As promised, here is my recap of my awesome trip to Ohio with the American Dairy Association Mideast! I warn you, this post is going to be VERY PICTURE HEAVY, but I don’t want you guys to miss any of the fun we had! So, without further ado, here we go!
We stayed at the Hyatt Arcade and it was absolutely BREATHTAKING!
The American Dairy Association Mideast was SO sweet and left us awesome welcome presents in our room. There was wine, personalized wine glasses and these AMAZING cupcakes as big as my face! Not complaining.
We started the night at the House of Blues, with a wine and cheese pairing event. We went to this really funky back room and we felt like TOTAL rock stars! I learned so much about wine and cheese, and ate ALL the cheese. It was bomb.
Brie Cheese at the wine and cheese tasting. Seriously, this was the creamiest BRIE of all the evers. I could not stop eating it. YUM.
We got up bright and early Tuesday morning to go see life on the farm! We got to ride in a super cool bus that had coffee, breakfast etc. Before going onto the farm we had to put on these sexy boot covers to prevent spreading anything onto the farm.
The first farm that we visited (Richman Farms) had won A LOT of awards.
You know, just creeping on some of the cows in the barn.
We were on the farm for sun rise and it was GORGEOUS! I’m a city girl, but this kind of thing could convert me. Almost.
Baby cow! Aren’t these calves the cutest ever? I die.
This dog, Maggie, was the SWEETEST! She wanted to play with everyone and she kept kissing the cows, and they kissed her back. Seriously, the cutest ever.
We learned how to milk cows. Maybe I live under a rock but I honestly expected to see a billion, people sitting on little stools, milking cows by hand. I had no idea that it was all done by machines. It was seriously so cool! I also loved how it was really safe and comfortable for the animals. Going to meet the farmers, and see their love for their animals, was SO heart warming.
I tried my hand at milking. It’s harder than it looks ya’ll!
The whole gang! Left to right: Heather from Heather’s Dish, Liz from Love Grows Wild, Courtney from Neighborfood, Emily from Jelly Toast, Jamie-Lynn from My Baking Addiction, Ashley from Spoonful of flavor, me, Megan and Lauren. Seriously, SUCH a great group!
After our first farm we went to Pear Valley Cheese Company and learned how cheese is made! It was SUCH a cute place – And all family owned! Pear Valley manufactures high quality Swiss and Colby cheeses, and distributes many other kinds as well!
Suiting up to go into the factory!
Liz and I rocking the hairnets.
That is ALL cheese. Isn’t that INSANE? Apparently, at this stage, it doesn’t taste very good though.
This is where they separate the water from the whey in the cheese to make things like protein powder! I obviously found this really interesting!
This is SUPER FRESH Swiss cheese (and one of the managers of the factory) He stick that long contraption into those crates (which contain cheese) to check to see if it’s developing the “eyes” (holes in Swiss cheese) and to make sure it’s all going well. He was very happy with how this turned out, and we were very happy to eat it. P.s Did you know that Ohio is the #1 producer of Swiss cheese for the US? Now you do.
After our morning adventures, we went and had an Amish style lunch. This super amazing Amish woman made us ALL lunch included 3 types of pie: Apple, Pecan and Peanut Butter. I obviously chose peanut butter, and I obviously took a picture of it before the meal. Seriously, it was epic.
Lunch! Mashed potatoes, noodles, green beans, roast beef and chicken. SO TASTY. Also not pictured, fresh made bread and “Amish peanut butter” which is just peanut butter mixed with marshmallow fluff and maple syrup. We put this on our fresh bread and, for realz, it was one of the best things I ate during the trip. They even sent some home with us. Best. Ever.
This is the milking pit at the second, and much larger, dairy farm we went to (Andreas Dairy Farm.) All the cows lined up, got milked and left. Then new ones came. This farm milked their cows 3 times a day. With how many cows they had (1300!) they were milking ALL DAY LONG. I knew farmers worked hard, but not THIS hard. I have such a respect for them.
Hanging out with my new friends.
The gang with our moo-velous hats! 😉
You guys. This calf had been born 30 MINS before we arrived! It was still all wet and wobbly. I was actually so surprised it was walking! But it was SOOOO CUTE. This is 1/1000000 pictures I took of it. I want one.
We got to feed calves! Seriously, my heart melted. Also, those little babies have some SERIOUS sucking power! I was SO surprised!
After the last farm, we headed home, freshened up and then went for dinner. We went to the Cleveland Browns Football Stadium for dinner! This is the gang on the field – SO SWANKY!
Dinner menu! #yum.
It was crazy because the hubs and I had just been seeing bacon wrapped dates on menus the week before, and we had wanted to try them. Then, we had them for an appetizer at dinner. Seriously, these are amazing. Salt, sweet and totally face-plant-ably delish!
