California Artisan Cheese Festival March 22-24

Well the Dairy Goddess survived the Fresno Food Expo. It was a great success

Imageand a wonderful way to promote our business and to make some new contacts. I had an opportunity to do  my first radio interview with Chis Daniels at KMJ Talk Radio and it was a lot of fun and I enjoyed the experience. I also had an opportunity to pre-register to participate in next years Fresno Food Expo. It will be here again before you know it!

One thing I have always wanted to do is California’s Artisan Cheese Festival.  It is going to be on March 22-24 in Petaluma, CA. I am a member of the Guild but haven’t had the time to take and enjoy it’s benefits. This year is going to pass without me attending yet again, but I am sharing it with you so that you might go and enjoy all of the fabulous cheeses. I am sure it is like going to cheese heaven.

The Artisan Cheese Festival is the United States’ premier cheese and wine event and will be taking place at the Sheraton Sonoma County in Petaluma as well as various area farms. From cheese-making seminars and beer and cheese pairings, to tasting competitions and and farm tours, this lively weekend will feature top artisan cheese experts, authors, chefs and winemakers from all over Marin and Sonoma counties. There are several new and exciting additions to the lineup this year, including a meet the cheesemakers reception and a Farm Tour that takes guests to LaFranchi Ranch and Keller Estate Winery which features a sit-down three course lunch with guest chef Mayet Cristobal, the Executive Chef for Bon Appetit at the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu. Throughout the weekend guests will have the opportunity to experience limited-production, rare artisan cheeses and learn about the art of making cheese, while supporting local and sustainable farmers and cheesemakers in California.

Dairy Goddess Countdown – Fresno Food Expo

I can’t believe it has been already a year! The Fresno Food Expo is already here and things are a bit crazy in preparation as well as tending to all of our regular orders. We continue to service the 37 Nor-Cal Whole Foods so don’t forget to go in an ask for some “Dairy Goddess”. 

The Expo is Thursday March 14, 2013. The public portion is going to be held from 5pm to 8pm at the Fresno Convention Center, Hall 1. Tickets are $40.00 but you can go to www.fresnofoodexpo.com for discount ticket offers. 

Come on out to taste, touch, and try food and beverage products from 106 food exhibitors. It is a great opportunity to learn about local food companies and you will even have a chance to purchase product you like at the show. Dairy Goddess is offering special Expo discounts. 

Supporting local food companies has never tasted so good. 

Also I am asking you to please go to Fresno Food Expo New Products Award (click on link) and vote if you haven’t already. My 3 entries are in the TOP 5 of 55 products. The voting continues until the day of the event. 

All you need to do is 

“Like” each of my products (3 of them, Whole Milk, Chocolate Milk, and my Cheese) along with that please email a vote too. Your support is appreciated and helps our little company get our name out. Remember, I AM our marketing team. 

Our family does it all! So join “OUR” family and take a moment to cast your votes.

Hope to see you at the Expo!

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Dairy Goddess Fulfilling Her Dairy Dreams With Your Help!

As you know. Dairy Goddess Farmstead Cheese and Milk was created by me. Partly as a dream to create products from our cows milk but also out of desperation during the worst economic time in our dairy industry. Trying whatever we could to save our farm.

With the help and support of my husband Tony, my daughter Tara we have done a pretty good job. I am very proud of what we have accomplished in two and a half short years.

I am proud to announce that we just made it into the Northern California Whole Foods 35 plus stores with my Non-Homogenized, Low Pasteurized Whole Milk and Chocolate Milk along with Dairy Goddess Fromage Blanc Cheese. If you are in that region…please go in and tell them you LOVE Dairy Goddess. The real key to this success is to receive and maintain those re-orders.

I have expanded my tiny little plant and product as I have gone along. Dairy Goddess does not have a marketing team. I do not have an advertising budget. We do EVERYTHING ourselves. With that said. I am asking you to help me out. Please go to Fresno Food Expo’s Website (click here) Like their page. Then look at all of the wonderful new San Joaquin Valley New Products that will be highlighted at the Fresno Food Expo on March 14th. Then please LIKE each of my products. I have the Whole Milk / Whole Chocolate Milk and Cheese. Click the like by each of those pictures and that is all you have to do and sharing that with your friends would also be appreciated. This type of promotion is what has got me to where I am now. It is hard to get reach without professionals helping, but with your assistance I could not be happier!

I am the little ant that could….and this ant is going to do her best to keep going!

Thanking you in advance for your help…remember LIKE all Three Dairy Goddess Products by clicking the “thumbs-up” next to it’s picture.

Photo from Hanford Sentinel article

Dairy Goddess LogoImage

Farmers Given Tribute! Dairy Goddess Says “THANKS DODGE”

Isn’t it nicImagee for a change that farmers are given some real and positive recognition…AND it was during the most watched event in the world.

Now let me go back a bit…I did not see the Dodge commercial titled “So God Made A Farmer” yesterday, during the Superbowl but one of my daughters friends, Claudia Avila, posted on my Facebook wall…

“Hope you saw that farmer commercial for Ram…totally thought of you guys. Xoxo”

I was so bummed that I missed it but Thank God for You Tube (click to view) I watched it, and watched again. It brought tears to my eyes and I swelled with pride. I thought, finally…a shout out to all of the farmers that feed our nation…our world and they are supporting Future Farmers of America to boot! Wow that is so cool!

I was so happy that Claudia, a beautiful, sweet, twenty-something that lives in the city, away from farms saw that commercial and took that moment to share that she thought of us. THANK YOU Claudia that make me very proud.

