Create a seed starter from your milk carton
Check out this handy guide from Carton to Garden to get your own seedlings started!
Check out this handy guide from Carton to Garden to get your own seedlings started!
What’s old is new again as companies like Milk Run and Alpenrose bring back milk deliveries of the past with a new twist. Vans splashed with colorful logos and full of local milk and produce are bringing the farm directly to your doorstep so that you can experience the fresh taste of locally harvested food.
Alpenrose, a dairy that began in 1916 in Portland, recently returned to it’s milk delivery roots this August by delivering daily milk and produce within the Portland metro area. You won’t get milk in glass bottles, but it’s easy to order through their website or mobile app.
“It’s been nearly 40 years since our trucks delivered fresh milk to the area,” said Josh Reynolds, general manager for Alpenrose. “We are ready to bring back a new, modern twist on home delivery.”
Milk Run, the brainchild of farmer Julia Niiro, started with a question: How could farmers bring fresh food from their farms directly to their neighbors? Niiro, a partner with Revel Meat Co. in Canby, OR, reached out to a handful of neighboring farms to join her in answering it. A few short years later, Milk Run operates in Portland and Seattle and works with over 200 farmers across Oregon to supply it’s rapidly growing customer base.
With more people stuck at home due to quarantining, Milk Run saw an opportunity to shrink the gap between farmers and consumers and educate prospective locavores. “I think that the tactile experience of getting the food in our Milk Run box is the teaching tool for understanding what can be experienced locally.” said Lilly Harris, Operations Manager for Milk Run.
Alongside favorite staples like Sourdough Boules from Grano Bakery, fresh eggs from Trent Family Farms and Gravenstein Apples from Kiyokawa Orchards, dairy lovers will be happy to see locally produced milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, cream cheese, sour cream and more. Participating farms and processors include TMK Creamery, Garry’s Meadow Fresh, Nancy’s, Organic Valley, Larsen’s Creamery, Lulubelle’s Creamery, Briar Rose Creamery, Cascadia Creamery and Willamette Valley Cheese.”
“We can think about local food abstractly,” said Harris, “But having it delivered to your doorstep and opening a box of local produce is a totally different experience. You’re able to see what’s in season and learn why it’s important to cherish the produce when it’s fresh and ripe.”
Farmers seem to be responding in kind to the local demand for their products. Lulubelle’s, one of Milk Run’s dairy purveyors, will soon be producing new products like Half & Half and Heavy Cream for it’s online customers.
In working directly with farmers, Harris commented, “I think farmers are the most grounded, intelligent people that we could possibly work with. They’re knowledgable about their craft and excited to share what they produce with consumers. I love being able to provide that conduit for their excitement and knowledge.”
What does a popular pizza chain and a local dairy have in common? A lot more than just cheese. Both are part of a strong partnership that benefits farmers, local franchisees and their communities.
Recently, Jake Fraizer of Dallas, Oregon, was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation from the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council for his exemplary contributions to the dairy industry and his local community.
Jake Fraizer has only had one job in his life. “I started delivering pizzas when I was 18, and worked my way up,” he said. Now 17 years later, he’s part owner in a successful Domino’s pizza store in Dallas, Oregon. “I love it,” he said. “I still love delivering. No one is ever mad to see the pizza guy.”
In 2019, Domino’s was named the top pizza chain based on annual sales, but that has not always been the case. In a 2009, in a survey of consumer taste preferences among national pizza chains, Domino’s tied for last place. That same year Domino’s announced plans to entirely reinvent its pizza with a unique ad campaign where consumers were filmed criticizing the pizza quality, and chefs were shown developing a new pizza. The dairy checkoff organization, Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) committed to address this situation with Domino’s because about 25 percent of all U.S. cheese ends up on a pizza.
“During the past ten years, we have invested in partnerships with influential quick service restaurant companies,” said Marilyn Hershey, board member for DMI. “That investment includes providing these partners with consumer insights, product development and nutrition expertise to develop new menu choices that include dairy, and that in turn find new markets for farmer’s milk. “Our four key partners, Domino’s, McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut have moved more than 2 billion equivalent pounds of milk in the duration of our work together.”
