Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Meet the producers: REAL Seal Challenge Part 2

...And by producers, I mean this beautiful lady and her companions!

Going back to school and getting into the routine of early wake-ups, packed lunches, homework, etc., really kicked our butts, so it's taken me too long to report on our awesome last-hurrah-of-summer trip to the Eastern Shore to visit with the Patterson family at their dairy farm in Queen Anne's County, MD, along with my friend Sandie and her family.

The Patterson family and Amber from the Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association were so incredibly generous with their time, giving us an incredible tour of the farm and answering our many, many questions.

Althought I grew up in rural Pennsylvania, and many of my high school classmates lived on working dairy farms, I'd never actually visited one. Neither had Abel or the kids. It was fascinating to see a working dairy farm up close and personal!

As I mentioned in my REAL® Seal recipe challenge post, we drink a lot of milk and eat a lot of dairy in our home. We get most of our milk delivered directly from another Maryland dairy farm, but often have to pick up a gallon or two from the grocery store in between deliveries. Did you know that, for example, Giant brand milk is locally supplied milk from dairys like Patterson Dairy? Who knew that buying a grocery store brand would be supporting local family farms? After learning that, I definitely feel better about our grocery store purchases! (By the way, the ice cream we used to make our Creamsicle Floats was also a store brand which proudly bore the REAL® Seal, letting me know that it was true dairy produced in the US!

The Patterson's explained every step of the milking process -- how the equiment is throughly cleaned, how the each cow is tested and how the day's batch of milk is also tested to ensure that it is top quality before it is trucked away.

After we pulled ourselves away from the adorable baby and juvenile cows, the Patterson's suggested we stop by the Queen Anne's County Fair, which we did! We even got to meet Charlie and Sherry Patterson's oldest son who was showing a beautiful cow there!

Thanks, Patterson family, MDVAMilk and REAL® Seal for such a fantastic day! and for teaching us so much about dairy farms!

REAL Seal provided our family with a stipend for travel expenses. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!