SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Four New York dairy farmers – Elizabeth Maslyn of Hemdale Farms in Seneca Castle, N.Y.; Johanna Bossard of Barbland Dairy in Fabius, N.Y.; Val Lavigne of UNC Brock Farm in Schaghticoke, N.Y; and Cody Williams of Wil-Roc Farm in Kinderhook, N.Y – joined American Dairy Association North East for a “Milk to Metro” trip to New York City to observe how the milk they produce on the farm is used by urban consumers.
The Milk to Metro campaign was designed to give the dairy farmers the opportunity to interact with urban consumers and promote New York dairy products.
“It was so interesting to finally see the endpoint of the product we work so hard to produce – consumers using those final products,” said Williams.
The campaign also allowed them to see how ADA North East works in an urban setting to sell more dairy through our school, health professional, sports marketing and retail programs.
When stopping in a corner grocery store, Lavigne said, “I was surprised at just how many dairy products were in there. There were so many options, and the aisles were very clean and organized. I just wish I could tell everyone that went down that isle how much we care for our cows, the land, and our families to produce those products.”
The dairy farmers visited the Anna M. Short School PS 146 in Manhattan to meet with fourth grade students. The school was selected for the visit because of its participation in ADA North East school nutrition programs, including Breakfast After the Bell, Fuel Up to Play 60, and the New York Thursdays program that features locally sourced milk and other food products on school menus.
“It was so eye opening to hear how interested the kids were in where their food comes from, and so great to hear them say, ‘I love yogurt’ or ‘I love cheese,’” said Maslyn. “They were excited to find out that some of my cows are the animals that produce the dairy products that they eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”
The group also visited Armory Track in Washington Heights, the home of one of the “fastest tracks in the world,” that promotes dairy checkoff’s “Refuel with Chocolate Milk” campaign during more than 100 track and field competitions, where more than 220,000 student athletes train and 300,000 visitors tour.
Tour stops also included two dairy-based New York City eateries that source New York-produced milk. The Chobani Café in Soho features innovative yogurt and probiotic recipes, dairy-based coffee creamers, and lactose-free Greek yogurt foods, and Beecher’s Cheese in the Flatiron District that makes handmade cheeses.
“Coming to New York City showed me that consumers are just like us – they’re picking up their kids, heading to work out, or going to work – and we can all connect to one thing: food and knowing where it comes from,” observed Bossard. “I think it’s important to all generations, and certainly Gen Z, and I hope that through projects like this they can all see their milk comes from a good place.”
–American Dairy Association North East