If asked, could you trace your family tree back to the first family member to come to America? It’s possible, but raise your hand if you can say your family has farmed the same land for five consecutive generations? That’s doubtful, unless you are the Hatcher Family in College Grove, Tenn.
Since 1831, The Hatcher Family Dairy has been committed to the core values and stewardship handed down by their forefathers more than 175 years ago. Recently, 150 registered dietitian and nutritionists, including I, got to experience Hatcher southern hospitality first hand. The Hatchers graciously opened the doors of their farm and welcomed us in for breakfast and to tour their innovative operation.
The event started by celebrating the 100th birthday of the National Dairy Council (NDC). NDC has spent a century promoting and protecting all dairy farm families—including the Hatchers—and bringing to life the dairy community’s vision of a healthy and sustainable world. As a registered dietitian and nutritionist, I was tickled that the 2015 Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics annual conference happened in Nashville, creating the opportunity for the NDC centennial celebration and Hatcher dairy to collide.
Three of my favorite things in one place: dietitians, dairy and cows!
Arriving early to the farm, busloads of nutrition experts from all walks of life came rolling in for a farm experience of a lifetime. After chowing down on cheese grits, farm fresh eggs and milk, while listening to folk music and taking in the Tennessee sunrise just over the grassy hills, dietitians got a peek behind the scenes at a unique dairy.
The Hatchers are different because they process and pasteurize their milk on site. Guests learned all about milking and processing and how dairy families give exceptional care to their cows and land. As Dietitians—food authorities themselves—were schooled in the diets of cows and how what they eat helps them produce the most nutritious milk possible. I left the experience with a full belly and warm appreciation for family-run businesses; especially those that run around the clock all year like a dairy farm.
Wishing NDC a hundred more years, grounded in science and paving the way to sustainable dairy farming!
Rebecca Turner, MS, RD, CSSD, LD