By Megan Barber, Grocery Buyer, Wellness Buyer, Merchandising Manager, Co-op Owner
If you’re anything like me, there are some great dairy-based items just chilling in your fridge or freezer right now! Starting your day off with a classic bowl of cereal and ice cold milk describes the majority of my mornings. There’s usually a fruity yogurt found in my lunch. If I’m feeling an afternoon snack, there’s nothing like a smoothie as pick me up during the afternoon slump! And there’s nothing quite as cooling and delectable as a bowl of ice cream in the summer months. That’s not all the dairy I consume either! I often include cheeses in my meals as well as cream in my coffee. Dairy is a versatile element in my meals – as a simple ingredient or consumed just by itself in various forms. In case you need an excuse to have that bowl of ice cream tonight, I am very pleased to remind you that June is National Dairy Month!
We’ve been celebrating dairy month since 1939 to inform consumers of the many health benefits; like a good source of protein, calcium, vitamin D, and potassium, and the roles dairy can play in preventing heart disease, high blood pressure, and osteoporosis. We also use this time to bring support and acknowledgement to our dairy farmers and neighbors. Often you can find dairy farm tours, festivals, fairs, tastings, and more during this bovine celebration!
We’d like to take moment to point out some of the unique dairy vendors we support! Hilhof Farm Dairy has thrived in the village of Hersey, MI, since 1979. That’s where the certified organic milk is produced, as well as bottled, in old-fashioned glass bottles. Along with being organic, the milk is also non-homogenized. This means the cream naturally separates and can be seen on top of the milk as well as helping it to be easier to digest. If you’re looking to try something amazing, give Hilhof’s chocolate milk a try – you’ll never go back to powder or syrups!
Another vendor we love to support is Organic Valley. They produce everything dairy, from cheese, milk, and butter to yogurt, sour cream, and half & half. Organic Valley is unique in that it is also a Co-op! They are a cooperative of dairy farmers with strong family ties. The organization includes 420 third generation farms and over 190 fourth generation farms! The best aspect about the small farms is that the Co-op uses the closet farms to us for fulfilling orders, meaning the dairy they provide hasn’t traveled far or long! The nearest Organic Valley farm to GreenTree is located in Clare, MI.
As much I as enjoy dairy, I understand some people cannot process the lactose. In this case, I do love to point out some dairy alternatives we also carry and how you can replace ingredients in meals with ease! Simply stop in and ask any employee to assist you and we will gladly take you on a tour!