I honestly couldn’t live without dairy. At any given time you’re likely to find milk, several kinds of cheese, sour cream, and often heavy cream and cottage cheese in my fridge. Honestly it is a small scale crisis when we run out of milk! So I am always happy to feature one of my favorite ingredients I utilize daily during Thirty Days of Food. Ellen of Durrer Dairy joins us today to talk about their dairy farm in the Central Valley of California.
ELLEN DURRER OF DURRER DAIRY
Central Valley of California
When did you start farming? What brought you into farming?
I was born into the dairy industry, I am the 5th generation in my dad’s family to dairy in CA. I have always had a passion for our cows and scored big when the guy I fell in love with also loved cows! Together with my husband and in-laws, we run a dairy about 2 hours from where I grew up. It’s in our blood, it’s in our kids’ blood, and there is no other way we would want to raise our family.
What crops (or animals) do you grow and why?
We raise all of our calves and young stock, all Holsteins. We also farm corn silage, oat silage and some alfalfa hay on the property surrounding the farm. We feed all of the crops that we grow to our cows. We also use the ground adjacent to the farm to irrigate with lagoon water from our flush system.
What is one thing you’d like to get across to the general public about what you do?
The hardest part about our lifestyle, had to be the constant negative publicity. Activist groups are very good at what they do, creating hype and hysteria, in situations that are often taken out if context or exaggerated.
I encourage anyone who eats food or wears clothes to take their questions straight to the source, ask a farmer. It is always worth my time to answer questions about why we take the calves from their mommas, how and why we use antibiotics, and share how absolutely secure I am with the dairy products that grace our table each evening.
What is your favorite thing to do with the food crop you grow?
We ship our milk to a co-op that is a butter manufacturing facility, their products can be found under Costco’s Kirkland brand, as well as Challenge and others.
I strongly believe that everything is better with butter! Wether it’s melted into the center of a hot baked potato, smeared over 2 slices of bread to make a grilled cheese sandwich, spread over fresh french bread or melted into a skillet before cooking, there is no true substitute for butter.
But I have a pretty deep love for all dairy products. It’s extremely rare that we have guests over and not have a feature cheese tray, and I love celebrating July ice cream month (all year round!).
You can use your favorite yellow cake mix, either homemade or boxed! To make these simple, utilize a box mix!
- 1 box yellow cake mix
- 1 box vanilla pudding
- 12 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- Prepare yellow cake mix according to package instructions. For more moist cupcakes, substitute butter for oil, milk for water, and add 1 teaspoon vanilla to the mix. Pour into cupcake liners and bake according to package instructions. Once baked, cool completely before filling and frosting.
- While cupcakes are baking, prepare vanilla pudding according to directions. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Put the chocolate chips and corn syrup in a large bowl. Bring the heavy cream to a boil in a small saucepan and then pour over the chocolate chips. Allow to sit for 3-5 minutes then whisk until smooth. Refrigerate 1-2 hours or until cool and firm.
- When ready to assemble cupcakes, cut out the centers of the cupcakes. Divide the pudding between the cupcakes filling the holes cut in the center. Top the cupcakes with the chocolate ganache by either piping it or using a knife to frost cupcakes.
- Refrigerate cupcakes until ready to serve.