A Day With Real California Milk
This post is sponsored by Real California Milk- thank you for supporting the collaborations that make this space possible and support me in my new life season :)
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to spend a day with other bloggers, RDNs and California dairy at an event hosted by Real California Milk… and I had a blast! I thought I would tell you a little about my day and what I learned.
First off, the day was great because I got to spend it with Haley, who as you know, has become one of my close friends. She drove down from SLO to sleep over and we did a little food and drink tour of Silverlake amidst all things Real California Milk as well. Here are affiliate links to my shoes, bag, and jean jacket! My jumpsuit is from Marshalls a few months back.
We hit the road around 8:15 to have enough time to stop for coffee and arrived at the event location by 10 am, without really knowing what to expect. We were pleasantly surprised to see an awesome panel of professionals - two of which own and operate Real California Milk dairy farms. I had never talked to a dairy farmer before so I had a lot of questions.
One of my favorite things I learned was regarding sustainability in the industry. One of the farmers, Megan, who operates two dairies with 2,700 cows total spoke in detail about how her farm is doing its absolute best to be as sustainable as possible. For example, after the milk comes from the udder of the cow, it gets cooled down almost immediately by water. That water is now called grey water and instead of being discarded, it is reused to wash off the cows as they come into the barn to keep things nice and clean. This has brought their water usage down by 50%. Their feed uses byproducts that humans no longer want like the almond hulls and produce that’s a little too mushy. You know when bell peppers start to lose their crunch but are still technically good? That can go to cow feed and has! Additionally, solar panels and efficient tractor technology has been installed to reduce emissions and energy usage.
Above all, it was nice to connect a face to a large industry, such as the dairy industry, because sometimes I think we look at large industries as a bit impersonal but that wasn’t the case here. 99% of farms in California are family owned and there’s more than 1,300 of them! California dairy farmers believe in responsibly produced, nutritious dairy foods that nourish people and foster a sustainable future. The Real California Milk seal represents real family-owned farms with people like Megan who I had the pleasure of meeting. She has kids, runs a fitness studio, and somehow runs a dairy farm too! As a consumer of dairy every day, it was wonderful to understand that this was actually a very personal business.
Another farmer I met comes from a long line of dairy farmers and continues that tradition today with her son being the newest owner of a dairy farm just a few miles from hers! She was proud of her product and the long line of family it came from. I thought that was just the sweetest.
After we learned a bit more about the industry, we got to play! We had two demonstrations. One was with a chef with a zero-waste approach to food and owns a catering business and restaurant, where we learned how to build beautiful crostini/flat breads. We were given basically every ingredient to play with and were encouraged to mix color, flavor, and textures. There was a beet puree that I mixed in with yogurt to make my pink themed bread, and used an herb puree for a savory/garlicky green toast!
How fun would this be for some party appetizers?!
The second demonstration was with a professional food stylist who showed us how to build our own fruit/cheese platter. I specifically seek out these on menus because I love seeing how other people plate them, and I was excited to have my turn to take a stab at it. Some guidelines I learned…
Use greenery as your base- you can just pull some from the yard or some extra herbs you didn’t use from a dinner earlier in the week.
Feel free to make it “messy” you can break the cheese to show the inside, maybe cut into a brie to let it start seeping out.
Add spices as a garnish - like some turmeric on a tzatziki for visual appeal.
Play with the rainbow! Find some multi-colored lettuce, some rainbow beets, or use fruit as a contrasting color.
Make sure it looks abundant. If you need to fill up the holes, use a handful of chopped nuts or extra garnish (or even more cheeeesseee!!).
So here was my attempt! I chose a small platter - probably half the size of hers pretending I was in my new apartment kitchen where I’ll have little space.
My favorite combo- just in case you’re wondering is fig jam + sharp cheddar + carb source- optional meat choice!
There you have it!