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Natural Goodness Blog

  • Two (More) Reasons to Love Oakhurst Egg Nog

    This year, traditional Egg Nog connoisseurs need to be more conscious than ever and carefully check the labels of their favorite brands. Why? With the egg shortage this past summer, some of the brands are eliminating the use of real eggs as an ingredient in their holiday offering and you might find “Nog” or “egg nog flavored dairy beverages” on shelves instead. But don’t worry- not Oakhurst! Our Egg Nog is our pride and joy, and we remain committed to using real eggs, as we have for generations, to create our creamy delicious seasonal Egg Nog.

    “Every year, we hear from so many New Englanders how much they love the taste of our Egg Nog,” said John Bennett, President of Oakhurst. “A key ingredient to our seasonal winter beverage recipes is real eggs. With the kind of consumer feedback we’ve received over the years, we couldn’t imagine changing our recipes even in the face of increased ingredient costs.”

    Our classic Egg Nog, Light Egg Nog and Buttered Rum Egg Nog will reach stores in late Octoberand can be found in pint, quart and half-gallon sizes. And remember, don’t wait, Egg Nog is a seasonal beverage and it will disappear from store shelves in January.

     OakhurstEggNog

    Another Reason to Love Oakhurst Egg Nog

    In addition to staying true to our classic Egg Nog recipes dating back generations, we also remain committed to our annual holiday giving tradition of donating five cents to The Salvation Army of Northern New England for every container of Egg Nog sold. Last year, we donated $21,257 to the organization – the largest donation in the history of the annual holiday fundraiser. Over the last 16 years, we’ve contributed more than $260,000 to The Salvation Army through this annual effort.

    The Salvation Army continues its long-standing tradition of serving “Others” by providing children, adults and seniors assistance and enrichment programs. Salvation Army Divisional Commander, Major James LaBossiere states, “At Christmas time and throughout the year, local individuals and families are finding themselves in need of a helping hand. Every cent raised helps us to help those in need and we could not do it without the support of Oakhurst and their generous customers. Thank you.”

    For information about The Salvation Army, please visit www.use.salvationarmy.org/use/www_use_portland.nsf

  • 9 Tips for a Spooky (and Safe) Halloween

    What little kid doesn’t love Halloween? Costumes, candy and extended bedtimes are the epitome of fun, but it’s important to think about Halloween safety, too.

    Try one (or all) of these spooktastic safety tips to keep the kiddos safe and warm this weekend.

    1. Find creative ways to integrate light colors and reflective strips into your child’s costume so they are easily seen on the roads. Giving your kids a couple of glow sticks to carry is another great way to keep them visible or even a small flashlight.
    2. Opt for face paint instead of a mask whenever possible, to make sure kids have their full peripheral vision while out on the street.Halloween Kids
    3. Make sure your littlest trick-or-treaters are accompanied by an adult, and only visit neighborhoods where you know the homeowners. Trick-or-treating is also a great opportunity to teach your children about looking both ways before crossing the street, and always keeping an eye out for cars.
    4. Test makeup on a small patch of skin before painting the entire face or body, to prevent an allergic or skin reaction.
    5. Steer clear of decorative contact lenses, as they can cause inflammation, infection and serious eye damage.Halloween Candy
    6. Make sure your kids eat a filling dinner before trick-or-treating, and challenge them to see who can bring home the most candy, giving them an incentive not to eat it along the way. Once their home, make a game out of separating it into different categories and then let them choose a couple of pieces to eat before bed, and a couple more for their lunch the next day. You can also keep your kids from gorging on candy by taking half of it to a local candy donation center – a number of local dentists and other organizations offer toys or cash in exchange for candy in the days following Halloween.
    7. Advise kiddos to only enter homes with a trusted adult, and not to eat homemade treats unless you’ve approved it!
    8. Paint your pumpkins instead of carving them for a fun activity that the kids can participate in. Halloween Pumpkins
    9. Last but not least, if you’re a parent of a child with food allergies, you know how difficult Halloween can be. Help ease the minds of other parents by participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project. The project encourages families who are offering non-food treats like toys or crayons instead of candy to place a teal pumpkin on their stoop to let parents know they are an allergy-friendly home, and safe to visit.

