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 June is National Dairy Month, a time of celebrating nature’s best treat. In this final article, I will give you many facts on the origins of dairy that may just surprise you.

Question: How much of the world’s milk is made by dairy cows? Answer: 90 percent! Now when did the bovine-human bind start? Archeologists have traced this relationship back about 5,000 years ago to northeastern Asia. Since then, about 920 different breeds of cows have been created, the most common of which is the Holstein. Now how did the dairy cow come to America? Well, in 1611, the first cow was brought to the Jamestown colony settlement in Virginia and the industry has boomed ever since.

In 1878, 267 years after the first cow came to America, a New Jersey woman came up with a great invention. Her name was Anna Baldwin, and she created the first suction milking machine which revolutionized the industry. But it was a Swedish engineer, Carl Gustav de Laval, who made the first commercially successful milking machine. Today, from these two important inventions, we have modern dairy farming. And get this: More than 99 percent of all dairy farms are family owned and operated.

How about those dairy products: Where did they come from? Well, cheese-making started around 8,000 to 3,000 B.C. From this, there are more than 900 known cheeses created. Yogurt can be traced back as far as 2,000 B.C.  In the early 1800s, yogurt wasn’t used for food, but rather men used it to clean their goats and sheep, and women used it to wash their body hair. Talk about a 180-degree turn of use! Dairy products are essential to people and are always easy to reach.

As I mentioned before, this is my farewell article. As of June 4, there will be a new Cayuga County dairy princess. I would like to  thank all of my monthly readers and urge you to continue to look for the dairy princess articles. Enjoy your summer and remember your three servings of milk every day!

Abigail Young was the 2010-2011 dairy princess for Cayuga County. The princess is chosen annually by the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council.

Fruit smoothie

• 1/2 cup of your favorite fruit, such as peaches, bananas, pineapples, strawberries, mangos, etc.

• 3/4 cup of yogurt

• 1 cup milk

• 1 tablespoon sugar (optional)

Peel the fruit, if appropriate, and cut them up into small pieces. Put all of the ingredients into a blender and puree them together until smooth. Pour into a chilled glass and serve with a straw. Keep in mind that you may have to add ice or use frozen fruit if you really want to serve it cold. Also, a banana may be needed to get the smoothie to the right consistency (thick and creamy).