpful in both narrowing the information gap about modern farming practices and contributing to a healthy relationship with food!
There’s no better way to learn about where your food comes from than to actually visit a farm. That’s just what I did! Today I want to share my up-close and personal visit to the Hatcher Family Dairy Farm, in College Grove Tennessee. Here are 3 things about dairy farming that make me happy:
1. Dairy farmers are committed to their animals. I wasn’t on the Hatcher Family Farm long before realizing cow comfort is a priority. Cows are NOT inventory, they’re family. How does a farmer provide comfort to a cow? By providing a nutritious diet, good veterinary care (2 of the 5 Hatcher Dairy Farmers are veterinarians) and healthy and clean living conditions.
2. Dairy farmers are committed to the land. The Hatchers are serious about their responsibility for the land, the air and the water. This makes them good neighbors and pillars of the local community. They not only work on their land, they live there too!
3. Dairy farmers are committed to their product. Milk is one of the most regulated beverages in America. Strict quality controls ensure freshness, purity and great taste. You can’t remain in business for as long as the Hatchers have (5 generations) without commitment.
Commitment from dairy farmers like the Hatchers keeps cow’s milk a smart choice for packing more nutrition into meals and snacks. Milk provides nine essential nutrients: Calcium, Potassium, Phosphorous, Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Riboflavin, Niacin. This nutrient rich beverage is also a delicious and inexpensive way to meet daily 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, cause you’re happy!
Berry Delicious Smoothie (adapted from Kids Eat Right)
- 3 ice cubes
- 1/2 cup frozen banana slices
- 1/2 cup skim milk
- 1/2 cup vanilla 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!
Guest post by Diane Boyd, MBA, RD, LDN
Diane Boyd has a background in clinical nutrition. She began her career as a hospital based registered dietitian providing medical nutrition therapy and eventually became the chief clinical dietitian at a teaching hospital in Michigan. She currently has a private nutrition practice in North Carolina where she specializes in medical nutrition therapy, weight management and eating disorders. She is the consulting nutritionist for Cape Fear Sports Enhancement and promotes nutrition via workplace programs and freelance writing. Her passion for fitness and eating well fuel the work she truly enjoys.