Late Season Snow Hits Utah

Late Season Snow - Hay Barn

Late Season Snow on the Farm – the Hay Barn at Munk Farms – Amalga, UT

Utah had weather confusion this year. After one of the hottest-driest winters on record, A late season snow storm hit Utah this week that in some areas dropped over a foot of snow, downed trees and caused traffic accidents. Depending on what you had to do on Wednesday, it was either a welcomed treat (skiers rejoiced to 3 feet of fresh powder in the mountains!) or a bit of an annoyance.

How did our farmers feel about it?

Kyle Anderson farms with his son in Newton, Utah. He said that for them the storm was “great,” dropping some desperately needed water to help his crops. “What really worries us with a late season storm,” says Kyle, “is the potential for frost, but the overnight low wasn’t too bad, so our crops are just fine.”

This storm also brought with it a significant amount of wind. “Wind can be really tough on range animals, but dairy farmers in our area have covered corrals for their cattle,” says Kyle. “It can be a problem if the roof blows off, but we were fortunate and didn’t sustain any damage.”

Tammy Munk farms with her family just a few miles south of the Andersons. She says, “the snow wasn’t much of a problem for our crops. It may have slowed down our hay growth just a little, but overall it was wonderful. Everything was so dry, it was a blessing to get that much moisture.” She is also a photographer and just before it melted, captured these shots of her farm (and cows) in the snow.

cows in the snow

The Munk’s cows don’t seem to mind a bit of the white stuff

Now the snow is almost gone and we are looking ahead to a weekend in the high 60’s. The adage, “If you don’t like the weather, stick around a minute,” absolutely holds true this spring in the mountains.

The Munk Farm in snow

The Munk Farm in snow

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A Tour to Explore the Dairy Industry in Utah

UofU Farm Tour - April 2015

The UofU group at Batemans Mosida Farms

Last Friday, we had the opportunity to take University of Utah masters students on a farm tour.

And this wasn’t your typical farm tour, it was an all-day food system (large-scale and small-scale) experience. We had fun, and our hope is that by getting students to the farm, we are able to offer a unique opportunity outside of the classroom – a chance for students to see and experience what happens on the farm and how dairy foods get from the cow to the refrigerator at both ends of the spectrum – large-scale processing and small-batch production.

This is worth doing every year for students – useful update and just plain fun!

-Tour Participant

We started at Batemens Mosida Farms – Utah’s largest dairy farm, which is currently milking 7,100 cows. We saw a calf just after she was born, watched the milking process, and had the chance to get up-close-and personal with some of the “girls” on the farm.

just born calf

A Jersey cow cleans off her new born calf at Batemans Mosida Farms

On the milk parlor floor

On the milk parlor floor

Meeting the cows

Meeting the cows

From there, we went on to Dannon’s processing plant in West Jordan. The facility is one of seven the French-based company has in the US & Canada. Watching machines take rolls of plastic and turn them into yogurt cups, fill them, seal them and then send them to cold storage before automated forklifts lifted pallets and took them onto refrigerated trucks was pretty amazing!

With the rise in popularity of Greek-style yogurt, this particular plant has grown in recent years and invested in state-of the-art equipment to create the high-protein products. This plant now processes 60-65% of the company’s total Greek market. All of the milk in the West Jordan facility comes from Utah farmers, and those farmers help feed a nation.

Tour of Dannon

Prepping for the Dannon plant tour

From the west side of the Salt Lake Valley we went east, up into the mountains to Midway to visit Canyon View Farm and Heber Valley Artisan Cheese. The Kohler family uses the milk from its 150 Holstein dairy cows to make unique, artisanal-style cheeses. Russel Kohler is the fourth generation to raise his family on the farm, and opening the cheese plant 4 years ago meant that farming remained a viable way of life for him and his family.