The commercial’s impact continues. It has been all the buzz this morning on the talk shows and I was so happy to hear “Kelly and Michael” say how much they loved it and made them think about how hard farmers work. It is nice to have this good media attention for a change.

I am happy to say that I do drive a Dodge and this farmer thanks you! 

 

Correction! Dairy Goddess Bumbles! Shock Of CDFA Decision.

My dear readers I want to apologize at my blunder regarding our very complicated / very confusing pricing system that dairy farmers have to deal with.

In my angst, hurt, frustration, tears, and disgust I made a mistake in my previous blog post. 

Instead of receiving the token .25 cents per 100 gallons of milk for 3 months. It should be .25 cents per 100 weight (CWT). 100 CWT is 11.6 gallons. (This correction does not minimize the slap that CDFA gave to California dairy farmers, by awarding their slight token of appeasement) but I did want to be clear to my readers whom I hold so dear.

Again, my apologies. It is clear that I am not a professional writer. Though, there is no doubt that this blog comes from my heart and all of the emotions it holds.

Sorry for the confusion.  

Barbara Martin / Dairy Goddess

CA. Dairy Farmers Slapped In The Face. CDFA Sides with Processors Yet Again!

Well yesterday we received the decision regarding the emergency CDFA hearing that was held on 12/21/12 (note, on the day of the hearing, Secretary Ross was not even there, while the room was filled with hard working dairy farmers that left their farms at 3 am to make their importance of this issue known. She obviously had more important things to do on that Friday before Christmas).

We went there, pleading that California dairy farmers receive some much needed relief. We, dairy farmers in California receive $2.00 per 100 gallons of milk less than the rest of the nation. We have the highest regulations and costs. In a nutshell it costs us more to feed our animals than what we are getting paid. (We can all thank corn being produced and mandated for Ethanol (thank them also for your higher grocery bill). This corn to ethanol is a joke and more political corruption. It is not efficient, but too many wealthy, very powerful lobbying has corrupted their mindset and throw common sense out the door. 

The CDFA has it’s own cost of production costs that show this and is officially reported and published.

The cheese-makers here in California cry they will not survive if we are given any such relief. It cost them too much money to deal with their whey (the left over after cheese is made). It is a known fact that most of the cheese-makers in CA are making record profits that includes processing that valuable whey protein. They stand behind the couple that do not process it and say if they pay more they will be in dire straights. Their greed eventually will bite them as if things don’t change they will have to fight for what milk might be left in this state. They are worried about paying now? Wait till there is not enough dairies to provide milk to go around. 

The frustrating part of this is that all of the other states cheese-makers are managing and profiting. I believe, ever stronger, that we need to dump our state system and join the Federal Order. It might not be any better, but it could not get much worse. Besides I would no longer be part of this greedy, regulated, state system that can not even read their own data that shows that dairies are closing weekly. Four hundred dairy families gone. It is obvious CDFA can care less. So why stay in such a system that favors only one side. At least we would be on the same playing field as the dairy farmers in the nation.

The cheese-makers have some sick-corrupt control over the CDFA. It is a dark and demented cloud. They do not appreciate the valuable economic impact we have provided and treat us as an uneducated pebble in their shoe. They believe they are saving us from ourselves and protecting us from our habitual over production.  

So, in a nutshell (rounding it off)…we asked for $1.00 per hundred gallons of milk extra from the processors for 6 months of relief. We received .25cents per hundred gallons of milk for 3 months.

A true slap in our face and more proof of this unhealthy alliance between the state and processors. Though, I hope the CDFA doesn’t think that they “won” (they do have more points) but please know we have only just begun. You are dealing with a new generation of dairy farmers.

I no longer support this “TASK FARCE” trying to get producers and processors on the same page. This here proves they can not even agree to give us temporary relief when we need it the most. They see that we are short on milk. What makes us think they will work with us ever if they go against us now?

We need to demand change and continue to fight for what is right and FAIR! We need our co-ops to stand together with us and start taking control.

 

CDFA announces temporary 25 cent hike for four months

The CDFA today released its much anticipated announcement on the Dec. 21, 2012 milk pricing hearing, saying it would temporarily increase Class 1,2,3, 4a and 4b prices by approximately $0.251/cwt for the period of Feb. 1 to May 31, 2013. The announcement by Candace gates, chief of the Dairy Marketing Branch, provided these details:
•    Increasing the Class 1 price approximately $0.05/cwt by adding:• $0.0006 per pound to the milk fat price.• $0.0045 per pound to the milk solids-not-fat price. • $0.0001 per pound to the milk fluid carrier price.
•    Increasing the Class 2 and 3 prices approximately $0.10/cwt by adding:• $0.0082 per pound to both the milk fat and milk solids-not-fat prices
•    Increasing the Class 4a and 4b prices approximately $0.30/cwt by adding:• $0.0246 per pound to both the milk fat and milk solids-not-fat prices.

The Hearing Determinations, Panel Report, Stabilization Plans and a more detailed explanation of the department’s decision can be found on the Dairy Marketing website www.cdfa.ca.gov/dairy  by clicking on the Hearing Matrix. Jan. 22, 2013 CDFA Notice 

Dairy Goddess Loves Her Customers!

Great Recipe with Dairy Goddess Cheese

Great Recipe with Dairy Goddess Cheese

Well here we are in 2013….amazing isn’t it?

I wanted to start off my New Year wishing you all a very prosperous and happy 2013.

