Behind the Scenes: One Family’s First-hand Account on Visiting Georgia Dairy Farms
In March, we partnered with Bethany Armstrong, blogger for Mom of Wild Things. The blog is the perfect compellation of the things in Bethany’s life that she highly values; like raising readers, taking her three kids on adventures and enjoying good food – all of which is why partnering with her made perfect sense. And as part of the partnership, Bethany spent the spring touring Georgia dairy farms with her children in hopes to help close the educational gap between farm and fridge.
Can you give us a little bit of background on yourself and your family?
My name is Bethany Armstrong and I am a blogger for Mom of Wild Things (this is a play on words and nod to one of my favorite children’s books, Where the Wild Things Are). My blog focuses on raising readers and taking your family on fun adventures. I hope to inspire people to read with their kids, and ways to be intentional about spending time with their family. My husband and I have 3 children who are under the age of six . We live in Gainesville, Georgia.
Over the last few months, you have visited two dairy farms and one milk processing plant as part of your partnership with Milk on My Mind. Can you tell us why you partnered with Milk on My Mind?
Around the time Milk on My Mind contacted me, I had begun to wonder how to teach my kids about local farmers and where our food comes from. This seemed like a perfect way to quench my curiosity, teach my kids and share that knowledge with my readers.
What about this initiative intrigued you the most?
As a family, we drink a lot of milk, so I was excited to spend time with the dairy farmers on their farms. I was also excited to see my kids connect the dots between cows on the dairy farm and the milk in our refrigerator. It was also important to me to really understand the challenges dairy farmers face and how they work to provide exceptional care for their cows.
Prior to partnering with Milk on My Mind, had you or your family ever visited a dairy farm?
No, we had not. Prior to my Milk on My Mind partnership, I didn’t know visiting a dairy farm was an option. It has been a great experience and I highly encourage everyone take time to visit a dairy farm.
In March you toured the Mayfield Dairy Milk Processing Plant. Can you tell us a little bit about your visit and what you learned?
When we visited the Mayfield Dairy, we learned how they process and package milk, and how they make sure the milk is safe for consumers to drink. I was fascinated to actually see the lab where they tested the milk. I distinctly remember feeling good about the quality and safety of milk my kids drink.
You can read all about Bethany’s visit to Mayfield Dairy here.
In April you visited Mountain Fresh Creamery. Can you share your experience and how this visit differed from your tour of the Mayfield Dairy Milk Processing Plant?
Mountain Fresh Creameryreally explained the “farm to table” aspect of their dairy farm. Mountain Fresh Creamery has their own milk processing plant on the farm, so it was really amazing to see the cows who had provided the milk we had just consumed.
You can read all about Bethany’s visit to Mountain Fresh Creamery here.
The most recent farm you toured was Southern Swiss Dairy in Waynesboro, Georgia. How did this farm differ from Mountain Fresh Creamery?
Our biggest take away from our visit to Southern Swiss Dairy was FARMERS CARE FOR THEIR COWS. I’m sorry to shout, but that made a huge impact on me. I loved seeing the cows move towards the farmer on our visit; that showed me how much the animals love the farmers. But, seeing the farmer get emotional and tear up about losing a cow was equally powerful. The cows aren’t just the dairy farmer’s livelihood, they are part of the dairy farmer’s family.
You can read all about Bethany’s visit to Southern Swiss Dairy here.
What are the top three things you learned about dairy farming/farmers?
- Milk is SUPER safe to drink (it is tested numerous times before reaching consumers)
- Farmers make sure their cows have the best treatment possible (a content and healthy cow produces a better-quality milk)
- Antibiotics are never in the milk. (For instance, at Southern Swiss Dairy, they showed us how they separate milk that comes from a cow on an antibiotic.)
What was one thing about dairy farming/farmers that you were surprised to discover?
I was surprised by the emotion; just like anything, if you are passionate about something, you get emotional. The dairy farmers really care and they are passionate about healthy cows and consumers receiving a superb product. Their desire to connect with consumers meant they were patient and willing to explain things so kids and adults alike could understand.
Would you recommend other families touring dairy farms?
Absolutely! In fact, I’ve been encouraging ALL my friends and family to visit a local dairy farm! It’s a great field trip and as a parent, I walked away with valuable information, and my kids had a blast (they have already started asking for another dairy farm tour!!!).
What is your general takeaway of the dairy farming in Georgia?
Georgia dairy farmers are doing their very best to make sure consumers are receiving a quality product. When we support local dairy farms, we are directly supporting a local business. This helps our local and state economy thrive. Another thing I deeply appreciate about supporting local dairy farms is that we truly know where our food comes from. It is truly a farm to table experience.
What is your favorite dairy food?
Probably ice cream. Although we also purchase about 2-3 gallons of milk each week!
What do youwant people who don’t consume dairy foods to know?
Dairy farmers love and take great care of their cows. If you have questions, dairy farmers are eager to answer.