Cheesy Adventure: Rockhill Creamery

Rockhill CreameryThe next stop on my cheesy adventure was to Rockhill Creamery in Richmond, Utah. It had been a long time since The Cow Locale featured Rockhill Creamery, and I had never been. What a treat! This micro dairy is located on a rustic, beautiful historic farm. Owners Pete Schropp and Jennifer Hines, warmly welcomed me, as did their cows coming to the fence to say hello.

Rockhill Creamery Cheese Cave

Rockhill’s Cheese Cave

Rockhill cheese is made from milk produced by their six Brown Swiss cows: Clara, Ingrid, Chloe, Iggy, Eve, and Elsie. Jennifer and Pete, along with their apprentice, care for the cows, milk the cows twice per day, and make the cheese.

Their cheese is a raw milk cheese, which means that the milk from their cows in not pasteurized prior to cheese making and the cheese must be aged at least 60 days before it can be sold. Because it is raw, they take extra care to ensure sanitation and safety.

Their cheese is aged in an underground “cave” from months to years (depending on the variety) to provide rich, complex flavors. When ready to cut and package, instead of wrapping each piece in plastic, Jennifer uses a special paper, which allows for development of a flavorful rind and enhances the flavor.

Rockhill-CheeseAfter learning about the process, Jennifer took me to the old granary, they converted to a shop. We tasted their different European cheeses including:

  • Dark Canyon/Snow Canyon Edam
  • Wasatch Mountain Gruyere
  • Farmhouse Gouda
  • Zwitser Gouda
  • Peppercorn Gouda
  • Boo Boo Baby Swiss
  • Desert Red Feta

She had me try 3-month-old cheese compared to 12-month-old cheese, and the difference was astounding. The additional aging with the natural rind produced an incredibly rich, sharp flavor. We enjoyed many types of cheeses and then said our goodbyes. Even the cows stopped eating apples from the tree to come lick me goodbye. IMG_0099

What started out as a kitchen hobby for Jennifer has turned into their way of life. Their delicious artisan cheese is available at the Richmond Harvest Market on Saturdays from 10-1 (June-October), the Cache Valley Gardeners Market in Logan (May to October), and the Downtown Market in Salt Lake City (August – October). Or… you can buy at the Gossner Cheese store in Logan Utah or online at their website. They also open up their historic farm for fun events and tours, and their unique spot is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area.

Read more about Rockhill – recently featured in a special edition of John Deere’s The Furrow and follow them on Facebook.

Megan Ostler is a registered dietitian, lover of all food, and communications manager for the Dairy Council of Utah/Nevada.

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What’s a Farmer Eat For Breakfast?

We talk about it a lot – breakfast…waking up and fueling your body with a quality meal sets the stage for the day – and there is a great connection between good nutrition (including breakfast) and physical activity with improved academic performance among kids. Sometimes, rather than just talking about breakfast, it’s fun to see what other people eat and how the meal works into their daily routine…like dairy farmers…what do they eat for breakfast?

Brown Family

We caught up with Trent and Holly Bown – dairy farmers in central Utah to find out what a typical (and special) breakfast looks like for their family. Here’s what they had to say…

TRENT: “As far as my typical breakfast, as much as I would love for it to be pancakes and eggs with bacon, its not. It’s usually a bowl of cereal with a tall glass of milk. Getting three kids ready for school and out the door by 7:00am has diminished my breakfast time, but at least I’m still getting the milk in right?”

Even though Trent doesn’t have loads of time in the morning, he still manages a breakfast packed with energizing carbohydrates (cereal) and protein (milk) that keeps his body going until lunch.

If they have time, Holly whips up this hearty egg dish for her family. She says, “This a recipe that I use sometimes that we really like. It could be made in a dutch oven, or you can cook it in a crock pot over night.”

Overnight Breakfast CasseroleOvernight Breakfast Casserole

  • 6 slices bacon (but we usually use a whole package) / or 1 lb of sausage
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 (2 pound) package frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Spray the inside of a slow cooker with cooking spray. Place bacon in a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Drain bacon slices on paper towels and crumble.

