Welcome to My Ohio Dairy Adventure, and a huge THANKS to the American Dairy Association Mideast for having me!
Just a few fantastic pictures to get us started! FYI: There’s plenty more to come, below.
You guyyyys, what.an.experience. Wow. For those that follow me on Instagram and Snapchat, thank you and I am so happy you were able to follow along on My Ohio Dairy Adventure!
A couple of weeks ago, I headed to Cleveland, Ohio to hang out with several bloggy friends and learn about all-things-dairy, including cows, cheeses, dairy farms, and school breakfasts.
Also? I had dinner with Cleveland Browns’ Offensive Lineman, Joe Thomas. Yeah… I did. EVIDENCE ⤵
That’s his daughter and I doing “THE Twist”. I think that makes us BFFs.
More about that later, but I had to brag. 😀
First, can we discuss this amazing hotel?! This is the Hyatt Regency Cleveland at The Arcade, and it is where I got to spend two fabulous days.
Soon after arriving, I had to head downstairs to a private room where we were introduced to, and educated about different cheeses and how to pair them with wine. Needless to say, I was in Wine & Cheese Heaven.
After my food coma, and a beautiful 4 hours of sleep, I woke up to get ready and head to the Farm! This was so exciting for me because it took me back to when I was little and would go with my Grandma to watch her milk the cow and her goats!
We arrived at the beautiful Richman Farms bright and early to learn about cows, milk, and the life of a dairy farmer.
We got there just in time for the first milking, and THAT ⬆ is me doing the deed! I think I’m a natural because I got a squirt of milk at the first squeeze.
Few facts that I learned from our wonderful hosts, The Indoes:
- Cows weigh 1300-1500 pounds and they produce over 6 gallons of milk in A DAY.
- Cows are also taken care of very, very well. They treat them like their own children! Access to fresh water, nutritious feed, and they live in airy and super comfortable barns.
- Milk is one of the most nutrient-dense beverages, containing 9 essential nutrients.
On our next stop, we went to a much bigger farm called Clardale Farms, and while there, I got to feed this calf!
I look terrified, but that wasn’t it. The calf was tugging on that jug SO hard and that is the look on my face when I’m trying to hold onto something with all my power and strength.
Another interesting event during this particular visit, a cow gave birth to a calf in front of our eyes! This picture was taken only moments after the calf was born.
Look at the proud Mama! My heart was melting.
In the meantime, Frank Burkett, who co-owns and manages Clardale Farms, gave us a full tour of the farm and talked to us about the benefits of cow’s milk, about transportation of milk, all the gazillion guidelines, and that dairy foods are among the safest and most tested foods in the USA. He was a wealth of knowledge.
We later hopped back on our rock star tour bus and stopped at a local Amish community for lunch!
Lunch was prepared by the sweetest Amish ladies, and the food was BE.YOND. Green beans, mashed potatoes, chicken, noodles, bread, a peanut butter spread, and a homemade PUMPKIN PIE!
After lunch, or before lunch… I can’t remember exactly… but we also stopped at Pearl Valley Cheese to see the production of my favorite food group, CHEESE. We went behind the scenes and saw the entire cheese-making process.
Pearl Valley Cheese is actually one of the largest producers of Swiss Cheese in America. I bought 2 wheels and they’re both already gone. #happybelly
They also produce 20,000 pounds of cheese A DAY. You know I’d be one happy employee!
Afterwards, we headed back to our hotel rooms to wash up, dress up, and eat up!
In fact, we had dinner at Cleveland Browns Stadium, where we met Browns tackle, Joe Thomas. Joe works with Fuel Up to Play 60, a program sponsored by the NFL and the National Dairy Council that encourages today’s students and youth to lead healthier lives.
The next morning, we headed to a local school for breakfast where we learned about the school’s breakfast program. Each morning, the students receive milk, along with a balanced breakfast meal. According to all involved, without this program, many students would not eat breakfast at all, and many families can’t afford to provide breakfast at home, every morning.
I mostly enjoyed hanging out with these two for a little bit. They were funny, talkative, super smart, and so, so beautiful. Their teacher is one lucky lady. As are they! The teacher was ah-may-zing.
Later on we made a delicious pit stop at Melt Bar & Grilled, and what a stop it was! Grilled Cheese Sandwiches GALORE. I did not know what menu item to look at first. There was the Peanut Butter and Banana Grilled Cheese, the Monte Cristo, the Lake Erie Monster, the MAC & CHEESE, and many, so many more.
⬆That right up there is a peek at what food bloggers do when they see food – take pictures of it!
As the above photo suggests, I took a bite of everything they brought out, minus the bread… I was trying to avoid some of the carbs… smh.
With a full belly and a load of information, I was ready to hop on that plane and head home to recreate the Amish’s mouthwatering green beans and Melt’s damn good Peanut Butter and Banana Grilled Cheese Sandwich!
Thank you to the ADA for an incredible experience!