Dairy – Delicious, Nutritious, and A Way Of Life for the New Mexico Milkmaid.

It’s dairy for breakfast, dairy for lunch, and dairy for dinner. Although we’re familiar with the 9 essential nutrients (calcium, protein, vitamin A/D/B12, niacin, riboflavin, potassium & phosphorus), there’s so much more that milk has to offer us and our environment. Luckily, I got to meet up with someone who helped fill me in on all things dairy. #dairy #newmexicomilkmaid #nutritioninmilk #dairyproducts


When I went to visit the New Mexico Milkmaid‘s dairy in Clovis, NM, my high expectations were EASILY exceeded from the amount of knowledge and enthusiasm she had to share. For the Vander Dussen family, milk isn’t just a staple in their diet. For them, it’s a source of family income, it’s a way of life, and it’s a strong passion that goes generations deep, for both Tara and her husband. As 5th generation dairy farmers (on both sides), they know triumphs and experienced the hardships that come with tending to their cows on a daily basis. Tara shares A Look to the Future on one of her recent blogs,

“My hope is that we will embrace our future with the same determination as our grandparents. And while we reflect on the past, we must continue in our forefathers’ footsteps of always moving forward and bettering ourselves and our farms.”

My visit with Tara and her family included her and her daughter joining me on New Mexico Ag in the Classroom‘s weekly episode of Breakfast with Brit on Facebook Live (on our page, every Wednesday at 9:00am). In this 2-part episode, Tara shares with us one of her “go-to” recipes – Sour Cream & Pecan Banana Bread, which of course includes deliciously creamy milk and crunchy pecans. “I love adding dairy products anywhere and everywhere I can in recipes! Adding sour cream or yogurt to the classic banana bread recipe can make it so much more moist. I highly recommend giving it a try!” – New Mexico Milkmaid

Breakfast with Brit – Dairy Tour & Banana Bread (Part 1)

For Part 2, CLICK HERE.

Science on the Farm

TAKE A LISTEN! Field Work podcast, hosted by two row-crop farmers, Zach Johnson and Mitchell Hora, dive deep, as Tara gets a chance to talk to them about the other hat she wears (She’s an Environmental Scientist!) and how she monitors the nutrient management, manure management, and water conservation practices on their farm and the farms that she works with throughout the southwest. Along with improving the environment, after their cows are milked, Tara informed me that it is sent to Southwest Cheese Company, LLC, located in Clovis, NM. Here, they are also dedicated to protecting the local natural resources and environment.

“Southwest Cheese has invested in a $25 million state-of-the-art water and wastewater treatment system that cleans and purifies by-products from our plants. Our system has been proven to reduce waste loads by more than 90 percent.”

Southwest Cheese Company, LLC

Explore for More!

Explore these lessons, and others that are located on our New Mexico Ag in the Classroom website.

Milk or Meat? Beef or Dairy? Different cattle breeds serve different purposes for agriculture, thanks to how much milk they produce or how much muscle they gain. Ag Fact: A Holstein’s spots are like a snowflake or human fingerprint; no two cows have exactly the same patterns of spots.

A Day Without Dairy “Without agriculture we wouldn’t have ANYTHING we use on a daily basis: Food, Fabric, Flowers, Forestry, or Fuel.” Ag Fact:  California dairies have significantly increased milk production due to an increase in the amount of milk each cow produces and a higher number of cows in our state. 

FoodMASTER Middle: Cheese “Explore milk by learning how cheese is made, the effect of pH on the formation of curds and whey, and the many health benefits associated with consuming dairy products.” Ag Fact: The holes in swiss cheese are a byproduct of the bacteria used to make the cheese.

The Scoop on Chemical and Physical Changes “The fluid milk we drink and the milk that is used to make other dairy products such as ice cream, yogurt, and cheese is typically produced by cows on a dairy farm.” Ag Fact: The average cow in the United States produces 6-8 gallons of milk per day.

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