Social media mania!!!!

Hello friends and faithful readers (even though I haven’t been faithfully posting)! 

My IMLP training is really starting to ramp up… which is definitely testing and strengthening my physical and mental fitness. 

I do have a few more links to share as agricultural social media platforms are doing an amazing job sharing my story. 

Dairyspot.com which is the American Dairy Association Northest’s blogging headquarters is featuring monthly updates (by yours truly) on my training progress: http://www.dairyspot.com/author/abbey-copenhaver/

And agdaily.com recently did a great article that makes me look super great at adulting 😉 http://www.agdaily.com/livestock/abbey-copenhaver-dairy-farmer-ironman-triathlete/

Hopefully in the future I can keep you more up to speed on my farming, food and fitness adventures. But until next post remember to keep tri-ing! 

And a new adventure begins…!!!

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For those of you that have read my blog for the past 2 years… thank you!!! And I apologize my infrequent posts. I recently started a crazy, fun and exciting adventure (as you may have discovered if you follow me on social media (@dairyfarmerrd #dairyfarmerrd2imlp)) … I’m training for Ironman Lake Placid!!! One of my goals (besides completing the actual race) is to document my progress via blogging and social media platforms. I hope this will help me reflect on the day after day constancy of training, nutrition and rest… and repeat (as the race itself is a small part of the journey). I also hope followers will be inspired to challenge themselves to get up and move!! and to get back in the kitchen to rethink nutritious snacks and meals.

I’m teaming up with American Dairy Association Northeast to help me navigate the art of blog posts and engaging social media followers (wish me luck). I released my first IMLP training post on their website…you can take a look using the link  http://www.dairyspot.com/dairy-farmer-ironman/  (and for future posts) or just keep reading, I inserted the post below!

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Hello curious readers, future friends, and fans,

My name is Abbey Copenhaver, I’m a dairy farmer and Registered Dietitian (otherwise known as the “dairy farmer RD”). I’m also a triathlete, dog mom, aunt, sister (to 7 awesome siblings), graduate student, and current Ironman pursuer. I consider myself a pioneer of combining my passion for farming, food and fitness into a career and lifestyle.

The Challenge:

Last August, I announced my ambitious plan to race in the Ironman Lake Placid 140.6 (IMLP) this upcoming July. As I prepare to test my mettle with a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2 mile run, I’ll share training tips, nutrition information, and an inside look at what it’s like to balance the (often chaotic) life of a dairy farmer and endurance athlete as a member of Team Chocolate Milk.

In other words, lace up your shoes (or fix your goggles/clip into your pedals) and get ready for cute pictures of my amazing cows and, as you’ll find out, the incredible athletes I meet along the way. I’m also a pun lovin’ gal, so I might slip in a cow/food/triathlete pun here and there 🙂

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About Me: 

I was raised in a big New York farm family (I come from a long line of dairy farmers). My New York roots run deep, so Lake Placid is an extra special and obvious choice for my first 140.6 triathlon distance. Although I have a sneaky feeling (like with the 70.3 triathlon distance) this may not be my last 140.6, I’m beyond excited to finish in the Olympic oval!

Tackling the 140.6 triathlon distance wasn’t something I EVER thought I’d attempt. However, after I achieved my Registered Dietitian credentials, launched my consulting business (Farmstead Nutrition), started a dairy farm with my amazing hubby, and pulled off my first triathlon in 2013, I realized our limits are where we set them. So, you never truly know until you tri! 

It Takes a Village

There’s a saying, “It takes a village.” This applies to multiple areas of my life, but it can’t be more true for this journey we’re about to share. Without the pillars of support from my husband (Mr. Dairy Farmer), my sister Becca (to whom I owe my triathlon addiction), and my sister Emma for being just as crazy to race IMLP with me, I wouldn’t be writing this first of many posts. Of course, I need to say a huge thank you to American Dairy Association Northeast (Editor’s Note: Thanks for the shout out, Abbey!) for sponsoring my IMLP journey and recognizing the opportunity this journey provides to advocate the agricultural, athletic, and nutrition communities.

