What’s the Scoop? – National Dairy Month

— Written By Courtney Tevepaugh
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Dating back to 1937 grocer organizations recognized June as “national milk month” as a means of promoting extra milk during the warm summer months. In 1939 June officially became “national dairy month” to include all of the delicious foods and beverages made from milk.

Dairy Nutrition

Summer is an excellent time to enjoy dairy foods and beverages packed with 13 essential nutrients, including calcium, vitamin D, and potassium. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) dietary guidelines recommend 3 servings of dairy products per day for the average adult. However, this does not have to be in the form of simply drinking milk. There are many options to enjoy dairy from smoothies to yogurt and baked dishes.

We often hear of dairy products as a good source of calcium and vitamin D. What is perhaps less know is dairy is also a good source of potassium which helps to maintain healthy blood pressure. For individuals sensitive to dairy other calcium-rich foods include canned fish, tahini, and leafy greens such as collards, spinach, and kale.

Dairy often gets a negative reputation as there are many misconceptions among consumers. One is that regular milk is not as healthy as organic. Both regular and organic milk are great options and contain the same vitamins and minerals. Another common question is of a2 milk. Typical dairy milk contains a combination of a1 and a2 casein proteins. Milk from cows that only exhibit the a2 form of the protein is sold as a2 Milk. There are claims that this milk is beneficial for individuals with digestive problems, but there is yet to be enough scientific evidence to support the claim. 

Explore North Carolina Dairy Farms

North Carolina is currently home to around 145 dairy farms, with an average herd of 283 milking cows. Wilkes County neighbors two of the top milk-producing counties in North Carolina, Alexander, and Iredell. Ninety-eight percent of dairy farms are family-owned and operated. Some North Carolina dairy farms have been in the business for a long as seven generations! Farmers work tirelessly to provide safe and wholesome dairy products following strict guidelines set by the Food and Drug Administration. Milk continues to be a valuable but inexpensive source of nutrition, despite the rising costs of production. The average 8-ounce glass of milk is about 25 cents.

NC State University has developed an interactive online tour of the dairy industry. If you’re interested in seeing more of the action you can even take a trip to the Randleigh Dairy Heritage Museum in Raleigh, NC where visitors discover how dairy cows are raised and how the milk gets from the farm to the table. To find local dairy products and farms try searching within the Visit NC Farms Mobile App.

Recipes to Try

Peach Smoothie

Try pairing dairy with local peaches later this summer for a delicious smoothie.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 2 cups frozen sliced peaches
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

Combine yogurt, milk, peaches, and remaining ingredients in blender. Blend until smooth. Makes 2 servings.