    Did we miss anything? What are your go-to Halloween safety tips?

  • It’s Hockey Season – Hit the Ice with Oakie Through the Oakie’s Corner Experience!

    It’s that time of year again…time for 5am practices and weekend-long family outings at the ice rink. If you’re a hockey mom, you know it – and you probably love it, at least a little bit, right?

    Here at Oakhurst we love hockey, too. For that reason, we are once again partnering with the UMaine Black Bears and the UNH Wildcats Men’s Hockey teams to offer a unique experience for young hockey players across the two states. It’s an exciting program called the Oakie’s Corner Experience.

    UNH Oakies Corner Experience

    Here’s How The Oakie’s Corner Experience Works

    Oakhurst will select one youth team per game to be its guest at seven (7) UNH and seven (7) UMaine Hockey home games (see below schedule for games). Each youth team will receive 20 free tickets, special Oakie’s Corner seating in each of the arenas, a visit from Oakie, an opportunity to engage with the University hockey teams, special recognition and gifts the night of the game. Sounds fun, right? Well here’s how you get signed up:

    It’s Easy to Become the Oakie’s Corner Experience Team

    • Submit an application at oakiescornerexperience@oakhurstdairy.com
    • Tell us the name of your team, your town, age and provide a person to contact (email and phone)
    • List the top 2 games your team would like to attend
    • Winning teams will be selected on a first-come first serve basis and notified at the beginning of the University hockey season
    • Eligible teams must not have players in 8th grade or above, therefore we are looking for teams in Mite, Squirt and Peewee age groups ONLY

     Transportation to and from the game is not provided. Any souvenirs or food items purchased at the arenas will be the responsibility of the teams.

    Oakie’s Corner Experience Home Game Schedules

    UMaine

    • Saturday, November 21, 2015 vs. University of Vermont
    • Friday, December 4, 2015 vs. UNH
    • Saturday, January 9, 2016 vs. Colgate University
    • Friday, January 15, 2016 vs. University of Connecticut
    • Friday, January 22, 2016 vs. Boston University
    • Saturday, February 6, 2016 vs. Providence College
    • Saturday, February 20, 2016 vs. Merrimack College

    UNH

    • Friday, December 11, 2015 vs. Dartmouth College
    • Wednesday, December 30, 2015 vs. University of Maine  – this will take place at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester
    • Friday, January 8, 2015 vs. University of Massachusetts, Lowell
    • Saturday, January 16, 2016 vs. Northeastern University
    • Saturday, February 13, 2016 vs. University of Vermont
    • Friday, February 19, 2016 vs. Boston University
    • Saturday, February 27, 2016 vs. University of Connecticut

    UMaine Oakie Shake

    Oh, and don’t forget to refuel after practice with Oakhurst Lowfat Chocolate Milk!

     Aspire.     Most kids who hit the ice every week or participate in any other sport want to achieve a certain goal

    Perspire.  And they work hard trying to achieve their goals

    Restore.   We want coaches, parents and all the athletes out there to take care of their bodies during their sports seasons. One simple way is to drink 16 ounces of lowfat chocolate milk within one hour of training and games in order to refuel.

    Research suggests lowfat chocolate milk is superior to drinks like Gatorade for muscle recovery after tough training sessions, workouts and games because it has the right mix of proteins and carbohydrates, which have been shown to refuel and rebuild exhausted muscles, better after heavy exercise. And chocolate milk is great for rehydrating – it’s a delicious, nutrient-laden liquid that will help replace lost fluids after exercise due to sweating.

     

     

  • 4 Make-Ahead Breakfasts for Back to School

    Back to school is always a busy time – and with early mornings for everyone, all too often breakfast gets either skimped on or skipped. Not good for kiddos needing energy to power through their day!

    To stay sane AND energized, we’ve put together a list of our four favorite Make-Ahead Breakfasts that you can assemble the night before and then serve the next morning without missing a beat – or a minute of extra sleep. Check them out below!

    CranberryOatMuffins

    These delicious muffins can be made with regular white milk or Almond Milk and are incredibly easy to prepare ahead of time. You can even freeze them! Just toss them in the toaster oven when you’re ready to eat and – voila – instant breakfast on the go.