Spray a skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat; cook and stir onion, red bell pepper, and garlic until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir potatoes into onion mixture. Spoon 1/3 the potato mixture into the slow cooker; add 1/3 the bacon and 1/3 the Cheddar cheese. Repeat layering with remaining ingredients, ending with cheese.

Whisk eggs, milk, dill, salt, and pepper together in a bowl; pour over ingredients in slow cooker.

Cook on Low, 8 to 10 hours.

It can be a bowl of whole grain cereal and milk or a hefty breakfast casserole, just remember to start your morning off with breakfast and give your brain and body energy to start the day!

Want more breakfast recipes? Check out our Pinterest Page

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17 Must Try Pumpkin Recipes

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Fall is in full swing with cool days, colorful leaves, and pumpkins everywhere! Pumpkins make great fall decorations and jack-o-lanterns, but they also turn food into a fall celebration! These recipes are the perfect way to celebrate fall in all its glory.

Savory

  1. Pumpkin Gnocchi in a Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce – Closet Cooking
  2. Pumpkin-Sage Baked Ziti - Oh My Veggies
  3. Pumpkin Pizza with Crispy Sage – Two Peas and Their Pod
  4. Pumpkin Cheddar Mac and Cheese – Taste and Tell Blog
  5. Roasted Pumpkin Quiche w/ Caramelized Onions, Gorgonzola and Sage – Closet Cooking

Sweet

  1. Pumpkin Spice Smoothie - Deliciously Sprinkled
  2. Pumpkin Cheesecake Mousse – Two Peas and Their Pod
  3. Baked Pumpkin Cream Cheese French Toast - Damn Delicious
  4. Marble Pumpkin Cheesecake – Roxanas Home Baking
  5. Fudgy Pumpkin Bars with Vanilla Bean Browned Butter Glaze – Averie Cooks
  6. Pumpkin Pastry Cream Eclairs – Diethood
  7. No Bake Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes – Spoonful of Flavor
  8. Pumpkin Pie Milkshake – Mom on Timeout 
  9. Cinnamon Mini Cheesecakes with Pumpkin Pie Frosting – Gimme Some Oven
  10. Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream- Your Home-based Mom
  11. Cream Cheese-Filled Pumpkin Bread – Averie Cooks
  12. Sugar Free Pumpkin Pie Latte - Milk Life

For more fall recipes check out our Fall In Love w/ Dairy Pinterest page!

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Cheesy Adventure: Gold Creek Farms

Next stop on my Cheesy Adventure…Gold Creek Farms

by Megan Ostler, MS RD – Dairy Council of Utah/Nevada

Just 45 minutes from bustling Salt Lake City, UT, Gold Creek Ranch is a quiet, enchanting place tucked in amongst the tree-lined roads of the small town of Kamas.

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Winding my way to the farm, I passed a small herd of Brown Swiss Cows – the lifeblood of dairy’s hand-crafted artisan cheeses. All of Gold Creek’s cheeses are produced from this small herd of cows, and they are also sourcing a lot of the ingredients for their specialty cheeses right on the farm by raising pigs and growing herbs.  The small farm is committed to sustainable practices and self sufficiency – leftovers from local restaurants and distillery grain provide feed for the animals, and whey (a byproduct of cheese making) is a nutrient-rich source of food for their pigs.

Cold Creek Farm Cows

I slowly passed the barn, smiling at the curiosity of the cows that came to greet me and then went inside the main barn where the magic happens. The sitting room was cozy with a wonderful smell of fresh cheese and cedar wood. I immediately noticed the wall full of awards and the windows looking in on the demonstration kitchen.

Gold Creek Barn
Gold Creek LobbyI was sitting there taking it all in when Fernando came to greet me. Fernando is Gold Creek’s head cheese maker and has been with the farm since 2010. He told me a little about how he got started with cheese. Working as a gourmet chef, Fernando first met owners, Alan and Debbie Gold as their caterer. They quickly hit it off and Fernando was hired to be a full time cheese maker. Like most of the Utah’s local cheese makers, Fernando sought the council of Utah State University’s cheese making classes. With his background as a chef and some basic cheese making skills, Fernando had the foundation he needed to begin crafting and creating unique, award winning cheeses.

