Darigold Farmalicious tour at Coldstream Farms in Deming, WA

Sponsored post Coldstream cows with mountainsIt’s just after noon on a beautiful August day and I’m traipsing through countryside, photographing cows, taking in the beautiful scenery, enjoying the company of some of my favorite local bloggers, and feeling at one with nature in so many ways. Thanks to Darigold, I’m getting my first real introduction to farm life while learning about the innermost workings of a family-run dairy farm at Coldstream Farms in Deming, Washington, and honestly, it’s just a lot more nature than I’m used to. But, in some ways it oddly feels like home.  Coldstream cow up closeAnyone who knows me is laughing really hard because no one has ever mistaken me for someone who was cut out for farming. Urban farming even sometimes seems like too much work for me, so when you add in the fact that I’m notoriously squeamish and I prefer to not get dirty, it is abundantly clear that farm life was really never in the cards for me. Coldstream Farms sign

But, that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate all that it takes to run a farm, especially one that relies upon animals. In meeting with Galen and the rest of the family at Coldstream Farms earlier this month, my appreciation for what dairy farmers do each day grew exponentially. In some ways, I thought dairy farming was a prime example of the simple life; a throwback to old school ways in which you ate what you grew and you spent your days sitting on a step stool milking cows before you got everything into your horse-drawn buggy to take to town to sell. Coldstream Farms GalenBut, it turns out that there is more technology in just one small section of a typical Darigold dairy farm than there was in my entire 4 years of high school. Even what seems like the most basic of tasks, such as feeding the cows, requires nutritionists and a precise mixture from their massive mixing machine and multiple-times-a-day deliveries of fresh ingredients. Coldstream farms cow feedAnd, that’s before you get to the really fun stuff, like their state-of-the-art rotary milking parlor that was like nothing I had ever seen before. A few minutes into our tour and it was clear that dairy farming was a whole lot more technical, and technologically advanced, than I ever could have imagined. Coldstream rotary milking salonAll this technology definitely seems to be working for the Coldstream Farms cows, because they were far and away the happiest cows I’ve ever seen. This was honestly shocking to me because really the only way I saw cows up until now were those grazing in farm fields a few miles from my home, which I always assumed to be the happiest a cow could be. Coldstream Farms cows eatingBut, there was something special about the Coldstream cows. They may not be able to speak to tell you how much they love the new parlor or how lovely their diet is, but they were definitely the sweetest and most playful cows I’ve ever seen. And the baby cows that were just a day old? I was smitten and wanted to bring one home to my kids so badly. Coldstream baby cowsTruth be told, I fell hard for all of the Coldstream cows as I spent time walking with them and watching them go about their day to day. They were so curious about us and showed such personality just in our brief encounters. I loved the way they excitedly dug into their food and how calm they were as they socialized and played together. And, their eyes spoke volumes as they walked in to be milked. This was clearly an exciting part of their day, and some of them were so content and comfortable that they didn’t want to leave when their time was up.

Not only did we get to tour all the fun technology on the farm and hang out with these happy cows, we also saw all that goes into bringing farm fresh milk to your local grocer. We got to see the process that the milk goes through and how rigorous their standards are for bearing the Darigold label and being dubbed Farmalicious {or, farm meets delicious}.Coldstream Farms tourAfter that, the history part of our tour started as they showed us all the changes they have made since Galen’s Father-in-Law, Jeff Rainey, opened the farm decades ago. Not only did the farm get the awesome new rotary milking parlor and is in the process of getting a huge brand new barn, but Coldstream also recently got a huge energy efficiency upgrade. Coldstream new farm buildingYou’d think that a spinning milking station that loads and unloads in a continuous flow of cows would cause their energy bill to skyrocket, but by making adjustments to the ways that they heat and cool and using natural methods whenever possible, they actually lowered their energy use and now can milk more cows more times a day than with their old methods.  Coldstream milk tanksBut, don’t mistake all this technology, upgrading, and construction for eschewing the old ways. At the heart of things, they still make products their grandparents would be proud of. Flash-pasteurized, full of real, simple ingredients, and always without rBST growth hormones.Darigold Farm tourColdstream Farms is just one of over 500 family farms across the Northwest that are part of the Darigold family, making it one of America’s largest dairy co-ops. Farmer-owned since 1918, their standards are high and the farmers take pride in what they produce, which makes it easy to stand behind the quality and consistency of everything they make. They also care about their cows and make their decisions based upon happiness and productivity of their cows.Coldstream Farms cows lining upWhile it’s clear that farming is still not in my future, I did thoroughly enjoy my time at Coldstream Farms and my all-too-brief exploration of where our milk comes from. I’ve gained such an appreciation for what Darigold farmers do and what it takes to bring food from farm to table. But, while I may not be living a farm life, that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy farm fresh dairy here at home. Darigold productsTo share a little bit of the Darigold love with my family, I whipped up this steak salad using Darigold white cheddar cheese with no added colors that was even more delicious than it looks. Everyone has their favorite steak salad topping, but for me I love a little bit of spicy steak sauce and some white cheddar cheese on my salad. Darigold saladAdd some croutons, cherry tomatoes, onions, and then top with ranch or bleu cheese dressing and enjoy. The white cheddar taste adds such a creamy smoothness to the salad and the steak sauce adds a fun little kick. Add them together and it’s amazingly tasty. Let’s just call it Farmalicious. Darigold steak saladYou can follow Darigold on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to find out more about what makes the Darigold farmer-owned tradition unique and where to buy their Farmalicious products.

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