I also wanted to start out extending my gratitude to all of my great customers.  I, Dairy Goddess, appreciates you all more

than you can ever know! I want to share with you a recipe a customer had sent me with a picture of the wonderful dish they had made using Dairy Goddess Farmstead Cheese…I made it and it is AMAZING. I feel very blessed to have such great customers using my products and sharing their recipes with me!  Thank you Justin and Tara for sharing!

I tried your cheese in a recipe and loved it, so I thought that I would share. Great product!” – Justin and Tara
 
 
Roast Red Bell diced, mushrooms quartered, Broccoli flourettes, julianne white onion, tossed in olive oil salt and pepper fresh garlic @ 350F for 18 mins (or pan saute if you wish)
 
To separate pot Add 2C of cream, 2 oz Azores 1 oz Central Coast cheese with 4oz of cheddar, 2 tsp of powdered chicken stock and 2 tsp fresh garlic salt and pepper
 
serve sauce over Fettucini noodles topped with grilled or baked thin sliced diced or julianned chicken,  then the roasted  veg, dash of parm, and yummy bread.
 
 
Let me know if you try and like it. Check pic. I’m a chef and me and my girlfriend just added as we went along lol!
 
Justin & Tara

Wishing You All A Very “Dairy” Christmas!

I want to wish all of you a very Merry “Dairy” Christmas!

Let us take this time to pray for the repair of our Government and our country.

Help those that have the power to make change do so for the betterment of our people.

Let us take joy in all that we have in our lives and appreciate all of those things that our truly important. 

I appreciate all of you and your continued support of my blog, of Dairy Goddess Farmstead Cheese and Milk and Tony Martin Dairy.

May we all blessed with a prosperous 2013. 

O God, whose mighty Son was born in Bethlehem those days long ago, lead us to that same poor place, where Mary laid her tiny Child. 

And as we look on in wonder and praise, make us welcome Him in all new life, see Him in the poor, and care for His handiwork the earth, the sky and the sea. 

O God, bless us again in your great love.  We pray for this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

 

Dairy Goddess Testifies At The CDFA in Sacramento

I have just gotten back from Sacramento. Karen Ross had called a hearing to raise all Class Milk prices for up to 6 month to help dairy farmers through this terrible crisis. Mind you getting to a meeting in Sacramento at 7 am on the Friday before Christmas was no easy task.

I was proud to see many dairy farmers there. There were also plenty of processors there to fight it. Their lack of empathy toward our dairy crisis is disturbing. 

I have been up since 230 am so I will post my testimony for you to read. There was a lot of very good producer testimony and I do hope that we were heard.

 

I am here today urging you to increase the pay price that dairy farmers receive.
We have been receiving nearly $2.OO less per hundred weight than the rest of the 
United States for far too long. Along with that we have the highest costs and 
the highest regulations as well as providing the highest quality of milk.

300 dairy families gone along with another 100 this year.

We have been pleading and petitioning for a year all to be denied and delayed. 
All the while many dairy families have lost or  are losing their generational 
farms and culling generational herds.  We hear from processors that we need to 
become more efficient . I can guarantee you this ... The dairy farmers that are 
still in business today have become efficient or else they would not be in 
business today. I would only hope that our government would become as efficient 
as  us dairy farmers...we would not be on the fiscal cliff we are standing on 
right now.

Have any of you ever here seen a dairy farmer walk around his dairy after the 
cows have left for slaughter? It is heart breaking...it is a memory that will 
never leave me. I pray that no more dairy families have to take that walk.

Those of us still here are fighting for our lives.  Yet, as we fight for our 
lives our main concern is to feed and care for our cows. Everything we do 
revolves around our animals that is pressure that you will never understand. 
Getting the cows fed and feeling relived, only, then to have the burden of 
figuring out how you are going to cover your other bills like payroll, 
electric,fuel,insurance, environmental regulation fees and God help us if we 
have a blown tire on the tractor or a pump goes out. I do not wish the stress 
and pressure on any of you. Though I would like for you to walk in my shoes for 
a day...

We dairy families rallied on the Capitol steps in September and October . Only 
to be treated as a minor nuisance.  It was disheartening for so many but I am 
extremely proud that,  finally, California dairy farmers And 3 of our major 
co-ops stood together. 

I am disappointed in the actions of Secretary Ross and the CDFA. I would never 
expect you to work and not receive a fair wage for what you do. Yet you have sat 
back and watched the demise of so many dairy families knowing that we were 
receiving so much less than the rest of the nation. Shame on you CDFA for 
waiting so long and hoping it would fix itself as it has done in the past. Shame 
on you for not appreciating the California dairy families and all they have 
contributed to California.

In March of this year was the first I heard of the forming of a task force to 
fix our industry for the long term. I pray for its success.  As predicted,  It 
had not started off to be very fruitful. The one plus I see from there meeting 
is that Sec Ross could see for herself the true line in the sand between 
producers and processors.

There is a dark, sinister cloud that looms in our industry. I hope that we can 
work to change our system for a healthy dairy industry in the future and to rid 
the dark forces that shadow it.

Here we are at years end asking yet again, to be given some type of relief as a 
result of this hearing. I urge you to act swiftly. We are hanging on by a thread 
and for too many it is already too late.


3rd Sunday of Advent. Dairy Goddess Mourns With The Nation!

“Look for a light in the darkness”.

Last Friday December 14, 2012 we have seen a very, very dark day at the hands of a young man after killing his own mother. He went to Sandy Hook  Elementary School and sought out to kill twenty young children and 6 adults, their lives ended so violently and too soon. The young man then ended his own life.

We ask ourselves Why? How can this happen? We want to find answers and something/someone to  blame. It is easy to ask “Why God…Why?” During this time we must remember that God gives us free will. We are not robots. There is good and there is evil. Sadly, many choose evil…too many.

