Ohio is a dairy-producing state. I promote Ohio products for a living. I cannot, without consequence, consume dairy. I live a life of conflict.
Despite these personal issues, I regularly proselytize the dairy producers whose product I believe is excellent. Even though this leads me to say things like, “If I drank milk, this is the milk I would drink,” to girlfriends whose babies just aren’t in love with the factory farm lactose.
Part of the Slow Foods Tour of Athens included a trip to Snowville Creamery. I say this loud and clear (and in writing): If I drank milk, this is the milk that I would drink. It is true that when recipes require milk, I am happy to have an opportunity to put my money where my mouth is.
The dairy, based in Albany, Ohio is provided for by lady cows raised by Stacy Hall, above. She gave us a tour of the entire operation, from where the cows are milked, to where they eat to where they hang out when they’re off the clock. This woman, like most of the people I’ve met in the dairy industry, has the energy, exuberance and health of a person a fraction of her age. Maybe it’s more than a marketing slogan. Maybe milk does do a body good.
The Snowville Creamery ladies live on some prime real estate with quite the view. I hope that they appreciate it. Most of what you see in this picture is food. Various types of clover and grasses make up the diet for the cows. This, of course, is a good thing. Michael Pollan, etc.
And finally, the ladies. I have to admit that I used to be afraid to go near cows. Clearly, those days are over. This cow is covered in excrement – both hers and her friends. These are sassy ladies who don’t give a crap about what they look and smell like. Pretty confident, these cows.
Did I mention that the cows were not afraid of me, not one bit? It’s because of this guy. He’s a bodyguard of sorts. We made an agreement: I don’t mess with his lady friends, and he doesn’t mess with me.
Seriously, though. This is not the norm. Most cows don’t eat grass and have pastures to hang out in (or even turn around in) for a reasonable amount of time. Labels and pretty fonts and cartoon drawings of happy cows are purposefully misleading. Having been in the food marketing industry for quite some time, I can tell you this: the more a food producer has to hide, the more difficult it is to get to the people who make the product.
Try it sometime. Call the number – or visit the website – on the side of the container. When you get to talk to someone, ask them if they’re in marketing or if they’re in the factory. Then start asking questions.
You can start with this one: Do you mind if I come visit?