“Domino’s is one of these partnerships that feels more like family than partner,” said Hershey. “They love our partnership, they love dairy farmers, and they love our cheese.”
“It’s nice for me to let customers know that the cheese is actually from a farm,” said Fraizer. “Everybody thinks all fast food is fake, and it’s not. So that’s a big part of it, especially when it comes to dairy. I’d rather have all of our ingredients locally, like in the US, instead of getting shipped around, so I like the dairy partnerships.”
But this small town Domino’s and a local dairy have more in common than just cheese.
“When we are harvesting the crops, my guys put in long hours. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to offer them a warm meal as a thank you,” said Louie Kazemier, Owner of Rickreall Dairy, located just outside of Dallas, Oregon.
Even though the farm is technically out of Fraizer’s service radius, he will still deliver to Rickreall Dairy. “We deliver out to the dairy a lot,” said Fraizer. “Louie does so much for the community I don’t mind.”
And, Fraizer often goes above and beyond. One year, after a particularly difficult harvest, Fraizer didn’t charge anything for the pizzas. “I’m still not sure if he could see the exhaustion on my face or was just feeling generous, but either way it was really nice,” said Kazemier.
The appreciation is mutual. “He does so much for Christmas Cheer, and the community. And Christmas Cheer means a lot to me,” said Fraizer.
Christmas Cheer, a nonprofit organization in Dallas, feeds families in need over the holidays. Fraizer and his wife joined the board of directors four years ago. “I think every kid should see how lucky they are that they have food,” said Fraizer. “That was ingrained in me, especially by my dad.”
Christmas Cheer does various canned food drives throughout the year, but the perishable items like meat and dairy products, are more difficult to obtain. Kazemier’s donation of ground beef and milk helped to feed 500 families this past Christmas. “Anything perishable like meat or milk or cheese is so expensive that getting a donation is massive,” says Fraizer.
Fraizer’s donation of time and effort is an easy decision. “I grew up in this town, I think it’s kind of selfish if I don’t [give back],” he said. “I also like that it’s local. I know exactly where the money is going”.
Kazemier shares Fraizer’s sentiments on giving back. “I’ve been blessed and I want to bless others,” he said.
Their lives barely ever intersect, except when pizza is delivered, but this dairy farm owner and franchisee partner together to not only make a high quality product for their customers, but also in giving back to their community.
These days, there are a lot of choices when it comes to ordering barista-crafted beverages, and it isn’t just about flavored syrups. Most of that latte, mocha or cappuccino you enjoy is comprised of milk (or alternatives), and at $4 to $6 a cup it’s an investment that you want to get right.
As individuals, we certainly have our own choices, and there are plenty of reasons to proudly order real milk in your favorite coffee beverage. Here are nine of them:
Many baristas prefer to use real milk for specialty coffee drinks. It has the right taste, creamy texture, and foams consistently when steamed because of its richness in protein.
Milk has one of the cleanest labels around. What you see is what you get, so you know exactly what you’re drinking when you order real milk.
About 90% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. are from transportation, power generation, industry, commercial and residential. Yet U.S. dairy’s impact is estimated at just two percent, and dairy farmers just keep improving their practices.
On average, real milk travels less than 100 miles from cow to coffee shop.
Dairy farmers are sustainable by nature. Their cows can eat food that humans can’t or don’t want to eat and upcycle it into milk. Farmers recycle water, use manure as natural fertilizer, regenerate their lands and some even generate renewable natural gas and electricity.
The dairy industry provides jobs and pays for services that support families in our rural communities. Dairy processing jobs also pay higher on average than others in the food processing sector, and those wages are spent locally.
Nutrient-dense milk is often called nature’s perfect beverage. It is packed with nine essential nutrients and is an especially good source of protein and calcium.
Dairy cows are well cared for. Farmers know that when they treat their cows well, the cows perform better. In addition to a nutritious diet and healthcare, many enjoy back scratchers, waterbeds, and climate-controlled shelters.
Real milk is affordable and a great value.
