I am not sure I would have guessed April would have been dubbed dairy month in Maine. However, it makes me happy that dairy farmers get a month of celebration through Maine Harvest of the Month!
Maine Harvest of the Month is a program under the Maine Department of Education that highlights in-season products of Maine farms. As an example, July is all about summer squash (if you know, you know). For the month of April, Maine Harvest of the Month features dairy! This category could include cheese, yogurt, butter, kefir, ice cream, sour cream, and, of course, milk. Dairy is a great resource for vitamins and nutrients like vitamins A and D, phosphorus, calcium, and protein.
According to the Maine Harvest of the Month website, there are 221 dairy farms spread across 15 counties in Maine, and 60 of them produce organic milk! Even more impressive, there are over 30,000 cows in our state that make 71 million gallons of milk each year. While these facts are quite impressive, I also want to give a shoutout to the sheep and goat farmers who produce incredible artisan products as well for the State of Maine.
A great way to celebrate dairy month is to locate your nearest dairy farmer and try out their products! If you are unsure of the farms in your area, a great resource is the Real Maine website. You can filter farms by zip code, the kind of products the farm carries, as well as by farm events!
While you’re at it, it might be fun to use a product in a new recipe. With the warm weather, consider using milk, yogurt, or kefir in a smoothie! Or make a hummus with some crackers and cheese as a snack to enjoy outside. I would not be the Lincoln County SNAP educator without recommending you check out the Maine SNAP-Ed portal for recipe inspiration!
For more information on local farms, go to realmaine.com. To find recipes, go to mainesnap-ed.org/cook/recipe. For more information on Maine Harvest of the Month, go to maine.gov/doe/harvestofthemonth.