An average cow produces about 350,000 glasses of milk in her lifetime and drinks between 30-50 gallons of water each day. If you open the refrigerator in 96 percent of all U.S. households, you’ll find a container of milk. Cows have an acute sense of smell and can smell something up to six miles away.
These were educational facts that were presented at the dairy-orientated program June 8 at the Hillcrest Grange in Brothersvalley Township in conjunction with June being the National Dairy Month. Chelsey Berkebile of Somerset reviewed her year’s activities while serving as the 2010-2011 Somerset County Dairy Princess. In one of her last official visits as Dairy Princess, Berkebile shared three easy ways to obtain everyday servings of dairy products.
At the end of June, Berkebile completes her year’s service and turns over her dairy princess reign to Courtney Brant, who won the 2011-2012 Dairy Princess title.
Berkebile is a 2011 graduate of Somerset Area High School and this past April was named “2011 Outstanding FFA Student of Somerset County” by the Somerset County Pomona Grange.
Hillcrest Grangers also recognized two former Somerset County Dairy Princesses who were in attendance. They included Melissa Paul, the 2009-2010 Dairy Princess, and Amy (Paul) Brant, who served in 1995. Amy Brant was assisted by her daughter, Ashley in leading a Dairy Trivia Quiz in which 15 interesting facts relating to the dairy industry were discussed. Scoring highest in the contest were Ralph F. Paul, Emma Gene Engle and Melissa Paul, all who grew up on southern Somerset County farms in different time periods.
Recognition was given to Katie Marteney, a Hillcrest officer, who is a 2011 graduate of the Berlin Brothersvalley High School.
Another highlight of the program showcased Millie Berkebile (the dairy princess’ grandmother), modeling a small number of the 150-200 variety of hats from her personal collection. She and her six sisters began wearing hats for Sunday worship services as youngsters while growing up on the farm of their parents, David L. and Margaret Fodder in Somerset Township, which later was purchased by Millie and her husband, the late Gerald W. Berkebile. Throughout the evening Millie also added remembrances of farm life having assisted with many farm-related activities with her siblings.
David R. Hay, program director, coordinated the program which ended with the serving of ice cream sundaes on the hot, muggy evening. He called upon those in the audience over 39 years of age to share about obtaining and eating watermelon in the earlier years of their life in contract to today’s shoppers, who can easily purchase watermelon in local supermarkets for much of the entire year.
Members shared about tractor trailer loads of watermelon being brought into the area in the summer months with melons selling for 25-50 cents each in the era of the 1950s. One said about her sister joining the WAVES in 1941. On the sister’s trips home to Somerset County from the south, she loaded her trunk with watermelons purchased for a nickel each.
Members shared names of stores and salesmen who sold watermelon and said about their families using galvanized tubs, basement water troughs, placing melons in a container and lowering it into the well, and slipping a water melon between 10-gallon cans of milk cooling in the milkhouse cooler to cool them for eating purposes.
Jean Shaffer, who has been a member of the Valley and Hillcrest Granges since 1943, shared a poem, “Milk is the Cream of the Crop” prepared by a 1991 New York State Dairy Princess. On display was one of two notebooks filled with farm related program material and local farm photos that were prepared by Hillcrest’s program director in 1991 as a special project while serving as a member of the PA State Grange Lecturer’s Committee. Several items from the collection were used in the dairy program.
Somerset County Pomona Grangers will host members of Cambria County Pomona Grange beginning a 7 p.m. Friday at the R.E.C. community room. The program theme is “Hands Across the Border” with Cambria County presenting a portion of the program. Kingwood, Wills and Hillcrest Grangers will provide cake and ice cream for the fellowship hour.
Hillcrest members will travel to the rental home facility of Betty Lou and Dave Svonavec in New Centerville Borough for the June 22 picnic. The event gets underway with a covered dish picnic beginning at 7 p.m. Members are asked to bring their covered dish specialties, table service and a beverage per family. Betty Lou will share facts about the historical home that is surrounded by stylish white fencing and wrap around porches.