Dairy farmers work 365 days a year (366 days in 2020) to bring milk and dairy products to your local coffee shops, grocery stores and kitchen tables. They take great pride in caring for their employees, animals and natural resources. So the next time you order a triple “mochalatteccino” or whatever your go-to order is, make sure you ask for real milk, and raise a toast to your local dairy farmers!
What do Girl Scouts, a former NFL player, ice cream, scholarships and pizza have in common? They all made this year’s top 10 list of our most popular stories on odncouncil.org. Join as we count down the top stories of 2019, and see if you can guess which one took the number one spot. You might be surprised.
The order of this list was determined by people like you who visited our website and viewed our blog posts throughout the year. Thank you!
Without further ado, get the drum roll ready, and here we go:
Dairy tours can be enlightening for students who have never set foot on a farm or seen a cow in person. Since there’s no way to get all students to a dairy, this program uses technology to bring the dairy to the classroom.
It’s official: Oregon is home to the “best cheese in the world.” Rogue Creamery’s big win at the 2019 World Cheese Awards was a statement win, considering it was the first time an American cheese took top honors.
Girl Scouts from Oregon and SW Washington gathered at TMK Creamery in Canby in September to earn their Oregon Dairy Patch. And for many of the Girl Scouts, it was the first time they had seen a cow up close.
“Why do we give food to cows that could be used to feed people?” Tillamook dairy farmer Derrick Josi doesn’t just explain why that’s a bad idea, he shows you in an accompanying video.
This just in: college is expensive. Ok, so that’s not exactly breaking news. Maybe that’s why this list of scholarships was so popular among parents of students who are pursuing degrees in dairy and agriculture.
You know those cheap little frozen pizzas you get from the store that would work better as a Frisbee than a pizza? Or a disappointing delivery that looks nothing like the picture in the ads? Upgrade it using these tips!
Milk is one of the most requested but least available items in food banks across the country. This story was about an influx of milk from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Emergency Food Assistance Program.
A popular Rose Festival tradition dating back to 1973, the Milk Carton Boat Race attracts fans of all ages. Kids, adults and teams race handmade boats whose buoyancy depends upon recycled milk jugs and cartons.
Sports broadcaster and former professional football player Anthony Newman helped get the word out about this important program. It helped kids get tasty, healthy lunches when school was out for the summer.
Who doesn’t like ice cream? The crowdsourced Oregon Ice Cream Trail churned up a lot of attention for people eager to get the scoop on what shops made the list. People are still nominating locations to add to the trail, so stay tuned!
There were a couple of candidates for honorable mention. Our story about volunteer firefighter Steve Aamodt from 2018 could have made the list for still going strong in 2019. And knowing that our most frequently searched term is “DASH Diet,” it came as no surprise that this story from way back in 2017 asking “Is DASH the Best Diet … Ever?” is still getting attention.
So there you have it. That concludes last year’s list, but now you can help us with the next one for 2020. What unanswered questions do you have? What would you like to see us cover? Just let us know!
“Why do we give food to cows that could be used to feed people?”
Through this new video we produced with Oregon dairy farmer Derrick Josi (aka TDF Honest Farming), we’re answering this relatively common question by serving up a full helping of facts about what cows eat.
We’re always working to address confusion and misconceptions about dairy. With more than 400,000 views and counting, the video has started some beneficial and enlightening conversations on social media about food byproducts, ruminant digestion, animal nutrition, crop rotation, marginal agricultural land and more.
If you haven’t seen it yet, watch the video, and you’ll see it provides some good food for thought.
Much of cow feed is actually comprised of byproducts from producing food for humans. We can’t digest some of the food that ruminants like cows can. They upcycle feed that might otherwise go to waste, and they turn it into milk, which makes the dairy products that we enjoy.
Additionally, much of the land where cows are located is not ideal or even viable for other crops. “Two thirds of the world’s agricultural land is marginal, which means it cannot be used to grow crops because the soil is not sufficient or there’s not enough water,” says Dr. Frank Mitloehner, Department of Animal Science at the University of California, Davis. “We have to use that land for ruminant livestock, because it’s the only way to use it.”
