I was born in Artesia, in 1946. I lived in Bellflower, but we made many trips to my father’s parents’ farm in Artesia, at Gridley and Artesia. I remember seeing all the big houses at the dairies and thinking how strange that they put their name in big letters over the barn.
My grandfather and one of his sons bought and sold cows for a living. I don’t remember seeing many cows, on the farm, but at one time they may have had quite a few, because they had a bunk house and a large barn for the hay. The cows on the farm supplied the milk for my grandfather and grandmother. I remember watching my grandmother skim the cream off the raw milk and she would make her own butter. She was doing this until the day the farm was sold, in about 1959. The farm eventually was turned into a huge housing development, with a Tasty Freeze right on the corner.
My father worked part-time, at several of the local dairies, milking cows, by hand, to earn extra money for our family.
This is an excerpt from a recent interview I did….with my mom! Listening to her talk about how her grandparents used to make a living was inspiring. Not that I’m going to run out and milk a cow or two, but I can definitely appreciate all their hard work. Since I have dairy in my blood, it only seemed fitting that I attended a recent Ice Cream Social event hosted by Real California Milk, the California Milk Advisory Board and their PR firm.
The CA Ice Cream Social event was a blast! Danielle Keene (of Top Chef: Just Desserts fame and owner of Bittersweet Treats) was on-hand to provide us with several ice cream and topping pairings (complete with samples of each, naturally). I plan to surprise my husband with my favorite concoction of the event: Strawberry Ice Cream with toasted fresh basil drizzled in balsamic vinagerette. It may even become our new ‘house’ dessert!
Kieran loved the Chocolate with pink peppercorns and smoked sea salt the best. True, she is into exotic flavors! She also may be one of the few 4-year olds that will enthusiastically announce her two favorite cheeses, Blue Cheese and Gouda! Did you think I was going to say “string”?
The Ice Cream Social also laid out a huge spread of various ice creams (mostly from Northern California producers) and toppings. It included the traditional: sprinkles, chocolate syrup and strawberries-to name a few. But also some very non-traditional (but very tasty) alternatives: smoked sea salt, toasted fresh basil flakes and almonds. I even met a couple of California dairy family–the Bootsma’s. We chatted for a bit about the beginnings of dairy in Southern California, in none other than my mom’s backyard, Artesia!
Here are some fun California Dairy facts:
- California is the nation’s largest farming state, producing more than 250 commercial food and fiber commodities, and dairy farming is the largest of these commodity groups
- California has been the nation’s largest milk producer since 1993 and is also the country’s leading producer of butter, ice cream, yogurt, nonfat dry milk and whey protein concentrate. It is the second largest cheese producer.
- More than 1,620 dairy families stand at the center of the state’s vast and growing dairy industry.
- The state’s dairies house 1.75 million milk cows.
- In 2010, California produced more than twenty percent of the nation’s cheese production and a fifth of its milk supply.
Check out the Real California Milk website for some great recipes!
* We did not receive monetary compensation for this review. That’s IT Mommy did receive a gift bag for attending the event. This will in no way sway our opinion of the product or service. The review is in our own words and is our opinion. Your results and opinions may differ.