The Great American Milk Drive – Success in Action

When you get people together, rallied around a cause, it’s pretty incredible to see what they can do. The Great American Milk Drive is a country wide effort between the dairy industry (farmers and milk companies) and Feeding America centered around solving the milk gap. Milk is one of the most requested yet least donated items in the food bank system with families receiving, on average, less than one gallon of milk per year. But the success of the initiative hinges on the generosity of people and of communities. Last week, we saw this generosity in action.

Utah’s dairy farmers teamed up with Lee’s Marketplace – a local grocery retailer, Gossner Foods, a local processor and two Northern Utah food pantries on a one-day event designed to create awareness and spur milk donations during hunger action month.

Collecting milk for those who need it most

Collecting milk for those who need it most

What was initially planned as a 4-hour event at one of the retailers’ stores turned into an all-day donation opportunity across the retailers’ 3-store network. Every Wednesday, Lee’s Marketplace slashes milk prices, and customers come in droves, sometimes buying 6 or 8 gallons of milk at $2.29 a piece. It’s a great deal and the store prides itself on being known as the community “milk store.” When we first started talking to them about the Great American Milk Drive, partnering on a Wednesday seemed to make the most sense – encouraging people to buy a gallon of discounted, nutrient-rich milk for those who need it most, and the store really took the idea and ran with it.

When the store opened on Wednesday, September 17th, employees knew to ask each customer at checkout if they would consider donating a gallon of milk to the local food pantry. Hundreds of people said, “Yes” and the three stores generated over 1700 gallons of milk for local pantries, blowing our initial goal of 440 gallons out of the water! The store decided that it didn’t make sense to inundate the food bank with a surplus of milk all at once (limitations = perishability and limited food-bank storage), so the stores and food pantries are working closely to have the milk distributed as needed.

The generosity and commitment to the cause didn’t stop with customers. Dairy cooperative, Dairy Farmers of America joined the cause and generously donated that day and expressed their commitment to solving the milk gap permanently in our local communities. Local shelf-stable milk processor, Gossner Foods, an icon Utah’s Cache Valley, volunteered to match, gallon-for-gallon the generosity of Lee’s customers. That’s an additional 1700 galloons of shelf stable milk that will be delivered as needed to the Logan and Ogden food banks!

Gossner Foods helps pass out free chocolate milk at a Lee's Marketplace store in Logan, UT

Gossner Foods helps pass out free chocolate milk at a Lee’s Marketplace store in Logan, UT

The director of the Cache Community Food Pantry was so impressed by people’s generosity and so thrilled for what their donation meant for the 140 families his organization serves. He said, “If we can solve our milk shortage, that will be our last big challenge.” Handing out almost 200 gallons yesterday and with over 2,500 more gallons headed directly to his food pantry, we have made some serious short-term progress. The challenge we continue to work through is creating sustainable change so that hungry families never have to go without milk. Through the relationships we are building with the people and businesses of local communities, we are well on our way.

Thank you to all who have made this event so successful. If you would like to get involved, help round out Hunger Action Month by making a donation – here’s how:

  • Donate anytime online. Typing in your zip code ensures that your donation stays local.
  • Visit any local Smiths store and donate at checkout through their Pour it Forward Campaign
  • This Friday, September 26th, visit Smiths in Henderson, NV or Saturday, September 27th you can visit Walmart in Sandy, UT to make an in-store donation.
  • Stay tuned for future events in our local communities around the holidays

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Cheesy Adventure: Aggie Creamery

Our Aggie Spoils

Our Cheesy Adventures continued with a stop at the Aggie Creamery on the gorgeous Utah State Campus, where we met with Don McMahon and Steve Shelton. The creamery, known for incredible ice cream, is also a small scale cheese making facility, focused mostly on teaching. Undergraduates can learn food science and processing and graduate students can utilize the facility for research. They also feature community classes for those interested in making cheese. They offer 2 classes a year 1 basic and 1 advanced. The basic goes over how to make cheddar, mozzarella, and monterey jack. The advanced class goes into different flavors and techniques. These classes are where many of our local cheese artisans cheddared their first batch of cheese. In fact Beehive Cheese, Gold Creek Farms, Rockhill Cheese, and Heber Valley Artisan Cheese learned here and are now making award-winning cheese.