Many of us have our faith. It is this hope and faith that gets us through this very difficult time. Our hearts, as a nation are broken. For those of us that are not directly touched by this it makes our own problems seem so very small.

We pray for the lives lost. We pray for their families. We hug our own loved ones a little tighter. We mourn with them and count our blessings. 

This will be a very different Christmas for those people. We have just had the 3rd Sunday of Advent. We must reflect and be ready for Christ’s coming. We must prepare our hearts and soul. 

My condolences to everyone personally affected by this terrible tragedy. You will remain in my prayers. Those angels will be there waiting for all of us…Image

The Second Sunday of Advent. Are you REALLY ready?

We we just had the second Sunday of Advent. Many Christmas celebrations have taken place while many of us remain busy preparing for our own. 

I spent a busy weekend working farmers markets. We did decide to go to the Cayucos Christmas Celebration on Saturday night after our markets. They have a tree lighting and businesses are open for shopping or for cheer along with carolers and carriage rides. 

As we were leaving there was a terrible accident right in front of where we were. (News report of Cayucos accident here) 

You could see it was bad. Two people down in the street. Tony went to see while I stayed in the car. He came back very upset and said a car hit two people that attempted to cross the street. The lady that hit them was very, very upset and said she hadn’t seen them. (No arrests were made). Just a terrible accident.

As we celebrate advent we prepare for the 2nd coming of Christ. Really, though, we never know when it is going to be our last day. This was a shocking reminder to me that we should be in constant preparation because it can come at any time.  

As we continue to prepare for Christmas take time to make the most of this Advent Season by preparing our way to the Lord.

“Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36) 

Sadly, the husband had died and the wife remains in critical condition. Tony and I have been praying for them and their family.  We think about how something like a simple evening stroll can be your last. 

Dairy Goddess Celebrates Advent

ImageIt’s official! The holidays are upon us. Thanksgiving is no longer it’s own special day it has become the official kick off of the holiday season(Even though holiday decor is out at Halloween). It doesn’t even seem like that special of a day any longer as it is drowned out by “Black Friday”.

I find it ironic that the day we are to be most grateful for the things that we have goes into the day in which we fight lines and parking for all of those great sales for things we think we can not live with out.

Don’t get me wrong. I have spent every Christmas holiday of my adult life in the same frenzy to have everything “perfect” for Christmas day. Often so stressed and tired that when in church on Christmas I can barely keep my eyes open.  I get it! I truly do.

I don’t know if it is because I am nearly 50 or if it is because I have been fighting these last four years to make our dairy work. I don’t know if it is because so much of my time is devoted to make my new business work. I continue to feel the negativity of the economy. I feel I have been fighting for a long time. I have been thrown losses and carry stress that life often bears.

The one solid and beautiful thing that has got me through these tough and trying times is my faith. Even with all of the difficulties, I know I have so, so much. It is the faith instilled in me that accepts what life brings to me is Gods plan.

My faith in God has given me the strength to carry on and keep up the fight. When having great abundance it is hard to appreciate those things that are truly important, family, friends, a new puppy :), health. When struggling you often find out what little you really need and what your have is so very, very sweet.

I was impressed by all of the 30 days of gratitude for the month of November from many of my Facebook friends. Also bloggers that made that commitment to share each and every day what they are grateful for.

So with that. Sunday, December 2 is the first Sunday of Advent. (Below is the Wikipidia definition of Advent). I would like honor this Advent Season through my blog by celebrating the birth of Jesus. Celebrating and honoring the Nativity. Also preparing and awaiting the second coming.

I hope that with this commitment to reflect on the Advent using my blog, like that of an advent calendar (though I can not promise my frequency, LOL) it will bring joyful anticipation of Christmas day and avoid the stress of the “material” part of the holiday and keep my eye on the real reason for the season, the birth of our Savior.

from Wikipedia
Advent is a season observed in many Western Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. The term is ananglicized version of the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming.” It is the beginning of the Western liturgical year and commences on Advent Sunday. The Eastern churches’equivalent of Advent is called the Nativity Fast, but it differs both in length and observances and does not begin the church year, which starts instead on September 1.[1] At least in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Moravian, Presbyterian and Methodist calendars, Advent starts on the fourth Sunday before December 25, which is the Sunday from November 27 toDecember 3 inclusive.[2]

Latin adventus is the translation of the Greek word parousia, commonly used in reference to the Second Coming of Christ. For Christians, the season of Advent anticipates the coming of Christ from two different perspectives. The season offers the opportunity to share in the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah, and to be alert for his Second Coming.

Women & Dairy; Goddesses Unite! Women in Dairy Conference-Penn State Extention

Women In Dairy Conference – November 7, 2012

Women in Dairy Pennsylvania – Penn State Extension

Last year we had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful group of dairy farmers from Pennsylvania that were visiting California dairy farms. Our dairy was one of their stops. Tony and I shared our dairy and our cheese plant and the debut our chocolate milk. I had the opportunity to speak to them and shared our struggles with the dairy business and operating a dairy products plant.

A couple months later I received an email asking if I would be interested in being the Keynote speaker at their Women in Dairy Conference being held in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

I reminded them that I was not a professional speaker. She said that it was the ladies from the tour that suggested me as the speaker. I was flattered and frightened at the same time.

They also asked if I could sit on a panel for blogging. That, I thought, no problem. I feel comfortable with blogging. I admit I do not know a lot of the technical things associated with blogging but I do feel comfortable sharing my message and I realize the importance of getting your story out and not let others speak for you. Especially in the dairy industry.

