I had a chance to attend the second Breakfast on the Farm event of the summer last weekend at the Horning family dairy farm in Washtenaw County. The first event was held the previous weekend near Pewamo, and a third will be held on July 24 near Shepherd in Isabella County. Dean Ross, dairy Extension educator, and Nancy Thelen, Washtenaw County Extension director, provided key leadership for last Saturday’s event, and it was a remarkable success. More than 2,300 people attended the event, at which they had a free breakfast and could explore the workings of a modern dairy operation with helpful instructional signage and a number of Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) educators and specialists distributed around the farm to help people understand better where the milk and dairy products they buy from grocery shelves originate. It was great to see so many MSUE educators and volunteers helping to staff the event and to hear the discussion among adults and children as they realized how complex a dairy operation really is.
The breakfast menu was a bit different at the Horning farm. At the previous Breakfast on the Farm events, the fare has included eggs, pancakes (with Michigan blueberries), sausage, Michigan apples and Michigan juices. Only the coffee comes from outside of Michigan. At last week’s event, we were served breakfast pizza. Apparently, a prominent Washtenaw County company (Domino’s Pizza) is exploring this as a new product and we had a chance to sample it. Just so you know, this was pretty nutritious pizza: wheat-based dough with egg and ham topping and of course a blend of cheeses on top. I understand there was some public consternation about whether breakfast pizza was sending a bad signal about nutrition to the adults and youngsters attending. I thought it was pretty balanced and packed quite a nutrient punch. The Michigan Empire apples and grape juices rounded it out well. By the way, the pizza provided an effective way of carrying the message that the largest buyer of dairy products in the country is the pizza business, given its size and the importance of cheese to any kind of pizza.
Thanks go to Dean, Nancy and the many MSUE staff and volunteers who made this a success. We especially thank the Horning family for opening their farm to the public and being such gracious hosts to those who participated.
For photos and more information, visit http://breakfastonthefarm.com/.