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Swisslane Farms, CAFOs and Paninis- plus a GIVEAWAY

Big_Red_Barn

When our family started our food journey three years ago to move from the typical American diet to eating food as close to the way God intended it as possible, one of the major changes we made was buying the majority of our food locally. No longer is the grocery store my go to place for food, but farmer’s markets, coops and specialty stores. As I read more and watched documentaries about food one thing was clear to me. That the majority of American foods come from CAFOs. And CAFOs were all bad.

Or are they?

Boots

this ain’t Texas. how we Yankees do boots

Two weeks ago, I joined a group of bloggers and headed out to Swisslane Dairy Farm on the outskirts of the Grand Rapids area. The funny thing is I had been to Swisslane Dairy Farm many times when my kids were young because they have an amazing educational program that our moms group used to visit. Our school also takes field trips there and in fact had just brought a group of third graders out the week before.

Three_Young_Cows

our welcoming committee

Swisslane Dairy Farm has been in the Oesch family for four generations. They are about to celebrate their 100th anniversary and are so proud of their heritage. I lost count of how many relatives currently work on the farm but every one we met talked about their farm with such a sense of pride. And they are committed to helping their community understand where their food comes from. So far, everything is right up my alley.

Milking_Parlor

Annie from Swisslane Farms telling us about their milking process

But wait. Swisslane Dairy Farm is a CAFO. Almost 3000 cows reside there with almost 2000 of them milked daily. When we were told that this farm was technically a CAFO I was blown away. This is a family that is passionate about the environment, the health and care of their cows and the quality of their product. This was not some “big business agriculture” farm where animals are mistreated, injected with piles of antibiotics and looked at solely as a bottom line.

Blogger_Feeding_Baby2

me taking really good care of a baby calf

Michigan has over 22,000 small livestock farms and over 200 CAFOs that produce meat and dairy products. And almost 98 percent of those dairy farms are family owned. Families who deeply care about their animals like they are part of the family. Michigan is 8th in milk production in the U.S. and much of our milk is shipped elsewhere. Yes, these dairy farmers have a bottom line to maintain, but they are under strict quality standards and if their cows aren’t happy and well cared for, they lose their bottom line as well as hours and hours of manpower.

I left the day honored that Swisslane Farms is part of our community and that I know we have dairy farmers so committed to producing quality milk for us.

After our farm tour we were treated to an amazing lunch of paninis, soup and of course big glasses of milk (I chose the chocolate).

LunchPaniniMilk_Bottles

Wouldn’t you love to have a panini lunch as well? I have a Cuisinart GR-11 Griddler 3-in-1 Grill and Panini Press to giveaway on behalf of the United Dairy Industry of Michigan. It comes with a Grilled Cheese recipe book, an insulated “got milk?” cooler bag and apron (to clarify, the bag is insulated, not the apron…….). I’m drooling just thinking about my turkey, brie and fig jam panini sandwich from that day.

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Comments

  1. First off…I LOVE Swisslane…Annie and all that their family and farm represents. So glad you were able to visit and learn more about CAFOs :)

    Second…grilled cheese is my absolute favorite food. Ever.
    I’m not the healthiest eater (head down in shame) and don’t like to subtract from the pure joy of cheesy toasty goodness with other ingredients (like tomatoes and greens…yuck) ;) My favorite GC was from 4 Friends Coffe House before they left us. Runner up would have been from Marco’s (although I’m not sure it even still exists). Sadly, at home I am pretty basic, with cheddar and cheddar…but if I happened to win (er…own) a panini press, I’d foresee big change in the future!

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Lot of cheddar cheese maybe with crispy bacon

  3. Amanda says:

    Sounds like a great place.

  4. Janice says:

    We love field trips to swisslane farms! My favorite grilled cheese is with tomato and bacon on it! I just make it on a griddle but it would be nice to do on a panini maker! :)

  5. Melissa says:

    I love grilled cheese with a few jalapeno slices and a tiny bit of hot sauce… just enough for a kick!

  6. Shelley says:

    Love grilled cheese!

  7. Christie says:

    Haha-my grown up grilled cheese is of the clean out the fridge variety. I’ll use up little bits of meat we have left, and odds and ends of cheese, Etc. my favorite was shredded cheddar with chicken and sautéed peppers and onions.

  8. I’m boring, I just like plain grilled cheese.

  9. Nicole says:

    I like to add ham, turkey, or bacon to grilled cheese!

  10. Nicole says:

    I think the Mom’s Macaroni and Cheese recipe looks good!

  11. Jane Curtis says:

    Guess I’m kind of boring – I like plain ol’ grilled cheese. Maybe add some ham.

  12. Grilled cheese with bacon and a side of tomato soup. Oh yeah!! Sunday lunch!!
    Yolanda McLean recently posted…Two are Better Than OneMy Profile

  13. Mary B says:

    Couple different cheeses (not those wrapped slices) with pickle in the middle. Num!

  14. Amy S says:

    Yummy…..an adult style grilled cheese!

  15. I’m a simple soul and I love just a plain grilled cheese.
    Ashley Ponder Richards recently posted…We Have a Semi-WalkerMy Profile

  16. I like the standard grill cheese with cheddar cheese, not that american cheese.
    Regina recently posted…Recipe: Pumpkin Pie Crunch CakeMy Profile

  17. David Ahleman says:

    Don’t make fun….but try grilled cheese with maple syrup it is really good!

  18. I am all about supporting the small(er) farmer as tiny farmers that this family is. And I thank you yet again for supporting them and bringing further great attention to them.

    Also, I now want to try that panini you had! It sounds delicious!
    Denise at Life With Four Boys Coffee Please recently posted…Don’t Buy TomatoesMy Profile

  19. Favorite grilled cheese combo is one I used to get in Louisiana: 4 types of shredded cheese with creole mustard on rye served with Zapp’s potato chips and a pickled okra. Oh my!!
    Amy Tilson recently posted…Allume Lost and Found Part 1My Profile

  20. I’m a sucker for a traditional grilled cheese, but I never object to adding a few mushrooms. :) Really interesting post on CAFO’s – thanks for sharing your experience!
    Shannan recently posted…One question you should ask about your child’s online friendsMy Profile

  21. Kelly Pinkerton says:

    We love grilled cheese!

  22. That picture of the cows cracks me up. Also. Do I get extra points if I saw my favorite grilled cheese is the one YOU made me when I came to your house last year??? ;)

  23. manda says:

    I like my grilled cheese with mint chutney. It is slightly spicy and delish.

  24. Is it normal to look gorgeous feeding a calf? Because you do.
    QuatroMama recently posted…“Thankful” Pumpkin Bars with Alpha-Bits CerealMy Profile

  25. Blessie Nelson says:

    Bourbon pulled mutton with spicy muenster cheese melted on sourdough bread!

  26. Jessie C. says:

    I like grilled cheese with onion and mushroom

  27. Amanda Sakovitz says:

    i love turkey with tomatoes and grilled cheese

  28. Thomas Murphy says:

    I like bacon grilled cheese.

  29. Melanie montgomery says:

    Grilled cheese with bacon and avocado

  30. Thomas Murphy says:

    the Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberry Smoothie sounds good.

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