    BlueberryBreakfastPops

    For a healthy treat without the extra effort these frozen breakfast pops fit the bill perfectly. Assemble the pops the night before, freeze, and serve with granola (or on the go) the next morning. Yum!

    Quiche

    For a healthy breakfast that tastes as good as it looks, this veggie quiche is sure to please. Assemble the ingredients and refrigerate the night before, than all you have to do is bake and serve the following morning.

    OvernightOats

    This trendy breakfast is a nutritionist favorite because it’s full of fiber, protein and vitamins. Make up to five days ahead of time with your preferred oats, refrigerate, and then add milk just before you’re ready to eat. Making it in mason jars makes it even more fun (and stylish) for the kiddos.

    Breakfast can be a challenge when you’re in a rush, but fueling up properly is #SoWorthIt, especially for kids heading back to class. What are your favorite back to school breakfasts?

  • Head, Heart, Hands and Health: Why We Love 4-H

    Summer in New England is in full swing and that means state fairs all around Maine and New Hampshire are ready for prime-time, and with them, the incredible young men and women of 4-H.  For those of you who might not be familiar, 4-H is a national youth program created to empower children and teens to become confident and capable contributors to their community, especially in the fields of animal science and agriculture.

    Through the 4-H program, children and teenagers learn how to care for all sorts of animals, including livestock and dairy cows.  Many motivated 4-H youth have steered much of their time and learning towards maintaining agriculture through family farms, an effort we believe is definitely #SoWorthIt.

    4-H Winner & Oakie

    In Maine in particular, there is a large effort to encourage learning through 4-H Animal Science and Agriculture.  These farm-oriented programs help young people learn about caring for animals and how they directly contribute to the quality and quantity of our food supply.  4-H youth Ellie Pendleton says the farms she attends “hosts agricultural events and activities where visitors learn about cattle, sustainable agriculture, and land conservation.” Family farms feed a huge percentage of our community and world at large, and the families who operate them understand the importance of nurturing and maintaining the land and the animals – exactly the thinking that 4-H instills.

    Lydia Elwell, another 4-H’er, explains that “due to the positive experiences I’ve gained from my 4-H group, my main aspiration in life is to help as many people as possible.”

    This amazing organization continues to have an incredible impact on the lives of children and the betterment of our communities. It gives future dairy farmers the hands-on experience they need to be successful, and teaches children about being active members of their community. In fact, 4-H members are four times more likely to make contributions to their communities, two times more likely to be civically active and two times more likely to make healthier choices. Girls participating in 4-H are also two times more likely to take part in science programs compared to girls in other extracurricular activities. Outcomes like these are why we at Oakhurst continue to make it a large priority to support 4-H programs in Maine and New Hampshire.

    4-H Winner

    Throughout the summer we will be donating $100 awards to winners of state fair dairy cow contests (a total of over $3,000) and in addition offering them the affection of our beloved mascot Oakie.  This year marks the eleventh consecutive year in Maine and ninth in New Hampshire that Oakhurst has supported and recognized the achievements of these young dairy farmers.

    Each summer, all of us here at Oakhurst are thrilled to see so many young people take an active interest in the business we’ve loved for more than 90 years. We look forward to following this year’s group of competitors!

  • Splish Splash! 5 DIY Hacks to Turn Your Backyard into a Waterpark

    Summer in New England is no joke. We go from sub-zero temps and 4-foot snow banks to 100 degrees and 100% humidity in about 60 seconds. There’s hardly time to get the swimsuits out, much less let our bodies adjust to the heat – so we’ve got to be creative in finding ways to stay cool.

    If you’re an adult, standing 6” in front of the fan is a common pastime, but fan blades and tiny fingers aren’t a great mix, which is why we turn to H2O to keep the little ones cool and entertained.

    Don’t have a pool or live near the water? No worries! We’ve gathered 5 of our favorite DIY hacks for turning a regular old backyard into a 5-star waterpark.

    Check ‘em out below, and don’t forget to cool down and fuel up afterward with a little Oakhurst Chocolate Milk. #SoWorthIt!