I agreed to do it. I admit, a bit reluctantly. It seemed so far away. I really didn’t know where I would be with my business. I didn’t know how I was going to manage to get away. I didn’t know how to put together a keynote address. I had seen plenty of wonderful speakers in my day. I was especially moved when I had seen Dr. Scott Vernon from Cal Poly SLO give his keynote address at the California Women in Agriculture convention earlier this year. I was challenged and I like that. I decided to do it!

Months before, and up to just before departure I was agonizing over my decision. One day it was, “how exciting” the next day was “what the heck did I get myself into”. I was worried about letting those ladies down. I knew it was too late to back out now. I dug my heels in and resolved to do my best.

I would hole myself up and write, rewrite, write and write some more. It is very rewarding putting your life on paper. I also created my first power point! Accepting challenges and learning new things, isn’t that what life is about?

Penn State Extension is an outreach program of the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences. They provide educational programs for dairy producers, their employees, and advisers. (click here to see the great programs that they offer) They do a great job. They are professional and work very hard. It is very clear that they like what they do and they like working with these dairy farmers. I felt their devotion and respect for the dairy farmers that they served.

There is nothing easy about getting to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania from Fresno, California. I departed at night on November 5th. I arrived, after a couple of plane changes, in the morning of November 6th. It was a beautiful day. It was a beautiful place. I would not let my weary body get me down. I had to go explore. Explore I did. I want to thank Unique Limousine of Harrisburg, PA. I called them at the last minute. They asked what I was interested in seeing. Offered me a very fair price and picked me up right away to escort me on my adventure. I got to visit the Central Market in Lancaster, PA It is the oldest, continuously ran, farmers market in the nation. A perfect stop for me right? I enjoyed introducing myself to the farmers/vendors there and they were kind and warm. I even got a hug from a lovely Mennonite vendor. I was driven through the beautiful countryside enjoying the farms and got a glimpse of Amish life. I drove through Hershey, PA, the “sweetest town in America” and yes the street lights are the shape of Hershey’s kisses. The whole time, as I was enjoying this, I kept telling myself how much Tony would love to see this and vowed to come back and spend more time.

After my full day I got to enjoy dinner with some of the Penn State Extension team. We also went to a pre-conference reception that evening.  It was nice to have this “warm-up” because that moment was here and there was no turning back now.

After a surprisingly good nights sleep, that moment, that I had agonized for so long, was now here. I admit, I was glad that I was up first. When I was done I felt great relief and satisfaction. Mission accomplished! I had wonderful feed back and response and felt embraced. One very nice young lady said that I had “set the tone” for the conference. I was happy that I did not disappoint. These are hard-working dairy women. They are busy working on the farms, milking cows, raising calves and taking care of their families. I wanted it to be worth their time and I didn’t want to disappoint the ladies that suggested me for the job.

I was happy to share my life. I believe they realized, like I did, that even though we might run our dairies differently. We might have more or less cows to take care of. We share to same goals and struggles in our lives. At the end of the day our lives are consumed with the care and well-being of not only our families but our animals.

Sitting on the blogging panel was fun. It is always fun to share the rewards and challenges of blogging. I got to sit on the panel with Raechel Sattazahn. She did a great job sharing her blog, Go Beyond the Barn Blog please check it out. Her husband is a guest writer and they do a wonderful job sharing our agricultural story.  Lisa Perrin from Mid Atlantic Dairy Association did a great job as the panel facilitator.

I got to enjoy the rest of the day mingling, eating good food, and taking in the other breakout sessions. I met too many wonderful people to name individually. I  hope they know how much I appreciated my time with all of them.

During the day I had the opportunity to meet Jessica Armacost. She is the director of the Pennsylvania Dairy Princess Program and Promotion Service . They have a very impressive program. The girls are very active in promoting dairy in their state. She had with her two of her princesses, Callie and Heather. These two lovely princesses gave a beautiful “milk toast” at lunch. They attended the whole conference and were staying on for other appearances.  They were staying the night and asked if I would like to join them for dinner.

What a great evening. She drove us into the town of Harrisburg and indulged me in some picture-taking of this beautiful town. We ate at a local restaurant Appalachian Brewing Company. It was an evening of good food and good company.  I so appreciate their invitation. This was a perfect ending to a wonderful experience.

I want to thank Dr. Lisa Holden, associate professor, Penn State Dairy and Animal Science and Laurie Porter for their efforts in arranging this conference. They make it seem easy. Congratulations to you both and everyone who made this day the success that is was.

I made it back home without delay. I was comforted to know that my cheese/milk and dairy business ran just fine without me. Tara and Tony do a great job and did it all themselves without complaint. It is I, that do not know what I would do without them. Thank you both for “holding down the fort”. I love you both.

Again, Pennsylvania Women in Dairy and Penn State Extension, my deepest gratitude for this opportunity. Until we meet again….

California Dairy Rallies Are Like Praying…Not Always Answered Right Away, But It Feels Good!

Hello everyone, I am sorry for my delay in posting from our rally on Oct 18 2012. It had been my hope that some miracle would have happened and we would be onto some concrete level ground and would have a solution. The “Polly Anna” in me was hoping for a “Kumbaya” moment and we would have quick resolve.

On October 18, 2012 we again left from Goshen at about 630 am on a beautiful bus provided by Western Milling and Novus International (allied industry helping us in our plight). I am very grateful for there support and financial aid to provide this transportation. It was a great way to travel, communicate, laugh, share our angst. It was fun. It was nice to not have to fight the traffic and high fuel prices it was also very comfortable and spacious with a wonderful driver. We were in good hands.