The next 6 months to be filled with ups and downs (literally), challenges, physical and mental limits, and many surprises along the way. I couldn’t be more excited to share this experience with the virtual world and maybe inspire folks to shake things up and challenge themselves.

“Tri Not to Cry Over Spilt Milk”

I know what you’re thinking…. it’s a little cliché, but I love wordplay and milk has a way of coming up in a conversation with every dairy farmer. In my world, spilt milk isn’t anything to laugh about! While training for IMLP I’m anticipating road blocks that will test my commitment. In this ongoing blog segment, I will to share these hiccups along with photographic evidence (because “pics or it never happened”).

This month’s Spilt Milk: my knee has decided to get nervous right before starting my training plan, but it’s nothing a little rest, ice, and listening to my body won’t fix! This meant making the awesome fashion choice to sport sneakers with my dress pants. It also gave me a little triathlete street cred with my co-workers.

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Join the Journey!

As a result of growing up in a big family I’m used to lots of chatter. The best way to follow my journey and send me encouragement (please!), comments, questions, your own “Tri Not to Cry Over Spilt Milk” training stories and the occasional positive vibe, follow the social media accounts and hashtags below and keep an eye open for new blog posts and videos!

 

Follow along:

Instagram: @abbey.dairyfarmerrd

Facebook: Dairy Farmer RDN @farmsteadncs

#Hashtags To Follow

#RefuelWithChocolateMilk
#DairyFAN
#TriHarder
#TeamRefuel #IronWomen
#TeamCHOCOLATEMILK

If you make it out to Ironman Syracuse or IMLP look for my orange and black Team Chocolate Milk gear and cheer me on (I’ll need it)! Thanks again for starting this journey with me and remember to just keeping tri-ing and get mooving – I warned you about the puns 🙂 !!!!

It’s been wayyyy to long!

I haven’t confirmed this but I think my last blog post was in November! Well, lately I’ve been busy starting grad school, working, triathlon training and… Oh the big one… Taking care of the farmer. I only hoping my lack of posts haven’t saddened many. 

Anyways. Recently, I have received a few speaking requests about organic verses conventional foods and farms. I have also received many questions on the topic. So when I found this article on Facebook I knew immediately the link needed to appear on “the blog.” So here you go…

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/12/think-organic-food-is-better-for-you-animals-and-the-planet-thin/

Thoughts, questions and discussion are welcome. Please no slamming, agendas or name calling 👍🏻😊 

I love my cows and it’s a passion of mine to share and teach about dairy farming with everyone I meet (it’s kind of like those moms that never stop talking about their kids). And don’t forget June is dairy month. You have my unbiased permission to celebrate with the dairy product of your choice! 🐄🍦🧀 Personally, I’m going for a run and then refueling with some chocolate milk ! 

Here’s a picture of the ladies stay cool and happy 

Nontraditional Start-ups, in the Dairy Industry

Okay folks, now that I’m famous (joke;) the Acres and Avenues team wanted me to write a blog post to feature our dairy farm and my person business (Farmstead Nutrition) since they are but start-up millennial businesses. Of course I wanted to share the post on my blog with my readers! So here you go:

NONTRADITIONAL START-UPS Featuring Dairy Farmer Abbey Copenhaver

3 couples

(L to R: My husband Austin, myself, Garrett and Libby Eiholzer, Clayton and Katie Wood)

When you think “start-up business” the image of a dairy farm most likely doesn’t come to mind. Many people might assume that all farms started several generations ago and this can be true for some farms; they could be on the 3rd generation or greater. Starting a dairy farm far from compares to starting a tech-guru company on the west coast.

Cows are live animals that can’t be left for the weekend or holidays like a computer. Thus our business is a lifestyle and a business where the whole family takes part. Being a farmer requires a tool-box full of skills including being a sharp businessman.

My husband and I entered the not-so-forgiving world of “start-ups” in 2013 when our farm; Ivy Lakes Dairy was established. And again in 2014 when I started an independent human nutrition business; Farmstead Nutrition and Consulting.

