Happy Cows = Happy Moms

I guess I don’t watch enough TV with commercials, because when I told friends that I was going to visit a dairy farm and when I tweeted about being on the dairy farm, people asked me if the cows were Happy Cows.  I took that to mean that my friends were deeply concerned about ethical treatment of farm cows, but I now realize that it’s a reference to the popular television campaign, Happy Cows.

This trip, sponsored by the California Milk Advisory Board, was truly educational. It was like being on a field trip for grown ups, riding a shuttle around a dairy farm and getting out to take pictures.

By far, this is my favorite.

These gals are all hooked up to machines that pump milk out of their udders. They ride around on a merry-go-round-style platform, getting on and off when it’s their posse’s turn.  (They are divided into posses depending where they are in the cycle of pregnancy and non-pregnancy.)

Thinking about my days in the pumping room at work, this image cracked me up. Imagine sitting on a merry-go-round with a bunch of nursing moms, all simultaneously hooked up to your pumps.

So milk, I gathered from my field trip, is truly awesome.  (Why yes, this post IS sponsored by the California Milk Advisory Board!)  It packs mucho protein per serving, and as the mother of two kids who can be erratic eaters, I am more grateful now than I was before that my kids do drink milk. They won’t eat poultry or beef, and we don’t do pork in our house.  Milk. Yeah, it’s a good thing.

Here are 7 dairy-centric snack choices you might try out on your kids. And for more ideas (especially for picky kids) hop over to our post about great snacks for toddlers.

  1. Make a smoothie. Sweeten up your milk with a dollop of yogurt or just a handful of berries. I always keep a banana in the freezer for this purpose.
  2. String cheese. (My kids won’t eat it, but Heather’s do and I know she always grabs one for a morning snack for herself.)
  3. Cheese and crackers. Known in my house as “cheese towers”, I cut the cheese into squares to match the crackers and then serve them in a stack of alternating cracker, cheese, cracker, cheese. Somehow this makes it taste better.
  4. A handful of shredded cheese. Try this on an antsy toddler who is waiting in a highchair. Drop a pinch directly on their tray and let them keep busy trying to pick it up and put it in their mouths.
  5. Yogurt with cinnamon sprinkled on top. Studies show a sprinkle of cinnamon can be a game changer for picky kids. (Just kidding. I know of no such study.)
  6. Scramble up some eggs and add shredded cheddar. The very brave might even add green vegetables to make this a complete well-rounded meal.
  7. Cheese roll-ups as shown in the photo below of our friend Wendy’s amazing lunch-packing skills.

Seeing the cows that produce the milk, the pipes that take the milk to the chilled tanks, and the factory that converts the milk into the cheese we buy at the store was a true adventure.  I had the opportunity to talk to the veterinarian who cares for the cows, a nutritionist, and an air quality expert from UC Davis who was interested in bringing the sustainability advances we’ve made in the US to developing nations so that their dairy production can improve its carbon footprint.

What else? I tasted a delicious cucumber yogurt soup, downed a glass of chocolate milk, and improved my knowledge of the dairy farm, one of the greatest contributors to my state’s economy.

So, milk? Are you a fan?


If I didn’t make it clear enough already, this post was sponsored by the California Milk Advisory Board. I attended a tour of the Hilmar Cheese Factory and Clauss Dairy Farm in central California, and I was compensated for my time. They did not ask me to write about any particular aspect of the day we spent together. The CMAB folks were all lovely people, as were the other bloggers and magazine writers who I met there and the Clauss Family who hosted us for lunch.