     Backyard Hacks to Keep the Kiddos Cool

    1.  Homemade Slip N’ Slide: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Long-Slip-and-Slide

    With just a $5 roll of plastic, a hose and some sandbags you can be slip slidin’ all day long, right in your own backyard.

    2.  Giant Water Blob: http://www.viralnova.com/homemade-water-blob/

    Sounds weird, but this is SO cool! All you need is some painter’s plastic sheeting, an iron and a hose to create this super cool summertime splash pad.

    Giant Water Blob

    3.  Soda Bottle Sprinkler: http://www.clevercraftycookinmama.com/2012/07/make-your-own-sprinkler-kid-craft.html

    A 2-liter soda bottle, a couple of holes and a hose and you’re good to go with your very own DIY sprinkler.

     4.  Pool Noodle Water Blasters: http://www.momendeavors.com/2014/07/diy-water-blasters-kiddie-sprinkler.html

    Way more fun than a squirt gun, these pool noodle water blasters are made out of PVC piping and foam pool noodles. Bring it on kids!

    Pool Noodle Water Blasters

    5.  Tricycle Car Wash: http://www.designmom.com/2013/07/diy-tricycle-car-wash/

    Seriously how fun is this DIY backyard tricycle car wash? Made out of PVC piping, sponges, pool noodles and a hose – this incredible creation is pretty much guaranteed to upgrade your status to supermom.

    Tricycle Car Wash

  • Family Farmer Spotlight – Fisher Farm

    FisherFamily

    You might recognize this sweet family from TV – they’re featured in one of our most recent television ads. The Fisher Family and their 150 dairy cows have been making milk for Oakhurst for over 17 years. They’ll tell you that they’re proud to be an Oakhurst producer – but really it’s Oakhurst that’s proud to distribute fresh, healthy milk from Fisher Farm.

    FeedingCow

    Farming at Fisher Farm is a complete family affair. Alden Fisher (dad) runs the farm, and is the fourth generation of his family to do so. His wife, Lisa, helps him out, along with his mother, Alma, and daughters Carmen and April. Carmen’s husband is also a dairy farmer at fellow Oakhurst producer R.E. Hemond’s Farm. And April’s daughters, Emma and Aaliyah, enjoy helping out on the farm as well. If they decide to take it over someday, they’ll be the sixth generation of Fisher farmers! Pretty cool, huh?

    BarnWork

     

    It’s always so much fun to visit our family farms and get to talk and interact with the beautiful cows that produce Oakhurst milk. Running a family farm is a tough, tough job – but all the farmers tell us it’s #SoWorthIt.

    FisherFarms

    Thank you family farmers for giving us all the opportunity to drink fresh, healthy, happy-cow milk!

     

    Have you ever lived or worked on a farm? Share your photos and stories with us for a chance to be featured on our Facebook and Instagram pages.

  • Parenting. So Hard and #SoWorthIt.

    We’ve all been there. The toddler spilled his milk all over the wood floor, the baby’s screaming because she dropped her pacifier, you haven’t showered and forgot to turn on the coffee pot. And it’s only 6am.

    There are so many parts of parenting that are hard. Messes to clean up, budgets to balance, and tough decisions to be made about car seats, daycares, feeding, and so on.  Sometimes it feels right.  Other times, we wonder whether we’re doing it completely wrong.  It’s all part of the journey. But one thing we can all agree on is it’s so worth it.

    UhOh

    At Oakhurst, we’ve always seen our role as supporting moms and dads as they sacrifice their own time to raise happy, healthy kids.  And like you, in our own small way, we at Oakhurst are faced with choices and decisions.  Whether it’s the little decisions like supporting food drives, community sponsorships, and donations to fund a children’s museum, or the bigger things – like being the first to say NO to artificial Growth Hormone in our milk… and standing up to Monsanto when they challenged our First Farmer’s Pledge.  We believe our actions are expressions of our values and our commitment to do right by the next generation.

    AmericaFirstFarmerPledge

    The #SoWorthIt idea originated from these shared values.  We know you make choices and sacrifices every day to care for your kids and to stand up for what you believe in.  We know you put everything on the line to do right by them.  And in the end, we know that you know that it’s all #SoWorthIt. So the goal of #SoWorthIt is simply to serve as a reminder that amidst all the chaos, exhaustion and unrelenting self-doubt, the unexpected kisses and snuggles are totally, irrefutably, indisputably #SoWorthIt.

