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a jersey dairy cow Cows, goats, sheep, and other mammals (such as domestic water buffalo, camels, and yaks) provide milk that is used to produce dairy products.  Most milk is drawn from animals herded on dairy farms and then transported to commercial dairies where it is processed for consumption.  This milk is generally pasteurized.  There are also many small, local dairy farms that produce their own cheeses; raw milk is available from certified herds in some areas.  Dairy products include milk, butter, kefir, and milk powder, as well as ice cream, yogurt, soured cream, cheeses, and a host of other products.

Milk is available as whole milk, skimmed milk, homogenized milk, long-life milk, or buttermilk.  Goat's milk and ewe's milk are also readily available.  Evaporated and condensed milk are sold in cans.

Cream is sold as heavy, whipping, or light cream, as well as sour cream, clotted cream or half cream.  Most of us are also familiar with the ready-whipped cream that is sold in aerosol cans.

Yogurt is an easily-digestible dairy product and contains live bacteria.  It is made from cultured milk and may be sold plain, flavored, strained Greek style, or frozen.

Butter is available as sweet cream or lactic butter, salted or unsalted.  Any kind of milk can be used to make butter, and it is generally used as a spread or for cooking.  For extra zing, butter can be flavored with herbs or spices.

Cheese is one of the most common dairy foods.  A wide range of cheeses are available and are made from cow's, goat's, sheep's, or even water buffalo's milk.  Cheeses are categorized as hard, semi-soft, soft white, washed-rind, natural rind, blue, or fresh cheese.  Cheese is often served with bread, fruit, nuts, or wine.

For more information about the dairy industry, visit the International Dairy Foods Association and American Dairy Products Institute websites.

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About Dairy Farm Products