We had a wonderful turnout at the rally. About the same numbers as the first rally but this time was many, many different faces.

There were some great speakers that represented dairy families in California. (Click on the link to see)

 Great speakers shared their stories 

Two of my favorite people spoke too, Mary Cameron and Mario Simoes Sr.

They had and open forum in which I went up to share with the group that Secretary Ross had called me the night before. (She wanted to let me and others know that they were getting our phone messages, emails, and faxes). She had mentioned that the task force was meeting and she was hoping to get some immediate relief for dairy producers.  (My words to the rally folks click here)

I felt hopeful that this rally would impact not only the Secretary and the CDFA but also be heard by the processors who have been fighting any change we have requested to be made. They are feeling the impact of less milk, yet they continue to dig in their heels and expect for us to go back to our old ways.

I even sent a letter to one of the task force members, Sue Taylor, from Leprino Foods. You can view this letter on the website Rally For California Families

She did not even have the graciousness to email me back a response. Frustrating to be so ignored while my quality milk arrives to them daily and makes them millions of dollars. I was reaching out and hoping for some unity….yeah right….”Polly Anna” disappointed again.

The task force did meet on Oct 23 and 24th. Below is Western United Dairymen’s well written account of the two days. I could not help but feel that possibly Secretary Karen Ross was, like I, feeling a little “Polly Anna” in thinking that they might be able to agree on something. I am glad she witnessed for herself how stubborn and uncaring the processors are. Like spoiled children, they have been used to getting their way. She saw the dairymen in that meeting standing together, standing as one. She witnessed the line in the sand. She witnessed that the processors do not care about the producers. Their only care is their profits because of cheap milk and it doesn’t matter that it is at the demise of generations of California dairy families.

The processors feathers are so ruffled they have actually lashed out at Milk Producers Council (Letter from DIC to MPC).

They have the nerve to tell us that they are protecting us from ourselves. They act as if we purposely oversupply the milk. They say it’s all our fault. I say to them….take care of yourselves. Buy only the milk you need and pay us a fair price. If we oversupply it then our co-ops with their base limits will handle it with those that are overproduction. How dare they be so arrogant and treat us like naughty children who do not know how to play nice. Shame on them.

The bright spot of these two days was the fact that Secretary Karen Ross stated that she is expecting a petition for a hearing (as she states in the below letter). She promises to handle it expeditiously. As I am writing this I have not had confirmation of that filing but I did receive a phone call from our DFA Western Area Chairman George Mertens, stating that a petition was being drafted (by DFA, CDI, and LOL) adjusting the 4b price to be in alignment with the Federal 3 price. The petition will be filed by Dairy Farmers of America, California Dairies, Inc, and Land O’Lakes. These are our three major co-ops in California and they are joining together.

I am happy to say that I believe this is moving in a positive direction and uniting is what we need as dairy men and cooperatives. This has been our trouble and has been a determent in our industry for too long. Let us just hope that she does handle this quickly and we dairy farmers can be in “sound economic relationship” with the rest of the nation.

Also Western United’s board members directed staff to craft language to make the change and organize bipartisan support in Sacramento for the legislation for our 4b price to be in alignment. So basically if CDFA can’t do it then let legislation step in. Read more here

Time though, is money…so hopefully the quickest solution for us would be when she receives the petition she will act as quick as the law allows and we can see some relief soon…so many of us depend on it.

Group meets to address immediate and long-term challenges facing the state’s dairy industry. State ag secretary is “impressed by the progress made.”

Source: Western United Dairymen Weekly Update

California’s newly formed 28-member Dairy Future Task Force — composed of dairy producers, processors and cooperatives — held its first meeting this week to address immediate and long-term challenges facing the state’s dairy industry.

CDFA Secretary Karen Ross announced the panel’s creation earlier this summer, after hearing a petition by producer groups to adjust the state’s whey factor in Class 4b minimum milk pricing formula. The action came in the face of skyrocketing drought-related feed costs, forcing many producers into bankruptcy.


California Dairy Future Task Force members
David Ahlem, Hilmar
Joey Airoso, Tipton
Joe Augusto, Visalia
Tom Barcellos, Tipton
Marcus Benedetti, Petaluma
Ben Curti, Tulare
Rochelle De Groot, Hanford
Joe DeHoog, Ontario
Lucas Deniz, Petaluma
Eric Erba, Visalia
Frank Fereira, Red Bluff
Mike Gallo, Atwater
Dino Giacomazzi, Hanford
Dominic Grossi, Novato
Scott Hofferber, San Bernardino
Dennis Leonardi, Ferndale
Steve Maddox, Riverdale
J.T. Maldonado, Hanford
Tony Mendes, Riverdale
George Mertens, Sonoma
Rick Michel, Waterford
John Oostdam, San Jacinto
Brian Pacheco, Kerman
Ray Souza, Turlock
Sue Taylor, Denver
Arlan Van Leeuwen, Oakdale
Sybrand Vander Dussen, Chino
Simon Vander Woude, Merced


Secretary Ross issued a statement following the task force’s meeting: “The Dairy Future Task Force is made up of dairy producers, processors and cooperatives asked to come together to find common ground upon which they can build a new, more stable and contemporary path for the dairy industry. The first session, held October 23-24, provided an opportunity to agree on a common fact base and develop a sense of what the group wants to accomplish in the coming months. The task force achieved alignment around a shared vision for the future of the California dairy industry, which is a significant accomplishment and a key step toward long-term success. The initial session was designed to set the stage for the group to identify and build strategic pillars that will result in a robust, profitable, demand-driven dairy industry. I was impressed by the progress made and look forward to continuing this important work. I commend the group’s members for embracing their task and the difficult but critical discussions it entails.

