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Farm to School Month on an Idaho Dairy Farm

10563208_1517743638455740_3339190872802816873_nIn celebration of National Farm to School Month, 5th grade students at Community School in Sun Valley, Idaho traveled 75 miles to learn where their food comes from, specifically cheese.  “It was the best cheese I have ever tasted,” explains an excited young student who returned from the trip begging her parents to buy the Ballard Farms cheese at their local grocery store.  “I loved meeting the cows,” mentions another student who attended the trip. When asked what his favorite part about the visit was, “I can’t decide what my favorite part was!” explains a third student; “It was all so fun!”

Students started their tour with a tasting session in the family-owned dairy and learned that different types of bacteria added to the cheese while fermenting is what gives each cheese a distinct flavor.  The students tasted Cheese Curds, Idaho White Cheddar, Truffle salt Cheddar, Pepper Cheddar, Baby Swiss, Danish Pearl (Gouda style), Jersey Dream (Feta style) and Idaho Golden Greek grilling cheese.

1960417_1456083374621767_82472510_nBallard farms makes its cheese in small, handmade batches to ensure the finest quality and richest taste. The milk comes from a small herd of Jersey cows that are given a great deal of individual care and attention.  The Ballard Farm school field trip is an annual event for all 5th grade students at Community School and a great way for the students to kick off their nutrition education lessons by Nurture.  Nurture is a non-profit organization that relies on community support to offer its programming free of charge.

The Exploring Dairy in the Classroom grant program has been a huge help to Nurture and the students we reach across South Central Idaho,” explains Nurture Executive Director Kathryn Guylay. Exploring Dairy in the Classroom is a grant offered by the Idaho Dairy Council which gives educators the opportunity to receive dairy products to accompany nutrition lessons. “Nutrition lessons are so much more effective and fun for the students when there is an element of tasting to complement the lesson.  Dairy is a great portable protein and calcium source that fits so well with nutrition education programs.”

1800261_1517743641789073_6279896189751564052_n“5th grade is a sweet spot for learning about nutrition and the food chain.  Our students love the Nurture program, and events like the Ballard farm field trip bring discussions about food and nutrition to life,” says 5th grade teacher Bev McNeal.

To learn more about Nurture please visit www.nurtureyourfamily.org.  To learn more about Ballard Cheese please visit: http://ballardcheese.com/

– Kathryn Guylay is the Founder/Executive Director of Nurture. Nurture envisions communities working in collaborative ways to enhance nutrition and wellness of children and families. Nurture combines volunteer time and talents along with curricula and financial resources to support nutrition and wellness services. Nurture partners with other organizations and individuals in a fun, hands-on way with the goal of leveraging efforts and resources to enhance the quality of life in our community.