After learning about the history, we went on a tour of the facility, which featured their machines for pasteurizing and homogenizing milk, making cheese (non- homogenized), and making ice cream (homogenized milk)

Aggie Cheese MachinesAggie Ice Cream Machines

Then of course we ate yummy cheese and ice cream. Along with their yummy cheese curds we also tried the following:

  • Old Ephraim Smokey Swiss : A processed cheese made from swiss cheese with a mild smokey hint along with great swiss flavor.
  • Big Blue Cheese Spread: A creamy spreadable cheese made with cream and Blue cheese. It was delicious on crackers.
  • Old Juniper Cheese: Aged for more than a year for a sharp mature cheese with a rich flavor. Great for sharp cheese lovers.
  • Crimson Trail Cheese: A processed cheddar cheese flavored with jalepeños. This cheese has some serious kick and would be wonderful on nachos.
  • White Pine: A vintage white cheddar cheese aged for 2 years. One of our favorites.

Aggie CheeseIf you have never tried their cheese, be sure to pick up a block with your next ice cream purchase. Aggie cheese is especially popular around the holidays and makes delicious gifts. Tours are also open to the public. Check out their website for more information and see where the magic happens first hand.

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The National Dairy Council (NDC), NFL, and Quaker have teamed up to help encourage kids to eat well and play hard. The Love of Play campaign encourages kids and the adults who care about them to get up and get active for 60 minutes of play a day. From September 9- October 17, students and adults can get active and win prizes such as a day of play with Colts queaterback Andrew Luck or daily chances to win $50 NFL Gift Cards.

This campaign is part of Fuel Up to Play 60 (FUTP60), the nation’s largest in- school wellness program. Are you a FUTP60 member? If not join today and help make positive changes in your school. Already a member? Get the whole school involved by implementing a Physical Activity Play and logging it on your Fuel Up to Play Dashboard to earn up to 7,500 points.

This campaign is all about sharing. If you are 13 years of older, share how you are playing with #LoveOfPlay or have a parent/adult share for you. Your whole family can show how they play and enter to win. To learn more visit the FUTP60 website.  Get involved and help keep kids moving for a healthier generation.

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Ice Cream Festival…Until Next Year

Vendors at ICF

The state fair has ended and we must say goodbye to our Butter Cow and the Ice Cream Festival until next year. We had a wonderful festival with music, games, Creamies® eating contests, and of course all you can eat ice cream! We would like to thank our vendors who contributed hundreds of gallons of ice cream to make this event such a success!

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Big Thanks to:

  • Aggie Ice Cream
  • BYU Creamery
  • Casper’s (Fat Boy) Ice Cream
  • Creamies
  • Dryers
  • Meadow Gold

We are also saying goodbye to the Butter Cow. The butter cow is entire sculpture carved from butter and a tradition the Utah State Fair. It was showcased in the “Creative Arts” building. Design ideas were submitted from Jr High students across the state. Thank you to those who contributed ideas and voted for the winner.

2014 Winner – Bat Cow

Winner: Elizabeth – Innovations High School

Photo Sep 08, 4 39 22 PM

See You Next Year! – always the first Monday of the Utah State Fair

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Kristi and Megan’s Cheesey Adventures Part 1: Beehive Cheese

Cheese…. It is a single word that promises such flavor, joy, and versatility. We here at the dairy council of Utah and Nevada, love cheese and are spoiled with great local cheese. We wanted to highlight our cheese-makers, share their story, and of course enjoy loads of cheese. So we decided to go on a cheesy adventure.

Beehive Cheese

1410824_10151941993779264_1459205569_oOur first stop was Beehive Cheese, which features hand-rubbed, artisan cheese. We met with owners Pat Ford and Tim Welsh and learned their story. Tim and Pat decided that they wanted to open a local artisan cheese location in Northern Utah. After some training from the Western Dairy Center at Utah State University, they opened their doors on September 5th 2005, and quickly began winning awards for their unique cheeses. Tim and Pat are brothers-in-law and their kids work alongside their dads’ and cousins in this family owned operation.