Cheese making room at Heber Valley Artisan Cheese

Russel Kohler shows the group where cheese is made

the cheese cave

Grant Kohler shows us a 25lb wheel of cheese in the cheese cave

Through farm tour experiences such as this, our goal is to introduce students to agriculture and help them answer some fundamental questions:

  • Who are our farmers?
  • Where are their farms?
  • How are foods processed and distributed?
  • What does agriculture look like?
  • Where does my food come from?

We feel that there is no better way to understand these concepts than to go to the source and have a look for yourself.

I want to see more types of farms and food production. It is a great thing for dietitians to be fully informed. 

– Tour Participant

If you are interested in a farm tour, please contact us.

What cows eat

Hands-On!

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Homemade Ravioli – An Italian Easter Tradition

When my grandmother passed away, we spent time as a family reminiscing – going through her home, her things, and sharing our favorite memories. As we discussed who would get certain items, I had two things that I desperately wanted in my home to remember her by and continue her legacy. Both items had lived in her kitchen, and both reminded me (and still do) wholly of her. One was her pasta maker. My grandmother always hosted Easter dinner; full-blooded Italian, she and my grandfather made homemade ravioli and homemade Italian sausage every year. It was our family’s tradition, and we looked forward to that meal for 364.5 days – from the last bite of ravioli one year, we were already already thinking about the next year. It was the one thing I could’t resist eating the spring I had my wisdom teeth out and was sidelined for two weeks with pain and black and blue chipmunk cheeks. They were delicious and such a special reminder of our family heritage and the importance of tradition.

So when Grandma Olga died, I made a promise that I would continue the ravioli making tradition, and so far, even if I have made them just for two people, started the process at 2:00pm Easter Sunday, or made and frozen them until we had time to sit down and enjoy as a family, we have kept our word, and our Italian tradition continues. My ravioli are slightly different than Grandma’s – maybe less traditional Italian, but they are homemade with love and nothing feels more like Easter than pulling out the pasta maker and filling sheets of fresh dough with ricotta cheese and herbs.

PASTA:

I start with a fresh, egg-based pasta dough. I don’t have Grandma’s original recipe, but it was simple, and generally pasta dough is extremely simple – eggs and flour. For a special, richer dough, you can use additional egg yolks or semolina flour or special Italian 00 Flour. (Here’s a simple pasta recipe from Mario Batali). You can add fresh herbs or ground pepper to the dough for a twist, and typically our Easter ravioli include herbs from recently rejuvenated perennial plants, like thyme, sage, and rosemary.

Rolling pasta sheets

Rolling out pasta dough for ravioli

I roll out the dough until it is fairly thin – usually the second to thinnest section on the pasta maker. I keep the dough moist and workable by placing each sheet between layers of thin, slightly damp dish towels (the lightweight flour sack kind).

FILLING:

While the noodles are resting, or preferably before, I mix up the filling. (If you make the filling in advance, cover and keep in the refrigerator.) While you can add whatever you like to the inside of the dough, I like to keep it simple and somewhat traditional, so my filling includes ricotta cheese, egg, grated Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and fresh herbs. (Sometimes I’ll add chopped Prosciutto.) When I have time, I will make the ricotta cheese fresh the day before.

Filling homemade ravioli

Filling the ravioli

To fill the ravioli, I lay out one noodle sheet either on a slightly floured counter, cutting board or a piece of parchment paper, and drop 1-2 tbsp size mounds in a line along one side, leaving enough room between each mound and the edge of the sheet for sealing. To seal, you can either fold the top edge over to meet the bottom edge of the pasta sheet OR you can spread out another line of the filling across the top and cover with a second sheet of dough.

