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I had such a great time out in the Finger Lakes with the American Dairy association. On day two, we stopped at Cayuga Milk Ingredients, then Patterson Farm and finally the New York Wine and Culinary Center.
Our trip started at the Cayuga Milk Ingredients Plant which opened in June. They described it as a one-of-a-kind facility in the US and they’re correct. Cayuga Milk Ingredients doesn’t just use milk as it comes from the cow, but separates the high quality milk into its components that can be added to other products. For example we saw at one point in the tour where they remove water from the milk to create milk powder and that extends the shelf life by up to 18 months, allowing it to be transported and used all over the world.
My favorite part of the milk plant is that this $101 million ingredients plant and it’s owned by the farmers who invested money. In talking to the owners of Patterson Farms, you can tell how proud they are of how this plant is taking care of their product, their livelihood. From what we were told, dairy farmers in Central NY wanted a processing plant that would not only produce the traditional fluid dairy products but milk ingredients for the world!
My favorite part of the day was having the chance to walk through Patterson Farms and see one of the farms the milk comes from. Patterson Farms was founded in 1832 in Auburn, NY. It’s a sixth generation dairy farm that uses incredible technology to not only treat the cows the best but to make their farm incredible efficient.
We learned about the process of how cows are born and what happens with the calves after birth to make sure their safety and protection. Cows that have recently given birth are marked on their heads so that they get a break between pregnancies. Going through the farm, we got a genuine feel that they care about their animals. Cows have names and are treated fairly, like family. They had plenty of room and were certainly taken care of, like queens! The Pattersons even gave us the opportunity to meet some calves that were born not long before we got there and we had a chance to feed a baby calf milk. I’ve never seen a farm from that perspective and it was a really cool experience!
After the farm, we went back to the hotel for a delicious lunch buffet. Hot Root Vegetable & Pear soup, Fall Harvest tossed salad, roasted sweet corn, sweet potato puree, Korean BBQ pulled pork, Mediterranean pasta primavera & apple crisp. The lunch was delicious and made me even more excited to cook at the Wine & Culinary Center.
The minute I walked into the New York Wine and Culinary Center, I knew that I would feel at home. We took a cooking class preparing quick and easy food using dairy but on our way to the kitchen we passed the Eber Brothers Wine Tasting Room. They were learning how to taste the wine, where in the Finger Lakes the wine comes from and ideas what to pair each with. If you want a more educational wine experience, there is the Wine Spectator Theater. With seating of 44, it’s a more in-depth wine experience where many private group classes are held.
We were led into the Viking Range Hands-On Kitchen where we were greeted by Chef Jeffory McLean (aka. Cheffory). He gave us a quick lesson on knife skills: plank, stick, dice. Cheffory’s style is “New American” that focuses on indigenous ingredients that are seasonal and fresh but utilize styles from French to Asian. He said his philosophy on food is “Simplicity is Elegance.”
In our class we each took a station and between all of us we created 4 separate dishes. My friend Kellie and my dish was “Roasted Garlic and Red Pepper Greek Yogurt Dip with Crudites” with farm-fresh Greek yogurt that we mixed with garlic cloves and a diced roasted red pepper. The other dishes were “Inside-Out Poutine” that kind of resembled a croquette with a cheese curd covered in breaded mashed potatoes and deep-fried served with gravy. The third was “Carmelized Cheese Crisps Stuffed with Pulled Chicken” that involved shaping cooked shredded cheese disks, filling them with chicken and topped with a sauce of Greek yogurt and a flavor packet. Last was a “Chocolate Brownie & Vanilla Ice Cream Boat” that was a baked brownie with a hollowed out center filled with ice cream. All delicious! Want to see what it was like from making the food to eating it? Check out my GoPro video on my NEW YouTube channel.
THANKS TO KATIE BECKER FOR THESE GREAT PHOTOS!