After introductions, Pat showed us their cheese-making process. It all starts with the milk. The milk used at Beehive cheese comes from Clint and Tara Wade’s Dairy. It is a 4th generation family dairy just 10 miles northwest of Beehive Cheese. They provide high quality milk by ensuring a caring environment for their herd of Jersey and Holstein cows. Wade’s Dairy provides milk with a somatic cell count (indicative of cow health) 7 times lower than required, evidence that the milk is high quality and the cows are healthy and stress-free. This high quality milk is that starting point for Beehives award winning cheese.

Beehive gets 3 truck loads of milk each week. Each truck load fills a 4300lb vat and makes about 3 batches of cheese each day. It takes about 10lbs of milk to make 1lb of cheese, so they go through this milk quickly. Each batch of cheese takes about 6 hours, so with three batches a day, this makes for long days.

Pat explained that cheese making is “the intersection of science and art.” There are 4 basic components of cheese making

  1. Moisture
  2. Salt
  3. Fat
  4. pH

These components are interrelated, sensitive, and lead to great variability in the cheese making process. For example, the speed of the aging depends on fat and bacteria, which can change with each batch of milk. You can adjust bacteria activity with salt, pH and temperature, but it has to be just right. There is a narrow window for cutting the curd, if you cut it too late, the moisture will be to high. Though there are lots of scientific facts, the process of making cheese is as much art as it is science – cheese makers begin to have a sense of when the cheese is ready to move to its next phase – based on the components above, it’s not always the same.

After explaining how they make their base cheese, Promontory, Pat showed us the smoker, aging room, and packaging room. Depending on the type of cheese, it is aged for 3-6 months so they were working on Christmas cheese.

The Process: pasteurization, adding bacteria, making cheese curds, aging, and packaging.

The Process: pasteurization, adding bacteria, making cheese curds, aging, and packaging.

Then we got to learn about their different cheeses, born from creative ideas and experiments.

Base Cheese: Promontory, a white cheddar

Most popular: Barely Buzzed, promontory hand rubbed in coffee grounds (33% of sales). “You put cream in your coffee, why not coffee in your cream.” They had extra coffee around the shop so they decided to try it one day. It quickly won awards and launched their business.

No Gos: Maraschino cherries and chocolate chips

Pats favorite: Aggiano (as long as they get it just right), a salty, aged, hard cheese reminiscent of Parmesan

As we said our goodbyes, Pat sent us home with a bag full of this amazing cheese to try. Although taking them home and binging was a temptation, we decided to share the cheesey goodness with the rest of out staff.

Promontory Curds:

  • Salty and really wonderful
  • Great texure
  • Good subtle flavor

Barely Buzzed

  • Rich, smokey flavor
  • Smooth and delicious
  • Rich and delicious
  • Fun and original
  • Many of the staff’s favorites


  • Love it!
  • Nice light flavor
  • Not my favorite, but good


  • Mild
  • Sweet tea flavor
  • Tastes like Earl Grey
  • If you don’t’ like tea, probably won’t like this


  • Subtle and salty
  • Yummy, salty
  • Sweet and satly, would be great for cooking
  • Very sweet

Big John’s Cajun

  • Has got a kick
  • Some said too spicy
  • Nice flavor
  • Great spicy kick
  • Would be amazing for mac and cheese!


  • Good!
  • Love that you can really taste the chive
  • Great for cooking
  • Light onion flavor
  • Oniony like a cheese ball

Different ones spoke to different people, but overall census rate them as wonderful. It is clear why this amazing cheese has won so many awards! Check out beehive cheese for yourself you won’t regret it! I am eating the leftovers right now and my taste buds are in heaven!


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Hunger Action Month: Why Donate Milk

Give MilkHunger Action Month kicked off yesterday with Hunger Action Day. Why do we have a whole month and day associated with hunger action? Because hunger impacts 1 in 6 Americans. The 2014 Hunger in America report revealed staggering facts about hunger in communities. The Feeding America network of food banks provide service to 46.5 million people in need including 12 million children and 7 million seniors. That is 1 in every 7 Americans who are relying on this network to feed their families. 1 in 10 of these households have an adult member in school and 41% have a member that has post high school education.

