It's time to get acquainted with where your food is coming from.
Cheese is cheese, you say? Not so fast, buck-o.
Not all dairy gets produced the same way. Some comes from very small farms with actual families taking on the shared responsibility of caring for their animals.
That's how the cows get raised at Royalty Ridge Farm, in Tillamook, Oregon.
It's owned and operated by the Lancasters; Freynie and her husband, Ryan, along with their kids, Logan, Tatum, and Harper.
Farming wasn't a choice made to try to get rich but a deliberate exercise in the values they wanted to live. Freynie explains:
"Both my husband and I have been farming our entire lives. Working in nature, with animals and together as a family, is what inspired us to devote our lives to dairy farming."
One of the kids' jobs is feeding all the new babies, which actually sounds like a pretty enviable sibling activity!
Freynie says that a strong community is crucial for family farms.
"Having a strong community bond is so important for farmers. In our small community of Tillamook, many families rely on dairy farming as a source of income. I feel supported by many members of the community, even if they aren't from a farming background. I know many people who grew up in Tillamook and moved away years ago, but ... the Tillamook Cheese Factory is their root. They continue to support us and are very proud of the farming community they were a part of!"
Freynie wants dairy lovers to know something about her though. She gets it. She gets what you go through as a consumer.
"Farmers are moms and dads too. I'm just like other young moms wanting to provide safe, healthy, and affordable food to their family. I look for healthy food choices for my family. Food safety and quality are also extremely important to me. Because I'm on the production side of food, I can say without hesitation that we are so lucky to have the food options that we do in this country."
In fact, you can join the Tillamook Co-Op and “Ask A Farmer" anything from relationship advice, to input on the in-laws, to life on the farm, or just life in general. The Lancasters will be the featured family beginning Wednesday, October 21st, and answering questions for the next month.
And that's why knowing where your food is coming from is so important. I want to know that the food I give my kids comes from people who care and put their hearts into it — and more and more, it seems like others want that, too.