June Dairy Month, an annual celebration that began in 1937, is traditionally a time to reflect on dairy foods and the industry that makes it possible. It was created as a promotion to help distribute extra milk when cows started on pasture in the summer months. Today, its rich history continues, with communities, companies and people from all over the country observing June Dairy Month in a variety of ways.
In the Midwest, dairy farms and families often open their gates to visitors at breakfasts and tours, while grocery stores and other businesses feature dairy products during the month. America's heartland -- from North Dakota to Arkansas -- is home to more than 11,000 dairy farms and the people behind the products -- dairy farmers. And while these farms may differ, dairy farmers share a passion for their livelihoods and in producing wholesome, nutritious dairy products for people of all ages to enjoy.
Nutrient-rich dairy foods are one of the most economical sources of nutrition. Together, they provide nine essential nutrients, including calcium, potassium, protein and vitamin D. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourages children and adults to enjoy three servings of low-fat or fat-free milk, cheese or yogurt every day. And at just 25 cents per glass, milk provides one of the richest sources of well-absorbed calcium in the American diet.
In time for June Dairy Month, two dairy farm moms -- Kristine Spadgenske from Spadgenske Dairy in Menahga, Minn. and Kay Klassen from Klassen Inc. Dairy in Hillsboro, Kan. -- have each shared their favorite summertime dairy recipe. Even with all of the time constraints of running their family's dairy farm, these two moms know how important it is to have nutritious meals and snacks on hand for their families. Kristine's Summer Fruit & Pasta Toss could serve as a light meal or side dish and is nutrient-rich and colorful. Kay's Orange Cream Chiller is a delightful refresher loaded with calcium and vitamin C that is perfect any time of the day.
Consumers are invited to visit Midwest Dairy's website www.midwestdairy.com to learn more about dairy farmers and the dairy industry, plus get nutrition tips and more delicious dairy recipes.
Dairy Fast Facts
* 99 percent of all U.S. dairy farms are family owned
* Most milk is transported 100 miles or less from farm to grocery store
* There are dairy farms in all 50 U.S. states and Puerto Rico
* It takes 3 cups of broccoli to equal the calcium in one cup of milk.
* An 8-ounce service of low-fat plain yogurt contains 490 milligrams of potassium; about the same as a banana.
* One ounce of hard cheese (like Cheddar) contains 8 grams of protein; an egg contains 6 grams.