I hope now that we are a couple of weeks into the time change, everyone is getting acclimated to the new normal. Personally, I know the darker mornings are tough for now, but the extra daylight in the evening is very much welcomed.
Birds are chirping, the sun seems to be shining a little more, so it is with great hope that these signs mean that spring is here to stay.
With the warmer weather and increased amount of daylight, it tends to mean that people are out and about more. Maybe they are willing to travel a little further for a meal, or go to various activities. Although COVID-19 still has limiting factors on events, it does seem as if more activities are going on with modifications this spring.
With that, take a trip to a local take-out pancake breakfast to support the maple producers in your area, or switch up your routine and go to a new grocery store that maybe carries milk from a local dairy producer or meat from a local farm.
As a dairy farmer, I know the process of how dairy products are made from start to finish with great detail. Knowing all of that information on dairy products alone has made me very inquisitive over the years as to what all goes into the processes of other food products. As a result of this curiosity, I have taken a few food sciences courses that universities and Extension services have offered online to get a brief insight into all the footwork behind various finished products that I consume regularly.
I’m not sure about you, but for me, it is also very interesting to “meet” some of the people behind the products, whether that be virtually or in person. Subsequently, there is a wealth of information to be learned about all of the different types of farming that there are and all of the unique equipment and techniques that take place to produce quality food.
One common factor between us all is that we consume food and drinks daily to survive. Whether you prefer chicken over beef, orange juice versus milk, or whatever else, one thing in common between all of those is there is a farmer out there somewhere who put in a lot of work to make sure that a safe, wholesome product is readily available to you.
Many people go to the grocery store, or even have groceries delivered to their doorstep, and don’t think much beyond that. Yes, the food does come from the grocery store, but there is a trail before that that many people don’t realize or tend to forget about. Getting to know those steps before the item hits the shelf is really what is interesting and can really make one appreciate all that farmers do daily to feed the world.
My challenge to you is to get more involved in knowing where your food comes from, all the steps that go into making it or even meeting the people behind the products. As the weather continues to warm up locally, more and more farmers markets will be opening, as well as food festivals. These types of events are wonderful for interacting one-on-one with the people who have raised these food products and know every step that has been taken from start to finish, up until is reaches the consumer.
It is also a wonderful time to ask any questions that you may have. As a dairy producer, I genuinely love when the public asks me questions as to the process of how milk gets from cow to the store shelves, and all of the little details in between. Farmers have nothing to hide. We want to be as transparent to the public as possible, so that everyone can feel good about the food and beverages that they and their families are consuming.
Another great way to learn about various types of farming and food processing is through your local county Extension agent or agriculture university. Many of these places offer free seminars, workshops or online courses, as previously mentioned, that can help one understand the science behind the food and how products are made.
The past year has really thrown a lot of different changes to most of us in terms of a new normalcy. Although we have succumbed to a lot of changes and challenges, the American farmer has kept going strong through all of this.
With that, please consider supporting your local farm families the next time that you are able to.
This support means a tremendous amount to the people behind the products, and they will do whatever it takes to ensure that you are highly satisfied with the products you purchase.
Submitted by Julie Holler, a member of the Trumbull County Farm Bureau board of trustees.
OFBF Mission: Working together for Ohio farmers to advance agriculture and strengthen our communities.