     SoWorthIt

    When we asked ourselves, how can we play a role in making life easier for parents, we came to the fast conclusion that the best way to help another parent is to connect them with other parents. Real stories. Real advice. Real life. So we’d like to introduce you to a couple of amazing moms from Maine and New Hampshire.  We’re calling them our #SoWorthIt Mom Ambassadors.  Their names are Rebecca Spear of Mainely Mama and Angela Paris of Juggling Act Mama. Rebecca is a mom of two energetic young boys and the wife of a lobsterman who’s running a crazy, busy household and trying to keep everyone healthy, safe, and sane. Angela (Ang) is a super busy mom to two young children and a wife who says she thrives on juggling hundreds of things at once.

     

    In the coming months, they will share tips, recipes, giveaways and more on their blogs (and of course on the Oakhurst Facebook and Instagram pages). So be on the lookout – the fun starts in July.  We hope you’ll chat with them, make friends with them (on social media and in real life!) and share with them, and with us, your sweetest, funniest, happiest and most frustrating parenting moments.

     

    Recently, we took a moment to ask them both this question: What makes being a mom #soworthit to you? Here’s what they had to say:

     

    Mainely Mama Blogger, Rebecca Spear

    Rebecca: The journey to and through motherhood has been the most challenging experience of my life, it’s tested me in more ways than I thought possible, but being a mom is also by far the most rewarding and amazing experience and far exceeds anything I could have imagined.  Some days I feel exhausted and discouraged but there are always those moments that make it #SoWorthIt!  It’s usually the little things: when I see my boys becoming best buddies and caring for one and other, when I see them be a good friend, when we can spend an unstructured day as a family, and when I tuck the little rascals in at night and read stories and get hugs and kisses, it makes the craziness of the day SO worth it. 

    Juggling Act Mama Blogger, Angela Paris

    Ang: On the “good days,” being a mom is easy.  It’s all fun and smiles and hugs and happiness, right?  Spending quality time with my family is my favorite thing to do, but we all know not every day is perfect.  We get but a handful of those.  It’s the challenging days that put it all into perspective for me.  The days when no one wants to listen, the days with tears or yelling, or the days when you just want to go back to bed and start over. Being a mom is the hardest job I have ever had – and the most rewarding one, too.  There is no substitute for an unprompted hug or impromptu “I love you” from your child, and that’s what makes it all worth it to me. Every day I remind myself that my children will only be this exact age today; tomorrow they will be a day older – and that much closer to being ‘all grown up.’  Today with my children is a precious gift.  There are magical ‘perfect’ moments in every day, and finding them is part of the joy of being a mother.

     

    What makes raising a family #SoWorthIt for you?

  • So Many Resolutions, So Little Time

    If you look up “Top Ten New Year’s Resolutions” on Google, you are guaranteed to find “get fit (or lose weight)” and “spend more time with family” very high on the list of things to tackle in the New Year. It’s no secret both of these things will lead to a healthier mind, body and soul and many of us are lucky to accomplish just one of the ambitious (and sometimes unrealistic) goals we set for ourselves. So, the thought of trying to tackle two resolutions at once can seem a bit overwhelming. The good news is, we’ve found out you CAN do it- just ask our friends at WinterKids! They helped us come up with a list of 12 outdoor activities that engage the whole family AND help you get fit at the same time!

     

     