“Based on the discussion of concepts for potential short-term solutions, CDFA anticipates receiving a petition shortly and will evaluate it on an expedited basis. I very much look forward to working with the talented and passionate producers and processors who are willing to provide leadership to this very important sector of the agricultural community.”

In a background statement issued by CDFA, the department said the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) will have administrative oversight of the task force. Meetings will not be open to the public to “eliminate public posturing, hyperbole, and positioning for political gain.”

According to the background information, task force members were invited as individuals–not as representatives of associations or other organizations. There will be “significant public vetting of various stages of the task force’s work, which will strive to create consensus around short- and long-term solutions.”

The CDFA noted that several years ago CMAB commissioned a study which provided concepts for long-term sustainability and industry growth for the California dairy industry. That report, by global management consultant McKinsey and Company, is serving as a foundation for discussions on long-term solutions.

CA Dairy Farmers UNITE! Rally At State Capitol : Fighting For Their Lives, Family, And Cows!

Standing Up For Dairy Farmers!

Hundreds of California Dairy farmers united yesterday 9/13/12 and headed to the state capitol in Sacramento to be heard. Some took buses, others carpooled and even more made the trek alone.  Click here for the video of the speakers from yesterdays rally.

September 4th a lawsuit was filed against the CDFA . We dairy farmers have asked three times for a fair price for our milk. Three times we have been denied. Secretary Ross is not following  the law. The law is very clear, “the price announced by CDFA must be in reasonable alignment with prices paid for comparable milk produced and sold around the country”. This law has not been followed. California dairy farmers have continued to be paid $2.00 per hundred weight less for our milk than our neighboring states. That is 20 million dollars we have been robbed.

We are not asking for a bail out. We are not asking that this be paid by the tax payers. We do not want the price of dairy products to go up in the stores. We ONLY want our fair share.

What is fair and balanced about the processors making record profits and dairy farmers losing thousands upon thousands of dollars every month.

Three hundred dairy families are already gone. Another 100 dairy families are to exit. This is a crisis! In any other industry it would have been deemed so.

I wanted to be part of this historic moment. It started by two dairy farmers, Jim Wilson and Gary Van Ryn having dinner with their families and feeling frustrated and tired they decided that they needed to do something about it. They contacted Kevin Kruse from Western Milling and together they got the ball rolling. I immediately jumped on board for this effort. We have laid down too long.  I mean, If I am going out I am going standing tall with my boots on. I, like the rest of us there have had enough.

I have been disgusted with our leadership that is suppose to be representing us and have failed. I mean they throw out words say they are doing their best. They plan informational meetings to see what will be the best course of action. They remind us at every meeting that things are bound to get better…. Blah Blah Blah

Western United Dairymen, our largest dairy organization that exists because of the dues that dairy farmers pay was not there yesterday. Our co-ops like California Dairy Inc, Land O’Lakes, Hilmar Cheese, and DFA were not there. Why you ask??? I will tell you why. They are worried about “upsetting” Secretary Ross. They do not want to ruin their “great” relationship. They don’t want to lose the “great” communication that they have with the Secretary and CDFA. Really?? We have been nothing but denied any request that we have made. This is politics. This is our business and lives that they are dealing with. This isn’t about a popularity contest. It’s not about who she “likes” the most. She is a public servant. It is her job not to make decisions based on who she likes the most. This isn’t personal. This isn’t about giving the teacher an apple for a better grade. It is about the law and our rights. It is about what is fair!

What was confirmed to me yesterday was who it was truly looking out for the dairy farmers and that, was in majority, US! The dairy farmers standing together united! We did have political support with David Valadao and a few more public officers. We did have Milk Producers Council there and we had California Dairy Campaign too. This showed me finally what I have felt for a very long time that Western “United” Dairymen is not very united. Their directors should have been formally informed by their CEO of this protest and they should have tried to have been there even if they did not want to make a statement. As for the co-ops they say they have to keep an even balance between the processor and farmer. Their absence shows me who they really stand for, and it wasn’t for us. Upon this paragraph I feel that this quote I found this morning is most appropriate:

“I am aware that many object to the severity of my language; but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or to speak, or write, with moderation. No! no! Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; — but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD.” 
― William Lloyd Garrison

We know that yesterdays rally was not going to bring immediate change.  We know that it is just the start. What I do know is that we stood together, bonded, sharing our fears for our future, and felt strength within our numbers. We stood together in pride of what we do and in our faith of God to give us continued strength.

We are meeting again next week to decide on out next step. So stay tuned…We have only just begun!

Dairy Goddess: Joy Springs Even When Things Seem Tough

Hello everyone….I can not believe it has been over a month since my last post.

Why is it the things you love the most are the things that get neglected? I think this is the longest I have gone without a post and I have missed it.

Sadly the dairy industry is still suffering here in California only to be made worse by the droughts in the east that have driven up our feed prices while our milk prices have remained low. The future milk prices are improving but for so many it is not going to be enough. We have lost 100’s of dairies with more to go and no one seems to see the crisis in this. Our leaders have been ineffective and we drive through our valley and see generations of dairies empty. It is so very sad. Here is a local article in the Fresno Bee explaining what has been going on and how dairies are on the brink . We continue to pray and work hard to hold on for now. Prayer and hope is all that we have.

As far as Dairy Goddess we are doing OK. Business is steady and growing. With the generosity of so many we have managed to obtain milk crates and refrigerated storage.

