Planet-Smart Dairy Farming in California

| WRITTEN BY: Patricia Bannan, MS, RDN
diy cheese board with fruit

I’m delighted to have partnered with Real California Milk on this blog post. All opinions are my own.

First, I want you to know, I love dairy! While I’m not a vegan, it would not be that hard for me to give up meat or chicken (I don’t eat that much of it anyway). Dairy, however, that’s a whole different story.

And whether it’s cheese, yogurt, kefir, or milk (every morning in my coffee), I want high-quality dairy. I want dairy from cows that are treated well using sustainable farming practices. That’s why I was so impressed recently when I had the honor of attending an educational culinary event hosted by Real California Milk.

At the event, I heard firsthand from California dairy farmers about their practices, learned about no-waste techniques from a local chef, and received hands-on training from a top food stylist about how to make beautiful plant-forward cheese boards.

So, if you’re a dairy lover like me, here are four #CADairy facts you might want to know about.

Real family farmers

There’s a reason why California is referred to as the “dairy state.” It is home to over 1,200 dairy farms, with 99 percent of them remaining family-owned. And each new generation of farmers is pioneering advancements. For example, California farmers have learned to reduce their carbon footprint and promote sustainability by converting manure to renewable diesel fuel to run their tractors and machinery. In addition, many California farmers use solar technology, which can reduce energy use by 90 percent as compared to conventional farming.

They feed their cows well (and you too!)

You’ve probably heard the saying: “you are what you eat.” Well, the same saying can be applied to California dairy as well. Feeding California dairy cows with quality ingredients helps produce quality milk. Their diet includes byproducts such as citrus pulp, steam flaked corn, almond hulls, cotton seeds, and of course, grass. Pasture-based grazing is most predominant in northern California dairy farms, where green pastures are plenty, allowing a new patch of grass for cows to graze on every time they leave the barn.

Superior animal care

California dairy producers take the health and safety of their cows very seriously. A cow under stress produces far less milk, so making each cow feel comfortable, safe, and healthy is a key aspect of being a dairy farmer. Cows from California dairy farms receive regular veterinary care, including routine check-ups, preventive care, and prompt treatment of illness. In fact, California is home to the most modern, technologically-advanced, and efficient dairy farms across the globe, making the care for each cow an integral part of each operation.

Better flavor and quality

More and more people are eating simply and looking for quality ingredients that they feel good about serving themselves and their families. California dairy farmers believe in responsibly produced, nutritious dairy foods that nourish people and foster a sustainable future and that’s why I love California dairy products. An easy way to know if something is made with milk from California dairy families is to look for the seal. The ‘Real California Milk’ seal assure that it made with 100% California milk.

Looking for a creative way to use California dairy? 

Give it a try in this Ginger-Tahini Yogurt Bowl with Zucchini and Chickpeas.

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