One of the farm’s most acclaimed cheeses is a smoked cheddar, and he credits the inspiration for this cheese to his wife, Ashley, whose secret smoking method launched this cheese to greatness. In 2012, their smoked cheddar won “Best in Class” and their smoked parmesan was “Second in Class” at the World Championship Cheese Competition. It has now become their signature cheese and trade secret.

Gold Creek Farms

Fernando then took me on a tour of the facility. As we walked along and he explained his process, his passion shined through. He explained that each batch of cheese is crafted by hand without special equipment. The milk from their cows changes with the seasons, so each batch is a little different. He said he makes cheese like he cooks and compared it to homemade cooking versus commercial cooking with set recipes and checkpoints.

Gold Creek Cheese-Aging

Fernando’s first batch of cheese, pictured in the left corner, continues to get better with age.

After touring, I was able to taste. It was incredible and I quickly understood the wall of awards. I don’t normally like smoked foods, but the smoked cheddar and parmesan had the perfect amount and the cheese flavor was still prominent. I also tried some of the fun flavors like the drunken cheddar, cumin seed, and bacon chive. I asked what Fernando’s favorite was and he said it changed but it was currently their blue cheese, a recent addition to their repertoire, and it was exceptional. After eating more cheese then the dietitian in me would like to admit, I packed up my things and set off down the winding roads, past the herbs, the pigs, and the cows, excited to share this local treasure.

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Take a virtual visit to Gold Creek Farms where you can shop online and taste for yourself.

Stay tuned for more Cheesy Adventures as our profiles of Utah cheese makers continues…

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Throw Back Thursday #LoveOfPlay

In honor of Throw Back Thursday #TBT and the Love of Play campaign, our staff wanted to show our love of play from when we were kids. Although we may not be playing the same way, we still love to get out and play.

Ashley

From a very young age, I was extremely competitive.  I even told my recreation soccer coach that she was a really nice lady, but she didn’t know anything about soccer. I was about seven. Competitive, tackless, and cute; your standard triple threat.

 Ashley-Love of Play

Jen

All growing up, I used to play in every sport possible and loved to compete against the boys! Baseball was one of the many sports that kept me active.

JH Love of Play

 

Becky

This was a4th of July parade, that’s me sitting on the float (about 5 yrs old). I was supposed to be Statue of Liberty pulled by Uncle Sam, my brother. We loved to play parade and would dress up and march up and down the street for each other (and anyone else who would watch us). If we did not have spectators we would take turns being the crowd and would cheer as the parade passed.

Becky Love of Play

 

Tim

Here is my favorite pic of me as a kid “playing.” I mostly liked to do anything outdoors. I never wanted to be inside, always had to be out exploring what nature had to offer. My favorite thing to do as a child was horseback riding, which led to my passion for horses and rodeos today.

Tim Love of Play

 

Debbie

When I was 3 years old, I moved with my family to Iran…….yes, the country. We lived in a beautiful home in Isfahan, which is about an hours’ drive from Tehran, with maids and a cook and gardners, etc.  We even had a swimming pool and a few cows on our compound – life was good.  However, since we children usually only had each other to play with, we sometimes got creative and played dress up.  Costumes were unheard of – everyone used old clothes from their parents or thrift shops to creatively put together a “look”.  As you can see, our mother helped with the make-up part of our costumes and we were pretty proud of our accomplishments!

Deb Love of Play

That’s me in the middle

 

Kristi

I didn’t grow up on a farm, but I did have a horse! Crafted by my father, “Woody” was my first birthday present.  I enjoyed many a “giddy-ups” and though I have long outgrown my little wooden rocking horse, he is reliving his youth (as am I) through my one-year-old son.

 

Kristi Love of Play

Aiden 2014————————- Kristi 1980

 

 

Megan

 

I have always loved the outdoors. As a child I could be found climbing trees, play sports on the grass, swimming at the pool, or helping my mother garden. I used to dress up and pretend to be a garden princess watering my flowers. Now that I am grown up, I climb mountains instead of trees and still love to be outdoors. I can often be found gardening, without the hat and tutu.

Meg Love of Play

 

The Love of Play campaign was developed by The National Dairy Council (NDC), NFL, and Quaker to help encourage kids to eat well and play hard. Don’t forgot to show your #LoveOfPlay from September 9- October 17. For more information check out the FUTP60 website. 

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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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