Written By: Ellie Wilson, MS, RD Senior Nutritionist, Price Chopper Supermarkets
Dairy is Delicious – June is Dairy MonthI love milk. It is delicious and refreshing. I grew up drinking milk multiple times per day, and I still do. I have long written about the health and nutrition benefits of milk – it is a good source of high quality protein, and contains 9 essential nutrients (nutrients we must get from food for healthy bodies). It is also one of the easiest, fastest and most economical ways to improve the nutrition quality of any meal, and a great sports recovery drink. I have worked in many ways to educate all ages that milk is a powerhouse and pantry essential. What I haven’t done is traced milk’s journey from cow to cup – until now! June is Dairy Month, and Price Chopper has a lot of delicious items to offer in the dairy case, leading with wholesome, fresh milk. What is far less well known is how Price Chopper is woven into the fabric of local dairy farming, and what it takes to ensure the highest quality milk gets from the dairy farm to your table. I will be highlighting dairy foods and how Price Chopper brings the best to your table for the whole month of June – it will be a delicious journey and great way to learn more about dairy farming. It starts with the cows, of course! I reached out to the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council, which works with dairy farmers across New York State, and they connected me to a local dairy farm and milk processor, so I could follow Price Chopper milk from cow to cup. Some dairy facts to get us started:
- Over 98% of dairy farms are family owned and operated.
- Milk is New York’s leading agricultural product and is produced all across the state. Production in 2012 was 13.2 billion pounds. (One gallon of milk is about 8 pounds.) New York is the nation’s 4th leading producer. Keeping it local throughout our footprint, we also offer milk from Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.
- The average number of cows on a dairy farm is about 110, but ranges from 20 to 600 or more.
- Milk is picked up multiple times per day from local dairy farms, 7 days a week.
- Milk is both a product and an ingredient – the base for butter, cream, half and half, yogurt, cottage cheese and a variety of other cheeses and products.
- Sustainability is integrated throughout milk’s journey – caring for cow, farm, and environment are essential to the health of the industry.