Sealing the ravioli

Sealing the ravioli

To seal, run a wet finger along each edge of the pasta sheet before matching up the second layer of pasta. The water will act like glue with the dough and keep the filling inside. Then take a sharp knife and cut around the filling, leaving enough of an edge to prevent breakage and leaking.

filled and sealed ravioli

Filled and sealed ravioli

 

Filled and cut ravioli

Filled and cut homemade ravioli

I place the completed stuffed and cut ravioli onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. If you plan to cook immediately (same day), they can be added directly to a pot of boiling water from the cookie sheet. If you would like to save, place the cookie sheets in the freezer. Once the ravioli are individually frozen, place them in plastic Ziploc bags to store in the freezer for later use. When you are ready to cook, they can be added directly to boiling water from the freezer.

Grandma served her ravioli with a homemade red sauce and sausage. While we haven’t traditionally made the sausage, (my sister carries on that tradition), we will buy local Italian sausage and whip up a red sauce, or we will opt for no sausage and toss the ravioli in a bit of olive oil and shave some Parmesan over the top for a lighter, fresh, spring meal.

Aidan helps make ravioli

Aidan helps make ravioli

Making ravioli can be a bit time consuming, but it’s a simple, fun process that is absolutely worth the wait. (Kiddos like to help!)

The other item of Grandma’s that is now in my kitchen is an ornamental Tyrolean sheep bell with a recipe printed on it. Also a remembrance of our Italian heritage, it hung in Grandma Olga’s kitchen and now hangs in mine. I love it, and someday, I will make the recipe that is painted on the front of the bell.

But for now, a very Happy Easter!

 kristi

Happy Easter

Happy Easter

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Kids on the Farm

harward busses farm field days 2015 In the course of 4 days, over 5,000 2nd graders will visit Harward Farms in Springville, UT as part of the Utah Farm Bureau’s Farm Field Days event.   At a series of stations, kids learn about soil, farmers, farm equipment, what it takes to grow food, and ultimately, nutrition and its impact on our bodies. Many of us do not have direct ties to agriculture, and the gap is only increasing with each generation. Giving children a tangible opportunity to experience – smell, see, taste, and feel where their food comes from, not only provides a valuable, memorable lesson, but it’s fun!

During this interactive day, our state dairy ambassadors have a blast talking about milk and its journey from the farm to your fridge.   If your child’s school doesn’t participate, reach out to the Utah Farm Bureau and your school administration to see if the opportunity can be added to your child’s curriculum.  Or, if you are a farmer interested in hosting an educational tour of your farm, contact the Dairy Council of Utah/Nevada or Utah Agriculture in the Classroom. Then you can ask, “what did you learn on the farm today?” 

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Utah Cheese Pairing Guide

Utah Cheese Pairing Guide

We love all things with cheese, and the bottom line is that there are no hard-fast rules to pairings – enjoy what you like and what tastes good to you.

But…

There are a few classic pairings, and Utah has some wonderful cheesemakers to check out. (A few months back we did an individual profile on each of these Utah Cheesemakers, so check out the in-depth posts, if you are looking for more – links below.) Here we offer some classic pairings from a recent workshop with dietitian and culinary professional, Amy Myrdal Miller, as well as our fresh-off-the-press, Utah Cheese Pairing Guide for you to download.

Woodland Blue Cheese

Gold Creek Farms – Woodland Blue

Blue Cheese + Honey + Walnuts

Blue cheese is noted for its crumbly texture and silky consistency. The blue veins are actually a mold produced most-commonly by a bacteria in the Penicillin family. It has a piquant, earthy flavor that varies among styles. Gold Creek Farms in Kamas, Utah recently started making their Woodland Blue. It’s a special, unique cheese that definitely deserves a try.

Why honey and walnuts? the sweetness of the honey pairs nicely with the strong, earthy flavor of the blue cheese. And walnuts, especially when they are toasted, complement the blue’s rich flavor.

Beehive Cheese Promontory Cheddar

Beehive Cheese Promontory Cheddar

Cheddar +  Apple: 

Cheddars can vary considerably based on aging time and conditions. Generally, cheddar cheese sharpens and becomes increasingly crumbly and granular with age. Pairing an aged cheddar with a crisp, cool apple is refreshing and cozy. This pairing works cooked in recipes or with room-temperature cheese and a cool apple. Consider adding sliced apples and a wedge of cheddar cheese to your next appetizer tray. A couple Utah cheesemakers specialize in cheddar – Beehive Cheese & Heber Valley Artisan Cheese.