This Study also found that 89% of households with children are food insecure and 79% of families reported turning to cheap, unhealthy foods to feed their families. The Feeding America network works hard to get healthy options to those in need. Milk is one of the most request items within this network, however because of the shelf life, and cost of milk, it is rarely donated. The entire dairy industry, from farmers to dairy food processors, have come together to get milk to those who need it most. With 9 essential nutrients and 8 grams of protein per glass, nutrient rich milk is an important part of a healthy diet . So join us as we embark on the Great American Milk Drive to help get nutritious milk to those in need, and lets work to end hunger in our communities. We are holding events locally to help spread the word and build donations. Can’t make it? Donate today:

Local Great American Milk Drive Events

LOGAN, UT – September 17 

  • Lee’s Marketplace – 555 E 1400 N – Logan, UT
  • Sept 17th from 2-6pm
  • Take advantage of Lee’s Wednesday deals on milk and buy an extra gallon to donate
  • Goal: 440 gallons of milk (2 palates)
  • Extra Impact: Gossner Foods has generously offered to match each donation with shelf-stable milk that local food banks can use throughout the year!

RENO, NV – September 19 

  • Sak & Save – 1901 Silverada Blvd – Reno, NV
  • Sept 19th 3-7pm
  • In store donations as well as actual gallon donations
  • Food bank:  Food Bank of Northern Nevada
  • Processor:  Model Dairy
  • *Free ice cream and chocolate milk*

LAS VEGAS, NV – September 19

  • Exact location TBD (will update ASAP)
  • Sept 19th, 3:00 – 7:00 PM
  • In store donations as well as actual gallon donations
  • Food Bank:  Three Square
  • Processors:  Meadow Gold and Anderson Dairy

SANDY, UT – September 27

  • WalMart 9151 S Quarry Bend Drive
  • Sept 27th 9:00am – 1:00pm
  • Part of Utah Food Bank’s annual food drive
  • Pick up an extra gallon to donate!

More Ways to Help

More Information

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Breakfast Benefits

Breakfast IdeasChildren are heading back to school and parents are getting ready with carts full of books, paper, pens, and backpacks. These supplies are important for you child’s success is school, but just as important is breakfast. Breakfast, like these supplies aids in academic success.

Research has shown that consuming a nutrient rich breakfast is associated with higher nutrient intake, improved cognition, and academic performance. Studies have found that breakfast eaters consume more vitamins A and C, riboflavin, calcium, zinc, and iron. While it is possible to get all the nutrition you need without breakfast it is less likely.

According to expert Ronald E. Kleinman M.D.

“If you compare children who eat breakfast in school to those who don’t, they are better behaved, do better in some subjects like math, and are absent and tardy less often”

Components of a Nutritious Breakfast

Nutritious breakfasts have 3 main components:

  1. Protein
  2. Fiber
  3. Vitamins/minerals

Protein – foods such as dairy products and eggs and fiber – containing foods, like whole grains, fruits and veggies are important for keeping bellys full until lunch. It can be difficult to focus with a grumbling stomach. Protein also helps with building strong bodies and keeps them running smoothly. Fiber not only keeps us full, it also aids in digestion and disease prevention. Vitamins and minerals are essential for many body processes and help with overall nutrition.

How to Do it

We have established that breakfast is important, but that doesn’t make it easy to accomplish in the morning rush. Below are ideas of how to work breakfast into your schedule.

1. Prep Before: Many breakfast can be prepped the night before.

2. On the Go: Try breakfasts that can be eaten in the go such as:Breakfast Smoothies

3. Eating out

  • You could also grab breakfast on the way. Look for the same components as mentioned above such as yogurt, milk, fruit, and whole grains when eating out. Many restaurants are bumping up their menu to include healthy breakfast options including McDonalds. To highlight these changes, McDonald is offering free breakfast on September 3rd from 6-9 am for kids 15 years and under. Try their new fruit and maple oatmeal, breakfast parfait, egg white delight, or another breakfast sandwich with a Gogurt and/or milk.

4. School Breakfast

  • Eating at school can be a great option. Many schools are starting to incorporate breakfast before school and in the classroom. Learn more about the benefits of breakfast at school. Encourage your child’s school to adopt healthy eating practices such as school breakfast through Fuel Up To Play 60

Start the school year off right by building better breakfast habits. This year make sure that breakfast is a morning priority. Check out our Big Bang Breakfast Pinterst page for more delicious ideas!

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