Friday, January 11, 2013

Happy National Milk Day!

Ethical living is hard. I don’t mean just in the do what’s right, be nice to your neighbors, let people cross the street in front of you kind of way. I mean in the what are you spending your money on, how do your actions effect others, what footprint are you making on the world at large kind of way. For me, these questions always arise when I’m standing at the diary case at the local grocery store.

You all know that grocery shopping has been getting progressively more expensive every year, every month, and at least in our house, our take home pay has not been raising at the same rate. This forces us to reexamine how we are spending our money and what we are overpaying for at the grocery store, what we can and should be making ourselves and what we can go without. It always becomes a question of cost efficiency vs. buying local. Local is always my first choice but what about when it doesn’t fit in the budget? Not surprisingly,  dairy comes back up again. Cheese really, it’s always cheese.  We have amazing cheese produced in Michigan that I love(and will dedicate an entire post to), but what I’m still trying to figure out is how cheese from California that is shipped half way across the world is cheaper for me to buy than cheese that made a less than 100 mile journey to my grocery store. That’s a thought for another day. 

Photo Credit: Connie Straathof or Hilhof Farms

One thing that I have figured out is milk …. and cream. Milk I buy local, no matter the cost. Once I had it, I could never go back to cheap mass produced grocery store varieties. When we lived up north there was a small store in the country, only a few miles away that was owned by the local Amish community. They sold milk from a local (non-Amish) Michigan dairy farm. 2%, Whole milk, Chocolate milk, Cream and my favorite, Cream Line milk (with the cream on the top…. for anyone’s who’s never had it… put it on your bucket list). This milk was amazing and after having their cream in coffee, you will NEVER go back to anything else. I was worried when we moved to the lakeshore that we would never have great milk again, but lo and behold a local health food store in town carries Hilhof Farms milk, the much beloved brand we were buying up north.

This post is not to endorse Hilhof Farms, I was not compensated to write it, rather I want to put a spotlight on locally owned business everywhere and praise the quality of their products. For us, not only does Hilhof Farms milk taste better, but we can go to the farm where it is made, see their grass fed cows and appreciate all the effort it takes to run a truly organic farming operation.  I also want to encourage you, wherever you are to use National Milk Day as a reason to hunt down your local dairy farm and buy some milk made in your own state. I promise you it will be better than whatever comes mass produced from a plastic jug in the grocery store.  This will not be the first or the last time I say this, remember, we’re all in this together, support your local farmers. 

Happy Milk Day!

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