November and December were a complete whirl for this GGG girl. I was on-the-go both personally and professionally and let me tell you, once the holidays passed, I was spent. Finally, I am catching up, gathering my breath and reflecting on how amazing 2014 was.
A highlight of my year was the wine and culinary weekend I attended in November courtesy of the American Dairy Association & American Dairy Council New York State Dairy Tour (#NYSDairyTour2014). This wonderfully memorable weekend brought me to upstate New York at the beautiful Lake Geneva (wine country) where I got the chance to stay at a beautiful hotel, tour some fantastic dairy plants and farms and cook the night away at the New York Wine and Culinary Center.
My New York State Dairy Tour weekend began after a picturesque 5-hour drive to upstate New York. The drive was truly breathtaking and was the perfect start to the weekend. Once I arrived I checked in at the gorgeous Geneva on the Lake in Geneva, New York. I just can’t say enough about this property. If the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” than these photos should speak millions.
Saturday started with the group visiting the Cayuga Milk Ingredients Plant. I was one of the first bloggers to step inside the $101 million plant which opened in June 2014. This plant has been described as a one-of-a-kind facility in the United States and is where high quality milk is separated into high-quality components that are added to other products to boost nutritional value. Many of the products we eat and drink today benefit from this process and helps to extend the shelf life up to 18 months.
After looking at the production plant we then headed off to a behind-the scenes peek at a working dairy farm. Patterson Farms is a sixth-generation, 2,400 acre crop and dairy farm located in Auburn, New York and founded in 1832.
During our time at Patterson Farms we got to see and experience examples of efficient technology like GPS and pedometers (on cows) and view the milking parlor and stables. The cows are milked three times a day and get about 60 days of rest each year to roam the pastures, relax and restore (I could handle 60 days off, how about you?). I was impressed with the humane treatment of the cows at the farm, how the farm uses and recycles various materials produced on the farm (including the cow poop which they turn into methane) and connection between the farm workers/caretakers and the cows. The farmers know each of the cows and their personalities, jokingly referring to them as their “ladies.” Can you imagine the poor men working on these farms, they are surrounded by over 1,000 females (as in female cows) each day?
The highlight of my visit to Patterson Farms was the chance to feed a baby calf . At first I was a little hesitant to do so but then I thought to myself, “When will I get an opportunity to feed a baby calf again?” So, I went for it and here’s what I can say, baby calfs are strong – but super cute.
After checking out how milk is processed and produced we then took off to the New York Wine and Culinary Center for some hands on inspiration on how to cook with dairy foods under the instruction of executive chef Jeffory McLean. I was most excited about this part of the weekend. Any chance to cook in a gorgeous culinary center under the direction of an accomplished chef is enough for me.
Chef Jeff walked us through four recipes by first demonstrating simple techniques and important points about each recipe.
The recipes for the hands-on cooking class included a Roasted Garlic and Red Pepper Greek Yogurt Spread on Crudites and Crostini where farm-fresh greek yogurt is combined with roasted garlic and red bell pepper to form a creamy spread to be dipped with crostini and raw vegetables; Inside-Out Poutine which featured flavored cheese curd covered in breaded mashed potatoes and deep-fried with a side of brown gravy; Caramelized Cheese Crisps stuffed with Pulled Chicken where disks of shredded cheese was baked until golden and shaped into cups. The cups are then filled with shredded chicken and topped with a Greek yogurt sauce; and Chocolate Brownie and Vanilla Ice Cream Bites involved hand-made brownie cups topped with delicious vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup.
I was thrilled to experience a New York State Dairy Tour weekend courtesy of the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council. I learned a lot of milk production and had a chance to speak to industry experts about the importance of dairy and how products manufactured at the Cayuga Milk Ingredients Plant today can feed children in South America and the Middle East in just a few short months.
Special thanks for the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council for the invitation to attend their New York State Dairy Tour weekend.
Can’t wait to see where GGG ends up next.
The American Dairy Association and Dairy Council is a nonprofit nutrition education organization funded by dairy producers in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Their goal is to educate consumers, media and health professionals on the health benefits of dairy.
GGG was invited on a press tour by the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council. The American Dairy Association and Dairy Council paid for my travel and hotel accommodations, as well as all meals, tours and cooking experiences. The invitation did not influence my opinions and as always, opinions are my own.
This post was written by food blogger Linda Arceo for Giggles, Gobbles and Gulps. All rights reserved.