The Country Today, to acting as a dairy industry spokesperson for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, I’ve often thought: if you want to figure something out, ask a farmer.
Farmers have a knack of seeing problems as opportunities. Almost every farmer I've ever known loves a good challenge. Maybe it’s because they take more time to think than the average person - whether it's driving tractor, feeding cows, or taking care of the land - a farmer is almost always thinking about the next step, the next hour, the next day, the next week. I am convinced that growing up on a farm led to my great (or, if you ask my family, super annoying) ability to multi-multi-task.
So today, I have a story to tell about farmers. This small group of folks - some of whom are still farming, grew up farming, or wish they were farming - are mostly former colleagues, and at this time, wish to remain in the background. So I'm not going to name a lot of names here, but this group has spent many, many years viewing a problem as an opportunity, and then setting out to solve the challenge. (I've even had a few cups of coffee with them, talking, thinking, and then thinking and drinking coffee some more. Mostly I just drank coffee - they did all the thinking).
These farmers thought there must be alternative ways to get to people to consume the good things in milk without necessarily drinking more milk. They knew people need protein, calcium and other vitamins milk offers. So over time, these farmers, with help from good resources in the Midwest, started coming up with ideas of milk-based products. They mixed up experimental recipes in their farm shops - yes, in their farm shops - in their kitchens, and eventually, in a professional laboratory.
And now, after eight long years of thinking and solving, they have come up with an actual product. They call it Moxie Munch: A Powerful Whey to Snack (yes, notice the play on words with whey - referring to whey protein). A crunchy chip, Moxie Munch is loaded with 21 grams of protein per serving, is low fat, and gluten free.
Available in Madison stores and online, Moxie Munch features a picture of a Holstein cow flexing her muscles on the packaging. (Disclaimer: I was apparently not included in the coffee-drinking session when the packaging was decided).
One member of the Moxie Munch team - my friend, Lowell - who worked with me at the state Department of Agriculture after retiring as head chef at Betsy's Kitchen (a community restaurant that served Barneveld until it was torn down in 2001 to allow for a new highway interchange), said, in typical low-key, Midwestern farmer fashion: “Well, we don’t know if people will like it. We’re not very good at selling it. But we know it is good for people.”
Yep, despite their deep thinking skills, no one ever said farmers were public relations gurus. So, in an effort to help this great group of farmers, I'd highly recommend you try their new Wisconsin Moxie Munch: available in two flavors - Honey BBQ and Apple Pie. Thank you to them and to all farmers who think about and see things in their own unique way and come up with ideas and solutions that benefit us all.