Dairy Month: Lunch/Dinner Recipes

Since 1937, National Dairy Month in June has encouraged families across the nation to make milk their beverage of choice. In Massachusetts, dairy farms steward 18 percent of agricultural land and account for 14 percent of agricultural sales. However, dairy farms only make up 2 percent of farm business in the Pioneer Valley area. The majority of dairy farms in Massachusetts sell their milk wholesale. In recent years, wholesale prices for dairy have stagnated, creating a devastating gap between the cost of milk production and the amount farmers are getting paid for their milk. This has resulted in severe consequences, especially in Massachusetts where costs, from land and equipment to labor and feed, are higher than they are elsewhere in the county.

This June brings a great opportunity to incorporate new recipes into your day-to-day cooking. Many local dairy farms have their own favorite recipes and information about how to incorporate dairy into your life in new ways.

Upinngil Farm is a small diverse family farm, located on the Connecticut River in Gill. They sell raw milk and farmstead cheeses from their small herd of grass-fed Ayrshire Cattle.

Upinngil Veggie Mac and Cheese
Use whatever veggies are in season.

Ingredients:
10 oz. bag Upinngil Pasta
2 c. fresh veggies, such as Upinngil spinach or kale
2 oz. (1/2 stick) butter
2 c. Upinngil milk
2 c. shredded (1/2 lb.) Upinngil cheese
1/4 c. Upinngil Sifted Wheat Flour or all-purpose flour
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1 Tbs. mustard and/or 1 tsp. hot sauce
1/2 c. thick rolled oats toasted in pan with a little butter

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350ºF. Cook pasta as directed on package, when is close to done, throw the veggies into the pot, wait until it returns to a boil, maybe 30 seconds or a minute, then drain everything and return to pot.
  2. In medium saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and mustard. Cook over low heat, stirring often, until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring often. Boil and stir 1 min, remove from heat. Stir in 1-1/2 c. cheese (reserve 1/2 c.) until melted.
  3. Add cheese sauce to pot with pasta and veggies, stir to combine. Pour into large casserole dish. Sprinkle with toasted oats and 1/2 c. cheese. Bake uncovered about 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Chase Hill Farm is owned and operated by Ben and Laura Wells-Tolley, who took over the property in 2017 after ten years of living in the Pioneer Valley and working on local farms. The farm manages 270 acres of certified organic land where a herd of Normande and Jersey cows graze. Chase Hill Farm produces a variety of artisan cheeses that is aged on the farm.

Chase Hill Farm Cauliflower and Smoked Capri Soup

Ingredients:

4 heads cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets

2 medium onion, diced

6 stalks celery, diced

1 gallon chicken (or vegetable) stock

2 bay leaves

2 TB fresh thyme, chopped

6 oz smoked Westfield Farm Capri Goat Cheese

1 pint heavy cream

Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Sweat onions & celery in 2 TB olive oil for about 5 minutes. Do not brown.
  2. Add cauliflower florets and stock.
  3. Add bay leaves and simmer for 30-45 minutes until cauliflower is very soft.Season to taste.
  4. Puree soup using a blender or an immersion blender until very smooth.
  5. Add thyme & heavy cream. Simmer 10 minutes.
  6. Whisk in crumbled goat cheese and serve.

Maggie’s Round Potato Gratin

Ingredients:

3 lbs. potatoes, peeled

1 quart heavy cream

1 lb. Cricket Creek Farm Maggie’s Round cheese, grated

Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Using a mandoline, slice potatoes 1/8 inch thick into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add heavy cream, ¾ of the cheese and season with salt & pepper; mix very well.
  3. Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray. Layer the potatoes in a single layer, shingling them so there are no gaps between the potatoes. Sprinkle with cheese and continue to layer, adding cheese every 2-3 layers.
  4. Repeat until potatoes are ¾ of the way to the top of the dish.
  5. Cover with foil. Bake 350 for 45 minutes to one hour. Use a toothpick to check—center potatoes should be cooked all the way through.
  6. Remove foil, sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake until golden brown on top. Cut into squares or rounds to serve.