June is National Dairy Month, and there really is no better time for it. While milk is in season all year round, this time of year, dairy farms and farmers are a little more visible. This is the time of year that school classes make their annual pilgrimages to
area dairy farms so that students can have a chance to pet a calf (or even see one born!) and possibly milk a few squirts of milk out of a real live dairy cow! Farmers are on the road and in the fields with their tractors – either spreading manure, planting crops or mowing hay. And we at DrinkMaineMilk.org are celebrating all month long.
First up, this weekend, I will be at Boothby’s Orchard in Livermore. Saturday, June 7, is Open Winery Day, and we will be pairing the Boothbys’ apple wines with cheese from Cabot and Wholesome Holmstead of Winthrop. Funny thing is, the Boothbys used to be Agri-Mark (Cabot) dairy farmers. Their old milk room is now their wine room.
June 21 is Maine Dairy Night at Hadlock Field when the Portland Sea Dogs take on the Altoona Curve. Among the festivities of the night will be a cow milking contest between players and an attempt to break the world record cowbell ensemble.
Yes – the world record for cowbell ensemble. Ninety seconds of 2,000 cowbells clanging in unison on a summer night in Maine. The first 1,900 fans through the gate will receive a blue cowbell. One hundred special edition red bells have been reserved for dairy farmers and their friends to participate.
Guinness Book of World Records lists 640 cowbells at some Switzerland thing as the record. World Record Academy lists it as Ryerson University in Toronto with 1,003 people. But what I really care about is an unofficial record at a Phish concert in Vermont, at which they said they had 1,600 bell ringers. We just need to beat that record. If you are going to the game and have your own cowbell, bring it so we can have that many more bells clangalanging into history.
Follow us on Facebook, we will have contests to win tickets coming up.
Smiling Hill Farm will have one of their dairy cows on the field at 5:30 p.m. for the milking contest. Two lucky baseball players will have 30 seconds to see who can squirt the most milk into their bucket.
On a serious note, the night will also be an opportunity to raise awareness for the Great American Milk Drive – an effort between Feeding America and the National Dairy Council to get milk into the hands of the nation’s food insecure. Milk is one of the most requested nutritious foods at food banks and food pantries, but it is rarely donated. Food banks that are part of the Feeding America network have been working to get more fresh fruits and vegetables as well as dairy into the food pantries.
During Maine Dairy Night at Hadlock Field, Maine’s three major milk processors – Oakhurst, Hood and Garelick Farms – will donate 10 gallons of milk per run. In addition, Oakhurst decided to donate 3 half gallons for every run scored by the Sea Dogs from June 1 until Maine Dairy Night. Anyone can donate at milklife.com/give, or make an automatic $5 donation by texting MILK to 27722. You can enter your zip code to ensure that the milk goes to someone in your area.
Cabot cheese samples will be handed out at the end of the game.
The following weekend is Farm Fest at Maple Meadow Farms in Mapleton. June 29 will be the second annual Farm Fest Milk Run – a 3.5 mile road race that starts and ends at the farm. Houlton Farms Dairy will supply the chocolate milk at the finish.
Because as you all know, there is no better way to refuel after a run or any activity than with chocolate milk for its combination of protein and carbohydrates.
June should also be National Rhubarb Month.
Rhubarb is one of those foods I never had an appreciation for until recently. Now I love the stuff. I know a lot of Dad’s who like rhubarb and who like custard, so I thought, in honor of Father’s Day, I would make a rhubarb custard pie.
Rhubard Custard Pie
1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
1/4 to 1/2 cup warm water
2 cups milk
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups chopped rhubarb
2 tablespoons honey
For the crust
Let butter soften to room temperature and mix into your flour. Slowly add the warm water, a little at a time, stirring, until you get the consistency you want. Put it in the fridge.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cook your rhubarb – in a stovetop pain, put in your chopped up rhubarb with about a 1/2 cup water and stir until it’s complete mush – apple sauce consistency.
Whisk your eggs, milk and honey, add spices and vanilla.
Take your crust out of the fridge and press into a pie plate. Fill with custard. Place in oven and turn heat back to 350. Bake until custard is firm but still has a slight jiggle to it. Let it cool slightly and then pour rhubarb over the top.