Christmas ornament

As the days grow short and the nights get long,

I’m about to launch into a rhyming song.

We have come to December and the winter solstice,

A time when Santa checks who was naughty and nicest.

I won’t pass judgment on events of the past year.

Rather, my aim is benign — to cheer, not jeer.

Here are the people, products and brands we revere.

Fluid milk, Greek yogurt and more. Am I clear?

For instance, I sing of ice cream and sorbet.

Even water ices and sherbets? Of course, let’s play.

Unilever imported its premium Magnum bar.

Ice cream from Europe. That’s pretty far.

Baskin-Robbins’ Cake Bites are a tasty nibble.

They melt in the heat, but let’s not quibble.

Bang! made ice cream overloaded with caffeine.

The company found new uses for the beloved coffee bean.

Turning to milk, what’s new here you ask?

Were processors at all up to the task?

Milk sales were off. Boo hoo. Boo hoo.

That didn’t stop Dean Foods from launching TruMoo.

Chocolate milk proves to be a help in post-workout recovery.

Stepping lively with that news is MilkPEP’s Vivien Godfrey.

This year milk flowed to make more yogurt and cheese

And farmers produced all they could please.

A new chapter was written in Greek history

with the No. 1 yogurt being sold by Chobani.

Fage’s bold TV ads for a yogurt that’s Greek

were lovely and eerie. They weren’t for the meek.

From Washington came new Dietary Guidelines.

They promote eating of dairy, within certain confines.

The solons also wrote a food safety act.

There will be more details; as yet it’s abstract.

Congress is also preparing a new dairy bill,

Let’s hope it’s not some poisonous pill.

Producers wrote a draft to create a foundation.

But processors were quick with their condemnation.

Can Jerry Kozak and Connie Tipton weather the storm

that’s swirling around this dairy reform?

A trio of processors won Dairy Foods awards.

We surprised a few. I know they were floored.

These companies showed they have the goods:

Congrats to Kraft, Graeter’s and Leprino Foods.

Wisconsin Dairy Products made a champion of Gifford’s.

Taste this ice cream from Maine and you’ll be in accord.

The editors went on the road to see first hand

how processors make dairy foods in this great land.

We donned hair nets and booties to take the plant tour.

In corporate boardrooms, owners shared company lore.

In Indiana, Nestlé makes milk that’s shelf-stable,

You can drink it on the go or at the kitchen table.

Perry’s Ice Cream near Buffalo distributes other foods also,

A bigger warehouse is helping them grow.

We anointed DCI of Wisconsin the “ambassadors of cheese.”

Saputo from Canada acquired the firm with ease.

There is a Supercow atop Guida’s headquarters.

The caped, masked bovine has its supporters.

Dippin’ Dots in Arkansas fell into trouble of late.

We’d like to see it recover and get back to the starting gate.

Fage didn’t say much; claims its recipe is proprietary.

But in its yogurt goes milk that is rBGH-free.

In Cincinnati, we saw  ice cream packaged by hand.

With assistance from Kroger, did Graeter’s market expand.

In Jersey, Marybeth Tomasino makes cheeses for Milano’s,

like shredded Parmesans and Romanos.

Long ago in Cleveland, “Pierre” churned ice cream.

Today Shelley Roth has taken over his dream.

Leprino Foods of Denver opened an office offshore.

Go see the cheesemaker in far-flung Singapore.

To tradeshows, fairs, forums and expos also we did go,

To Miami, Las Vegas, Atlanta and Chicago.

We saw the machines that form, fill and seal

the dairy foods we consume at each meal.

That’s the end of this column, my last for this year.

In January I’ll start up again, I’ll begin in first gear.