Cold Storage

Even more exciting is we have gotten a refrigerated van. It’s very used but seems to be working well and with that we can now deliver milk to our distributor and stores so much easier. Thank you God.

Refrigeration Van

Since my last post I have had some wonderful things happen. My daughter has become engaged to her boyfriend Shane. We love him very much and could not be more excited. They are a wonderful couple and he comes from a great family. I am even more excited to think that I am a step closer to becoming a Grandma some day…LOL…no pressure kids!

Along with all of this A.J. made his departure to Grenada for Vet school. We are so happy for him and his decision to follow his dream of becoming a Veterinarian but we miss him so much on the farm. I also miss him coming in the morning and asking me for something to eat. We are so proud of him. It was big decision and it is very far away. He is loving the experience so far very much. Check out how beautiful St. George’s University is.

We just had the one year anniversary of my Mother’s passing (8/28) There is not a day that goes by that I do not think of her. I sure wish she was here to see Tara become engaged and A.J. heading off to University. I know she is with us in spirit, but I just would love to hear her laugh and sing again.

Sadly, this week we have had  the passing of my Uncle Carl. He was 93 and had a wonderful life. I feel blessed that he was in ours. He in now in peace and I know my mother was there waiting for him.

This is life…joy among sadness. So I must tell myself to take the time to enjoy every moment of those joys and savor them.

I want to take this time to extend my gratitude to the many people who support us and what we do. You make everything worth while. YOU are the blessings I am so very grateful for. God bless each and everyone of you. Please continue your prayers for us!

Dairy Goddesses Tattered Wreath Is Shining Again

Back in BusinessWell, it seems like when all I crave is peace and a life filled without drama I get thrown something unexpected.

Last Friday, June 29th we received a call from the CDFA regarding a “positive” on a random test done on a sample of our chocolate milk. It was due to an improper pasteurization. We are meticulous regarding our procedure we realized we had an immediate problem. We retraced our steps and due to a hose holding a bit of milk from our transfer from making regular to chocolate. This small amount did not get pasteurized upsetting the whole batch.

There is silver lining to this, first off, YOUR FOOD SAFETY. I, of course wish it wasn’t on my test :). You though, as a consumer should know that your food is tested constantly and I know I am grateful for that. Secondly, as we were only in our trial period and we were able to fix this problem before it actually hit the stores and a larger reach. Third, NO ILLNESSES occurred.

My immediate fear was for my customers. Not only for their well being, but also their trust in Dairy Goddess and our products.

I did not sleep thinking about what will happen next. What is going to happen in dealing with the state and what will my customers think. How will they react?

My sleeplessness replayed over and over again watching the demise of my business. Why is it always that it always feels worse in the middle of the night???

Monday came and our first test was good yet I knew that it was going to be made public. Announced for the nation to see, fear of the unknown. What’s going to happen next?

We work as usual. Confident that our issue was resolved. We make or cheese, our milk and our chocolate milk. On Tuesday we took our final sample in to test. Mind you, this is the day before the 4th of July holiday. My hats off to the CDFA staff and Sierra Dairy Labs for helping us to get this cleared and a verbal OK so that we can sell on Thursday as scheduled with out missing a beat.

The news hit! Friends rallied around. I received words of encouragement. People said “hang in there”, “you’ll be OK”. My favorite, “you’ve got lemons make lemonade”. On Facebook were posts like “we can’t wait to get more of that chocolate milk”.

I was OK…

On the 4th of July my phone rings. A major distributor is interested in my products.  They want to meet. (I did disclose that I just had got off recall the day before. He chuckled and said that “it happens, good to work out the quirks”).

What a difference a day makes! I prayed a word of thanks to God. (See the Hanford Sentinel’s story)

It hits me, I am still in business. I need more space to grow. I need refrigeration at my plant.  I need a refrigeration van to transport. Business is good but it is capital that I need. I know that it nearly impossible as the dairy industry is still struggling to get back on track.

I got an idea…a fundraiser, HELP DAIRY GODDESS SOAR Crazy I know, but there is so much I need. I need milk crates. I need more bottles, labels, supplies, space etc, etc, etc.

So I put myself out there…reaching out. I have already received such generous response. I am a blessed women. If you would like to help check out my “GoFundMe” button. I know these times are difficult for so many people. The main thing I ask is for your prayers. God hears our prayers.

“Pray, hope and don’t worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer” – Saint Pio of Pietrelcina. These are the words that comfort me. I hope they comfort you too!

Party Till The Cows Come Home: From Dairy Month to Ice Cream Month.

We are nearly at the last day of June is Dairy Month. I could not go the whole month with out posting about my favorite month of the year.

Mind you, I have been ‘celebrating’ in high style. We have been busying ourselves with our cheese and our new non-homogenized / lightly pasteurized whole chocolate and regular milk.

We have started three new farmers markets in West Hollywood also in Mar Vista and North Hollywood. We have felt very welcome down south.

Here is some of the press that we have received. ABC Channel 30 LA and the LA Times .

Also this month was our first cheese delivery to Lassen’s Natural Foods and Vitamins. We are in 8 of there stores. Dairy Goddess is urging you to support our new customers.

In honor of dairy month I hope you take a moment to reflect on what the real reason is for this special month. Dairy Council has done a great job sharing the Secrets, Stories and Facts of America’s Favorite Natural Beverage. Please take a moment and enjoy these milk facts .

Well now off to July and guess what? Yep, it’s Ice Cream Month So keep the celebration and enjoy plenty of dairy products.

Party till the cows come home!