California milk and dairy foods are high-quality, economical food sources that come in an endless array of flavors and formats to satisfy every palate. We want high quality and we want value; we want healthy options and we want to indulge; we want choice and we want to know where our food comes from. Dairy delivers in all of these areas.
Let’s start with quality and value. California dairy producers and processors are known for quality and they back it up by using the Real California Milk and Real California Cheese seals to certify they use only milk from the state’s 1,750 dairy families. Value-wise, by the cup, ounce or cube, it’s hard to find a better food buy than dairy — it is versatile, convenient and offers the added bonus of flavor along with being good for you.
Diet trends come and go — does anyone remember the low carb craze? What doesn’t change are the basics. In order to lose weight and get healthy, you need to eat fewer calories and concentrate on foods that satisfy. That’s where dairy shines. And if you’re looking to flex your culinary muscle or indulge a little, dairy has that covered too. You can find award-winning cheeses, butters, ice creams and gelatos and chef favorites like crème fraîche with the Real California seals. But that’s not all. As consumers we are looking beyond retail shelves, refrigerators and freezers. We want to know more about the foods we buy and who makes them. The Real California Milk and Real California Cheese seals indicate products are made with 100 percent California milk from one of our family farms.
To quote a California dairy producer, “Real California is more than a seal, it’s a statement.” Each one carries with it the deep heritage of dairy in California, the tradition of animal care and the commitment to sustainability that marks a California dairy farmer. This commitment can be viewed first-hand on the RealCaliforniaMilk.com website with the Real California Dairy Families documentary video series and nationally in a new TV campaign called “Family Farms.”
Did you know that 99 percent of California dairies are family owned? These family farms make a significant contribution to the state’s economy in jobs and economic activity both on the farm and beyond. In 2008 alone, dairy was responsible for creating more than 443,000 jobs (3 percent of the state’s job production) and $63 billion in economic activity.
So let’s raise a tall glass of California milk and salute those hard working dairy producers this June and every day.
Jennifer Giambroni is the Director of Communications for the California Milk Advisory Board.