Watch for upcoming videos addressing some other questions and misconceptions about dairy. If you’d like us to tackle one of your questions, just let us know!
LET US KNOW
Quinoa, kale, Brussels sprouts, tamales, green smoothies. These are all foods you might find in a trendy restaurant … or on a lunch tray in your local school cafeteria.
School lunches are fast overcoming their stereotypical reputation as bland and uninspired through some creativity and innovation by school nutrition professionals. On this National School Lunch Week, let’s take a look toward the future.
If you’ve ever tried to concentrate on something when you’re really hungry, you’ll understand that students don’t perform at their best without a nutritious lunch, which they won’t eat unless it tastes good. Schools are committed to providing great food in their cafeterias, and it can be challenging to be innovative when there are so many considerations, including:
• Making it tasty for a wide range of food preferences
• Making it easy to eat in a short period of time
• Cost and budgetary concerns
• Regulations and nutrition standards
• Allergies and dietary restrictions
• Sourcing and availability
• Food safety, storage and logistics
• Limiting food waste
Schools and school districts may operate differently, yet they share the common goal of providing meals their students actually want and will eat. These meals fuel students with the needed nutrients to grow and think. Improving menus can take some creativity, and that’s why culinary training events have proven so popular over the past nine years in Oregon.
Jessica Visinsky, a Registered Dietitian and trained chef, travels the state to teach child nutrition professionals about new recipes, knife skills, menu requirements and strategies to promote healthy eating. The trainings are sponsored by the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council and the Oregon Department of Education Child Nutrition Programs, and are offered at no cost to the schools.
As a result, school nutrition professionals are preparing more scratch recipes, often from the Oregon State University Food Hero program. Check out Food Hero for recipes that can be made at home and with kids. Students have responded positively. Many also explore farm to school opportunities to include seasonal fruits, vegetables and other local foods year-round.
The school lunch of the future will likely include more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Some are taking a serious look at plant-based diets and some are looking at local, sustainably sourced center-of-the-plate proteins such as seafood and beef. These are all complemented well by the nutrition provided in dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt. Restrictions will continue for sodium, sugar and unhealthy fat, driven by science and recommendations from USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
You don’t have to gaze into a crystal ball to see the future of school lunches is looking bright. On this National School Lunch Week, we salute all of those who work so hard to put nutritious and delicious foods on our students’ trays. Thank you!
Photos by Joy Foster
For the second year in a row, Girl Scouts from Oregon and SW Washington gathered for a day of fun and education as they earned their dairy patch. And for many of the Girl Scouts, this was the first time they had ever visited a farm or seen a cow up close.
The Oregon Dairy Patch curriculum was designed by the Girl Scouts of Oregon and SW Washington, Tillamook County Creamery Association, and the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council. With a focus on hands-on learning, it encourages Girl Scouts to visit a dairy farm, discover how milk is transformed into dairy products, explore dairy nutrition, and learn about careers in the dairy industry.
On September 29, TMK Dairy and Creamery invited the Girl Scouts to earn the dairy patch at a special “Dairy Day” event. Through four different station experiences on their farm, 100 eager Girl Scouts and their families had the opportunity to learn about dairy products from start to finish.
TMK Creamery is a small family farm that began 30 years ago when the owner Todd Koch purchased his first Holstein cow. “It all started with a 4-H project that went too far,” he says. In 1997, the milking herd had grown, so the Koch family built TMK Dairy, and in 2018 they opened a creamery where Koch’s sister Shauna and brother-in-law Bert Garza began making farmstead cheeses.
The Koch family is passionate about agriculture education and have designed their farm and creamery accordingly. Interested parties can schedule tours of the farm, or visit on Saturdays when the farm and creamery is open to the public.
For the Dairy Day event, the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council, in partnership with Oregon Aglink, Oregon State University Extension, Oregon Dairy Women and TMK designed the stations to follow the Girl Scouts Dairy Patch Curriculum.
At the first station, TMK’s herdsman Marc Koch taught the Girl Scouts about the milking process. They watched a cow be milked, and even had the opportunity to milk a cow by hand. At this station they also had the opportunity to see calves and learn that they are fed with bottles, their bedding is clean and dry, and their pens are spacious and warm.