    winterkids_color 

    12 Fun Things to do in Winter

    1. Go hiking on your favorite trail with snowshoes or cross-country skis.  While you’re on your hike, be sure to keep an eye out for animal tracks.  You can use the WinterKids Animal Track Tracker to identify which animals were on your trail.  http://www.winterkids.org/media/uploads/wk-animal-tracks-tracker-student.pdf
    2. Build a snow sculpture.  Bring the whole family together, burn some calories, and build a sculpture!  Be creative!  The snow is good for building more than just snowmen!
    3. Make a snowball target.  Make a circle in the snow, and use snowballs to target the circle.  The one who hits the circle the most times wins!  Of course, be sure to stay out of the way of the thrower!
    4. Geocaching is fun in the winter too!
    5. Make a winter carnival.  Planning a winter party?  Make it a winter carnival!  Winter obstacle courses are easy to create.  You can set up a slalom course with ski poles and run through the course.  You can also use two buckets and a pole as a hurdle or limbo.
    6. Go on an adventure to find a sledding hill.  If you don’t have a sledding hill at your house, that doesn’t mean you can’t sled.  Contact your local school, recreation department or golf course.  Often, they have a place where you can sled!
    7. Make a snow maze!
    8. Snow painting!  Mix liquid and water based Tempera non-toxic paints and make snow paintings!  On colder days, you can add a little rubbing alcohol to the paint to make sure it doesn’t freeze.
    9. Disc golf on snowshoes or cross-country skis!
    10. Get a WinterKids Passport!  The WinterKids Passport is the ultimate ticket to winter fun for Maine 5th, 6th and 7th graders!  The Passport offers free and discounted tickets, lessons and rentals at 50 areas all over Maine!  http://www.winterkids.org/kids-and-families/passport/
    11. Get a WinterKids FunPass!  Not old enough for a Passport?  Try the WinterKids FunPass!  The FunPass offers Maine’s youngest children, from preschool through 4th grade, the chance to try cross country skiing and snowshoeing on groomed trails for free! http://www.winterkids.org/kids-and-families/funpass/
    12. Remember, most of the things you do in the summer, you can also do in the winter.  Be creative!  Think about your favorite summer activities and adapt them to winter!  You can also check out the WinterKids events calendar to find out what’s coming up in your neck of the woods.  http://www.winterkids.org/events/

     

  • Wreaths Across America: Part 3

    It’s safe to say the final leg of the Escort to Arlington journey went smoothly and everything went off without a hitch. In fact, some may even say the trip was wildly successful. Maybe “wildly successful” isn’t the right term for such an emotional and at times, somber, week. However, if you measure the trip in terms of whether or not the Wreaths Across America mission to, “Remember. Honor. Teach.” was realized – “wildly successful” would be an accurate way to describe the 2014 trip, at least from Oakhurst’s point of view.

    In 2013, the Wreaths Across America organization had the intention of laying wreaths at every single grave in Arlington National Cemetery. Unfortunately, they did not get enough wreaths sponsored and as a result, only laid down as many wreaths as they had in their possession. After the last wreath was put down that day, Wreaths Across America Chairman of the Board, Wayne Hanson wanted to pay his respects to those markers that did not have a wreath. As he was walking a woman tapped him on the back and asked, “Why don’t you have one for my son?”

    This year, along with Morrill Worcester, the founder of Wreaths Across America, Hanson made sure every hero laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery was honored. When the end of the journey was approaching and it looked as though there weren’t going to be enough wreaths to meet their goal, Worcester matched every incoming “sponsorship” until they received enough wreaths to fill the entire cemetery.

    We caught up with Joe Masse, the Oakhurst truck driver, after his long journey and he was bursting with pride (and even a few tears at times). He was proud of the other drivers in the convoy, who all shared what the WAA experience meant to them at the final dinner the night before making the delivery to Arlington.

    Escort-to-Arlington-Truck-Drivers

    He was proud of the fact each ceremonious stop along the way had more gracious people in attendance than the year before.

    Rhode-Island-Middle-School

    He was proud of his grandkids who volunteered at the wreath laying ceremony in Arlington and made sure they took a moment to understand the lives of each of the individuals they were honoring.

    Paige-and-Mason

    And finally, he was proud that on the 150th anniversary of the first fallen soldier buried there, every life laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery was honored with a wreath.

     Arlington National Cemetery

    The reason the organization gains momentum year after year is because of dedicated people like Joe Masse who not only return as volunteers each year, but truly understand how important this cause is.

    “I never served for our country, so this is how I can serve.” Joe said. And “serve” he has, by embodying the Wreaths Across America mission to “Remember. Honor. Teach.”

     

    Feeling like you missed out this year and want to sponsor a wreath or volunteer at Arlington next year? Find out how you can do your part by visiting http://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/act-now/.