SOUTHWEST, N.Y. — June is an exciting time as it marks the arrival of summer, but it is also Dairy Month! There’s nothing better than finding a noble excuse to enjoy delicious food! This annual celebration started in 1937 and continues as a way to pay homage to the remarkable contributions of the dairy industry to our economy, culinary delights, and the community.
Although I was not raised on a dairy farm, I was born in the largest dairy-producing state in Brazil (Minas Gerais) and had grandparents from both sides of my family milking cows at some point in their lives. As a kid, I was always amazed at how much food was prepared and eaten every time I visited my relatives’ farms. I did not understand then, but feeding and caring for people and animals are farmers’ love languages. The warm feeling every time I had a traditional homemade meal prepared with ingredients from the farm is a big part of my childhood’s fond memories – and why I decided to pursue a career in agriculture.
Moving to Southwest New York and working with farmers and the surrounding communities is a privilege I try not to take for granted. The picturesque landscapes, rolling hills, and vibrant farmlands reminds me of home. But more than that, nestled within this scenic beauty are over 680 dairy farms. These farms care for approximately 75,000 dairy cows and produce enough milk to feed 2 million people every day. In addition to making food, dairy farming provides other economic benefits for the area. Studies show that for every $1 a farmer receives, $2.29 is generated in the local community, creating a huge ripple of positive economic impact.
June is the perfect time to celebrate our dairy industry and its impact on our lives. There are plenty of ways to show our appreciation:
- If you know a dairy farmer, ask them about what support looks like to them. They’ll be more than happy to guide you.
- During Dairy Month, watch for special events such as farmer’s markets and farm tours. These opportunities allow you to connect and learn more about these dedicated individuals who work tirelessly to bring us the dairy products we love.
- Whenever possible, buy local products such as artisanal cheeses, chocolate milk, butter, ice cream, and others. That is a great way to support local businesses and the dairy industry as a whole.
Finally, the best way to celebrate Dairy Month is by embracing the flavors, traditions, and stories that come with dairy products. If you have a favorite family recipe, find a good time to make and share it with family/friends. Enjoying the warm feeling of sharing a meal with your favorite people is the best support a farmer will always want.
Speaking of flavors, let me introduce you to my favorite snack from my home state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. It’s called “Pao de queijo,” or as it’s known here in the United States, Brazilian Cheese Bread (It was a big hit after appearing on Shark Tank – Find the episode here). This gluten-free bread is made with tapioca flour, eggs, and cheese, creating a unique flavor.
If you’re feeling adventurous this month, I encourage you to try this recipe (see below). It’s sure to be a hit with your family and friends. And trust me, it pairs perfectly with a fresh cup of coffee for a fantastic breakfast. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
SWNYDLFC is a partnership between Cornell University and the CCE Associations of Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, and Steuben counties. Their team includes Katelyn Walley-Stoll, Farm Business Management (716-640-0522); Camila Lage, Dairy Management (607-422-6788); Amy Barkley, Livestock Management (716-640-0844), and Katelyn Miller, Field Crops (716-640-2047). CCE is an employer and educator recognized for valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities and provides equal program and employment opportunities.
–Camila Lage, Dairy Management Specialist
SWNY Dairy, Livestock, and Field Crops Program