Station two, led by OSU Extension representative Jenifer Cruickshank, was all about how farmers care for their cows though nutrition, bedding, barns and pasture. They discussed the difference in dairy breeds and even had the opportunity to pet TMK’s “cowlebrities.”
At station three, Shauna Garza from TMK explained how milk from their cows gets made into delicious cheese. The Girl Scouts were able to look into the creamery through the windows of TMK’s boutique tasting room, where they learned about the importance of keeping the state-of-the-art equipment and facilities clean. Then, Mallory Phelan from Aglink and Tillamook County’s Dairy Princess Ambassador, Araya Wilks, led the group in a fun game designed to demonstrate the many career opportunities in agriculture.
The Girl Scouts were able to finish their patch requirements at the last station, led by the Klamath County Dairy Princess Ambassador, Jaime Evers, as she talked about the importance of dairy in a well-balanced diet, and then the Girl Scouts were able to “taste test” delicious cheese that was made right there on the farm.
“The Oregon Dairy Patch program is a great opportunity for girls to discover the local food chain. It encourages them to be curious about where their food comes from, and what it takes to get it from the farm to the factory to their table,” said Lisa Gilham-Luginbill, Program Manager for Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington. “We hope they’ll learn something new along the way, and perhaps discover an interest or future career in the process.”
It’s a staple of American households and often tops the grocery list, but for many low-income families, having milk in the refrigerator can be a rarity. According to the Great American Milk Drive, people served by food banks receive less than one gallon per person per year on average. In Oregon, that statistic is changing.
Thanks to an influx of milk provided through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Emergency Food Assistance Program, the Oregon Food Bank network has been distributing nutritious skim, 1%, 2%, and whole milk every week to local families and individuals. So far, this has totaled nearly 160,000 gallons.
While it is great news, this did pose some challenges due to perishability, refrigeration capacity and logistics. In what they described as ‘a flurry of activity,’ Oregon Food Bank staff welcomed the distribution challenge and overcame stumbling blocks in coordination with Oregon’s 20 regional food banks to get the product in and out to communities as quickly as possible.
“This is a highly valuable and needed product across our region, and we’ve gotten really strong support from our partners in adjusting systems and processes that allow us to accept incredibly high volumes of milk,” said Gretchen Miller, Sourcing and Operations Strategist for Oregon Food Bank. “It’s more than we ever have in the past. What we’re happiest about is that we’re able to get fresh, high quality milk into the food insecure communities we serve.”
This milk provides a temporary supply to meet ongoing demand, and there are still long term needs to be addressed when it comes to fighting hunger in Oregon. You can help make a difference by contributing to the Oregon Food Bank and/or the Great American Milk Drive.
by Josie Oleson
Graduate Student in Clinical Nutrition
Oregon Health & Science University
As a student of nutrition, I know a lot about what people eat. It wasn’t until I visited a dairy farm that I learned what cows eat and how well they eat while producing the milk and dairy products we love. During my time on the farm, I discovered three ways that cows set a good example for the rest of us during National Nutrition Month and beyond.
When was the last time you saw a dietitian? Cow nutritionists visit dairy farms regularly and observe the herds, analyze the nutritional quality of their feed, and see how much milk the cows are producing. Using that information, a cow nutritionist can change the components of their feed to make the herd as healthy as possible.
Cows get a specific mix of grasses, grains, and byproducts from food processing to support a balanced diet. Cow nutritionists ensure the feed ingredients are in the right amounts for optimal cow health and milk production.
What happens if the cows get off track? Here’s Derrick Josi from Wilsonview Dairy having a talk with his Jersey cows about the importance of following a nutritious diet and not eating empty calories.
Almond hulls and citrus pulp are some of the byproducts from food production that are added to cow feed. Humans can’t digest these things, yet they are full of fiber and other nutrients. Instead of going to waste, cows can digest them and convert them into nutritious milk.
These are just a few of the ways cows stay at their best thanks to a healthy diet. Dairy farmers and their nutritionists are helping keep their herds healthy, making milk more efficiently, and managing their farms more sustainably.