To provide some background, dairy farming and I go way back. While I grew-up on a dairy farm my husband grew-up dreaming that he might someday have a farm. This started our farming passion (or healthy obsession) at a young age. As I helped on the family farm I gradually found more interest in teaching my community about farming and how food is produced. My husband fed his hunger for farming by working on his two uncles dairy farms. There he learned, worked and then went to college for dairy farming, which is where our “start-up dairy farm” story begins…

My husband and I met the two other couples at Cornell University where the six of us majored in Animal Science (in the dairy program) and all became friends. Although we had different skills and interest in agriculture we all shared a common passion for dairy farming and the pride it brings to care for a farm and produce food for your country.

Throughout college the six of us furthered our farming education by getting internships on dairy farms or with agricultural companies. During the semesters (many times during class) the boys would be drafting a plan for their dream dairy. While my husband played out his start-up on paper I focused on studying agriculture and dietetics (human nutrition) to make a career out of agriculture and food education.

Our first start-up; Ivy Lakes Dairy was formed in February of 2013 when the partners entered in a joint venture with Todd and Nori Hathorn in Stanley NY. At that time Todd and Nori owned and operated Hathorn Farms with Todd’s retired parents – Tom and Barbara. Now the 700-cow dairy farm operates as Ivy Lakes Dairy and is comprised of three partners, my husband Austin, Garrett & Clayton.

Starting my own business was not a life-long dream for me, the idea evolved over time. I have always enjoyed people and feel it’s extremely important to show consumers where their food comes and explain to them the large role US agriculture plays in feeding American and even other countries.

Over the years this interest spread to additional work outside of my fulltime job. In 2014 I decided (with my husband’s entrepreneurial encouragement) to make my business official and Farmstead Nutrition and Consulting was born. Farmstead Nutrition mainly focuses on agriculture and food production education. Over the past year I’ve been attending mostly speaking engagements throughout the northeast in addition to working fulltime.

Running one startup business (let alone two) is no stroll through the barn. With our farm being in its second year of business and myself just finishing the first year, we have learned much, and have much to learn.

Starting-up is only part of running a business. Yes, my husband now has a farm but he is also an accountant, people manager, mechanic, pricing contactor, chemists and always on call. Just think of the time and work it would take to keep 700 women happy.

Many attributes come to mind when I think of what it took for us to be brave enough to start our businesses. We utilized our experience, college education, networking skills, mentoring relationships, motivation and sweat to take our businesses from an idea on paper to life.

Along with much support we also hear comments such as “doesn’t the risk scare you” or “you are too young.” The way I see it, there is no perfect equation of timing, money or age to start a business (although these are factors to consider). We are six people doing what we love and right now it’s working for us.

It has been said that the average person will switch careers 5-7 times in their life; I sure hope by starting-up young we will beat those odds.

Farming and Fame! (Love showing off my cow ladies!)

Today is the big day!!!! If you’ve been following my posts on social media and have read my previous blog post (from a few weeks ago) I can now announce that today is the official social media launch for my episode of Acres and Avenues!!!!! I taught boxing coach @Dana Chubb all about cow and farming, and she taught me how to box. Watch me throw a few punches on episode 2 of Acres & Avenues! Watch more:http://bit.ly/1RsKypC #DairyGood

Happy national farmer day!!

I feel like everyday is national farmer day mostly because my world has and does revolve around farming. Plus taking care of my farmer is never ending! Let me share with you some little things from a farm wife’s view that many don’t know or experience .

1. There is no “laundry day” everyday is laundry day. Trust me when I tell you that dirty farm clothes don’t take long to perfume your entire house.

2. Clean hands. It’s a constant experiment for me to find soap strong enough to breakthrough soiled farmer hands, and find lotion good enough to moisturized through calluses. My husband knows washing his hands is first things first when he gets home ( well after stripping down the work clothes and boots in the mud room). Although he washes his hands constantly they always smell like cow manure. Nothing says I love you more than smelling fertilizer when my farmer holds my head to kiss me.