Rockhill Cheese Peppercorn Gouda

Rockhill Cheese Peppercorn Gouda

Gouda +  Tomatoes:

Gouda is known for its rich flavor. The coating found on many Gouda’s is added to prevent the cheese from drying out. It can be consumed young or aged and the consistency and characteristics change with age. Let this classic pairing take you in any direction – soup, grilled cheese sandwiches, macaroni and cheese…used smoked Gouda or one of Rockhill Cheese’s Goudas (Farmhouse or Peppercorn) and add smokiness by roasting or grilling the tomatoes.

Download our Utah Cheese Pairing Guide

More about each of Utah’s cheese makers:

-Kristi Spence

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Roasted Veggie Pizza

Roasted Vegetable Pizza

When I was a teenager, my mother insisted that I wake up early one summer morning to learn to make bread with our elderly neighbor. She was an early riser and liked to make her bread before the heat of the day. So instead of sleeping in and enjoy my lazy summer day, I was up and in my neighbor’s kitchen by 6 am. Roasted Vegetable Pizza

She shared her recipes for whole wheat and white bread and tips and tricks to get it perfect. Afterward, I was excited to try my hand and starting making bread for my family. Then I wanted to try other bread items and pizza crust was next on the list. I have been making this pizza crust (with variations of white and wheat flour amounts) since I was a teenager and my family (and now husband) love it.

Roasted Vegetable PizzaI like to make all sorts of pizza varieties, but one of my favorites is roasted veggie. You can use any vegetables from asparagus to zucchini. This time I used asparagus, onion, and bell pepper. It seems simple but with sharp parmesan cheese, garlic, and balsamic vinegar, you get a rich complex flavor so yummy you might eat half a pizza in one sitting (oops). Enjoy!

Roasted Vegetable Pizza

Roasted Vegetable Pizza

For the Crust:

  • 1 Tbsp yeast
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 -2 cup whole wheat flour

Roasted Vegetables

  • 3-5 cups of vegetables of choice
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder

Toppings for Pizza

  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • balsamic vinegar

First chop the vegetables of choice and toss with enough olive oil to coat. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic and roast at 450 for about 15 minutes (more or less depending on vegetable choice). Remove from oven and set aside.

Place pizza stone in oven and allow to heat to 450. Add yeast and warm water into mixing bowl and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Mix in the rest of the ingredients, flour last. Start with 1 1/2 cup flour and add more as needed until a ball forms and the sides of the mixer are clean. Knead 5 minutes and allow to rest 10 minutes. Knead again and let rest another 10 minutes. Roll out, until round and thin ¼ inch. Bake the crust at 450 for 7 minutes. Remove from oven and rub with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese. Add roasted veggies and pine nuts. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.  Then put back in the oven and heat until cheese melts, about 3 minutes.

Roasted Vegetable Pizza

Printer Friendly Roasted Vegetable Pizza

Megan

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Cheese – A Chef’s Perspective

From our many blog posts on this topic, you may have noticed that we at the Dairy Council love cheese! We love the flavor, texture, nutrition, and well…. just everything. We felt we were not alone in our love of cheese and wanted to get a Chef’s perspective so we met up with Tyler Ehlert who is the head chef and culinary creative mind at McKay Dee Hospital in Ogden Utah. Tyler has transformed “hospital food” into tasty dishes that patients, staff, and vistors enjoy. From the bistro to the cafe, the food is delicious!

McKay Dee Hospital

McKay Dee Hospital – Ogden, UT

 

Tyler is a fellow cheese lover and likes to use Beehive Cheese which is one of our award winning cheese makers in the state and located just down the road from McKay Dee Hospital. He was kind enough to do a Q&A session with us and provide some amazing recipes highlighting cheese!