Our view from our suite in the stadium! Amazing.
I met Joe Thomas from the Cleveland Browns, got a signed football and even sat at his table for dinner. Pretty sa-weet! The American Dairy Association runs a program called “Fuel Up To Play 60” which is to help encourage kids to eat healthy food so that they can have energy to play for 60 minutes a day, and keep active. Joe helps with the program, and we learned about it at dinner. As a HUGE health and exercise advocate, I totally love what this program is promoting!
P.s I look like SO SMALL next to him. GAH.
We started off with the yummiest Greek salad evah.
Mascarpone and parmesan polenta with roasted pork with salsa verde and grilled veggies. This pork. OH MY GOSH. It MELTED IN MY MOUTH. It was all kinds of epic. So was everything else. My tummy was veryyyy happy.
Dessert! The creamiest and most luscious orange and chocolate panna cotta ever. Also, that candied lemon rind was PHENOM.
Our last morning we got up early and went back to elementary school to have breakfast with the kids! (Remember Fuel Up to Play 60? It’s important to start the day with breakfast!) We had fruit, milk and pancakes (yes, I was pumped about that) and chatted with our Breakfast Ambassador buddies about school breakfast. My buddy was Jasmine and she was such a sweet heart! I also thought it was AWESOME that school was serving breakfast! When I was in elementary school, this was not a thing.
We obviously had to play on the playground.
After school, we went for lunch at Melt Bar and Grilled. This is basically the most amazing restaurant that serves INSANE grilled cheese sandwiches.
We started off with Fried Mozzarella wedges with chipotle jam and basil marinara. There are no words to describe to you how freaking awesome these were. Crunchy on the outside, and then oozing with cheese. I’m drooling just thinking about them. GAH.
UM. THIS HAPPENED. This is the “Melt Challenge” You can see the below picture to see what consists of it. This is what started “Man Vs Food.” Disclaimer: we split this 13 ways, and every bite of it rocked my taste buds off my face. I mean, can you SEE THAT CHEESE?!
See above picture.
Probably my favorite sandwich that we tried (we got to try pieces of 6 off the menu.) This one was caramelized banana, house made peanut butter, sweet cream cheese, candied peanuts with mixed berry preserves.
You guys. This sandwich is called “Godfather” and it has LASAGNA in the middle of it! WHAT THE WHAT? And, yes, it was as epic as it sounds.
Aerial shot of our spread. Are you drooling yet?
Your eyes are not lying, this grilled cheese is DEEP FRIED. Yes, it’s a deep fried Monte Cristo Grilled Cheese. Dead.
The other 2 that we tried that are not pictured were: A grilled cheese with potato & onion pierogi, fresh napa vodka kraut, sautéed onions and sharp cheddar and one with garlic mushrooms, caramel port onions, wilted arugula and provolone. All of them were incredible.
And, because, WHY STOP THERE?! We finished with deep fried twinkies. AAAAAND now I’m going to the gym.
After all that we headed back to the airport and went home! It was a seriously fun, and busy, 3 days! I feel so lucky that I was able to meet the American Dairy Association Mideast, and all the fabulous bloggers! I want to say a big thank you to the ADA Mideast for the amazing trip!
Before we go, I obviously need to tell you some Cow/Dairy facts that I found interesting! Here’s 10:
1. Dairy Cows are VERY well cared for! They get 24 hr access to fresh, clean water and nutritious feed and have fans, misters and heaters to help keep them comfy!
2. Cows eat 80 to 90 lbs of grains a day, and drink 25 to 50 gallons of water. They spend 6-8 hours a day eating. CRAZY RIGHT?
3. Cows weigh 1300-1500 lbs and produce 6.2 gallons of milk A DAY. That is more than 2275 gallons a year! WHOA.
4. Dairy Foods are among the safest and most tested foods in the US!
5. Schools must offer two kind of milk in the cafeteria. If it is regular milk it has to be low fat, and if it’s flavored it has to be fat free.
6. We also learned that the flavored milk in school is MUCH different than the flavored milk you buy in stores, as it has to fit to certain guidelines, and is lower in sugar. The only place that you can buy “school flavored milk” outside of school is McDonalds. CRAZY!
7. 50% of boys aged 9 to 18, and over 90% of girls, are not getting the required milk servings!
8. Cows milk contains the most absorbable amount of calcium.
9. BST is the hormone that cows product to make milk. There is a synthesized hormone called rBST that can be given to cows to get them to produce more milk. HOWEVER, it has been proven that this added hormone does NOT affect humans, as we just digest it as a protein. Furthermore, every milk producing mammal has a hormone that causes them to produce milk.
10. Milk contains 9 essential nutrients, which makes it one of the most nutrient-dense beverages out there!
Well, I hope you enjoyed my SUPER LONG recap! See you tomorrow for FOOD!