3. No such thing as Weekends. I work a full time job off the farm and I think it funny how people “count down to the weekend” or “live for the weekend” or even “sleeping in.” It wouldn’t go over well if we told the cows that we are taking the weekend off.

4. Splitting house chores. My farmer keeps his barn ship shape but his house habits are the extreme opposite. With him working 12-14 hour days there isn’t much time left for house chores. After all, the cows come first! Also, another fun fact is that I’m very “particular” ( as my farmer calls it) about my house (that’s right, my house) so I don’t give him many opportunities to participate in house chores anyway .

5. Farmers are first to bed and first up. An on going farm wife joke at social gatherings is; “where did my husband fall asleep.” Give a farmer a warm, dry spot and 5 minutes… And that’s a recipe for a cat nap. Word of caution, farmers are commonly  disoriented when they wake up.

Hope you got a few laughs from my FYI farmer wife facts and if you see a farmer, say thank you! They may be rough around the edges and maybe a bit awkward but they work so, so hard and are some of the smartest, brightest and loving (each in their own way) people I know! Hug a farmer, I know I will 😉🐄

Fame on the farm!!!

So if anyone follows me on social medial @dairyfarmerRD on Twitter and Facebook you may have noticed some talk about a film series in the works! My “episode ” will be released soon (hint within the month) were I team up with a local boxing champ and beauty from ROC boxing in Rochester NY on the farm and in the gym! Follow me and wait to see the exciting release of Acres and Avenues through dairygood.org. 🐄🎥💪

Mac it up with cheese

It was another hot one in the finger lakes today… So I didn’t want to use my stove. But with my grill needing a propane refill I figured if I was heating up my kitchen it better hit the spot.

So I cooked up an old favorite, Mac and cheese! I used whole grain elbow noodles and tossed with 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter, 3/4 cup 1% milk and 2 tablespoons flour. Stirred util thicken and then added 1/2 tps ground muster, pinch black pepper and 3 different cheeses (1/4 cup each):

Sharp cheddar 

Sharp white cheddar 

Colby jack

  
So many pretty cheeses!!!

Stir until melted and you can keep warm until ready to serve.

I then sautéed zucchini in 1 tablespoon olive oil just until soft.

For protein I marinated chicken breast in a balsamic honey salad dressing for 8 hrs (started marinate before work this morning) and baked for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. It was great because I popped the chicken in the oven and made the Mac and cheese so dinner was finished all at the same time! 

  
Heating up the kitchen was well worth it… We just had to eat dinner on the deck while the kitchen cooled down ( I know, rough life right). Not picture was the no bake cookies, which was a nice cold treat, obviously enjoyed was a cold glass of milk! 

Don’t be afraid to heat things up! 

Keep it simple :)

After a loooong and hot day at the state fair (celebrating my niece’s birthday) I kept dinner simple tonight.  

 
I marinated cube steak in olive oil, garlic and balsamic, then grilled them up. Served with baked sweet potato and sautéed snap peas! 

It’s possible to have healthy and convenient dinners… It just takes a little planning 😉

Glad I could help! 

Zoodle: the new noodle

Another winner tonight! On the menu was zoodles (zucchini noodles). I haven’t made zoodles much in the past but they have been frequenting my dinners this summer. All you need is a peeler that allows you to get a continuous peel. 

My peeler actually has too thickness options.  
I’ve used both zucchini and yellow summer squash to made my zoodles.

 Always rinse the zucchini (or yellow squash) and slice off the ends of the vegetable before peeling. I usually peel over a strainer so I can rinse the zoodles again afterwards.

  
  
  
Once the zoodles are rinsed they are ready for anything; add to a salad, replace a pasta dish, sauté for a nice veggie dish with some protein. 

A chef’s note: don’t used in a dish that entails a lot of mixing, once the zoodles are cooked they break much easier. 

  
Finished product. So don’t be afraid to “zoodle up” life!