1. How long have you been a chef? I started down this path 24 years ago.

2. What made you decide this career path? My mother is a classically trained chef. I also grew up with an extended family of wonder home style cooks.

3. What do you like most about working at the hospital? I love the challenge of working with patients that can’t have all the fat and sodium that is normally associated with a good tasting meal.

4. Do you cook a lot at home? Yes…I love to cook, no matter where I am. Luckily, my wife is a wonderful cook as well.

5. What do you like about cheese? Good cheese (not cheese paste☺) has such wonderful versatility. It can add gorgeous texture to sauce or soup, or much needed flavor to your salad.

6. Do you prefer it melted or solid, why? This depends on the recipe…but if you really want to taste what great cheese has to offer…eat it solid. From there you can figure out what to do with it.

7. What is your favorite way to utilize cheese. I like to keep it simple. I love to pair great cheese with fresh grapes, flat bread and some nice dark chocolate. Our bistro customers seem to love it as well.

8. When you are trying to decide to use cheese in a recipe what do you consider? Texture and sharpness of flavor are very important. Some classic pairs are a good parmesan with prosciutto and strawberries or a ripe pear and Manchego melted over a grilled portabello.

9. If you had extra cheese how would you decide what to do with it? At home…this never happens. All extra cheese is eaten…quickly…usually with some fresh fruit. At work…we will take the end cuts of a locally sourced Promontory, shred it and add it to our gourmet grilled cheese sandwich served at our Bistro.

10. When do you think expensive, artisan cheeses are worth the money to use in recipes? I believe you get what you pay for. You can use less cheese if the flavor is better. 1 oz of wonderful artisan cheese can go as far flavor wise in your salad as 3 oz of milder, less pricey cheese.

11. How do you highlight the flavor of the cheese with other ingredients? This is where one of our local partners (Beehive Cheese) comes in. If you start with an outstanding cheese, it is easy to highlight. Take Aggiano for example…the recipe for this Utah State University cheese has been shared with Beehive. It has a wonderful citrus (almost pineapple) finish. Cheese that has this much depth of flavor is easy to pair with other ingredients.

12. Do you have a favorite cheese? I love Aggiano and Beehive’s Promontory Cheddar. Manchego is also one of my favorites. My tastes have changed over the years…like many of us, I grew up eating cheddar singles…I can’t even look at them anymore. I buy great cheese for home and work…and I will never go back!

13. What cheese do you use the most? At work: we use a lot of cheddar and mozzarella. At home: I’m all about Promontory, Feta, Parmesan and sharp cheddar.

14. What cheese is in your fridge at home? I have sharp cheddar and string cheese for the kids’ snacks, Aggiano and Promontory from Beehive, and some great parmesan and feta for cooking.

 Tyler’s Recipes

Potato and cheese gratin

Gratin Dauphinois

2 lbs red potatoes sliced thin
½ clove garlic
4 tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
1 pinch pepper
1 cup shredded promontory cheese
1 cup boiling milk

Preheat oven to 375°. Combine milk with garlic, butter, salt and pepper. Place potatoes in a baking dish. Pour milk mixture over potatoes. Cover with tin foil and allow to bake until potatoes are tender (approximately 45 min). Take off tin foil and evenly spread cheese. Place back in oven to finish. Cheese should melt and lightly brown.

Bistro Gourmet Italian Sandwich

gourmet italian sand.

2 oz. capicola ham, sliced thin
1 oz. hard salami, sliced thin
2 oz. fresh mozzarella sliced
3 slices fresh roma tomato
½ oz. fresh spinach
1 tsp olive oil
1 pinch cracked black pepper
6” soft baguette

Slice baguette in half and layer spinach on bottom half. Continue to layer with tomato, meats and cheese. Lightly drizzle oil and sprinkle with pepper. Serve ASAP.

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