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A traditional, nutritious Christmas treat: How Dakin Dairy does eggnog

Dale Bliss for Progressive Dairy Published on 25 November 2020
Dakin Dairy's eggnog

Dakin Dairy in Myakka City, Florida, began rolling out their annual spiced eggnog product in mid-October. While sunny Florida may not be the first area that comes to mind when thinking about the holiday milk punch, Dakin Dairy’s eggnog is a customer favorite.

“With so many eggnogs on the market these days, Jerry [Dakin] wanted something to stand out,” says Melissa Lee, a valued employee at Dakin Dairy Farms. “They wanted something that reflected the warmth and comfort of the season. It gives the aroma and taste of fall spices that fill so many homes while baking in the holiday season.”

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Jerry Dakin, along with brothers Cameron and Farren, own the three remaining dairy farms in Manatee County.

Romanus (Pete) Dakin, their father, was born in Livermore, Maine, in 1926. In 1948, he started his dairy farm with 16 cows in the same town where he was born after serving a three-year term in the Navy.

By 1960, he was milking 60 cows and bought a neighboring dairy farm, which added another 30 cows to his small but rapidly growing dairy farm.

In 1963, the dairy farmer and a friend made a trip to Florida, taking his mother to her Florida winter home, and after returning to his home in Maine, he immediately told his wife, Jeanette, and their sons they “were headed for Florida.”

After five years in the chicken farming business and after remembering what he had exclaimed a few years before that, “He’d never milk another cow again,” Pete Dakin proclaimed, “Dairying is the only business where we made money.”

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In 1974, after making some modifications to feed barns and amid the chicken houses, Pete scraped the rest of his money together and bought 110 springing heifers. Then he started purchasing the 200 surrounding acres.

Pete Dakin’s sons, Cameron and Farren, built their own dairy farms in Myakka City in 1980. In 1990, after having amassed a herd of 750 Holsteins which he sold to his youngest sons, Rodney and Jerry, Pete retired.

The Dakin family has been milking their cows, producing and bottling the milk on their family farm since 1974.

With there being fewer than 150 dairy farms left in Florida, Dakin Dairy Farm has stood the test of time. For over four decades, the family dairy has become a landmark and a legacy of Manatee County.

Due to COVID-19, all public on-farm activities have been suspended. But for many years, Dakin Dairy Farms has offered guided tours, picnics and even a “Country Christmas” event, complete with Christmas carols, hayrides and an opportunity to have a photo taken with a live nativity scene.

Dakin Dairy Farm's eggnogg

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“The Dakins are family-focused and have some of the biggest hearts I have been lucky enough to have had the pleasure of working with,” Lee says. “Jerry prides himself on producing the best-tasting milk available to the public. Here at Dakin we are all very team-oriented and pride ourselves on helping where we can. Whether it be for the farm, the plant or the farm market and cafe. We are family and work hard to give the public the very best product we can, every day.”

Dakin Dairy’s eggnog is available seasonally in half-gallons. While the online store doesn’t offer shipping, you can type in your location and see the closest location where you could find the holiday treat: Dakin Dairy Farms.  end mark

PHOTO 1: Dakin Dairy’s recipe for eggnog bread pudding is sure to become a family favorite.

PHOTO 2: Dakin Dairy Farm’s eggnog is made from a family recipe with a secret ingredient. Photos courtesy of Dakin Dairy.

Dale Bliss is a freelance writer in Florida and still lives on the same farm where she was raised. Her father was a cattleman and also farmed. She enjoyed helping her dad with the cows and taking them to market.

Dakin Eggnog Bread Pudding

Reprinted from facebook Dankin Dairy Farms

Ingredients:

1 loaf white bread cubed (French bread is best, but any would work)

3 eggs beaten

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

3 cups Dakin Spiced Eggnog

1 1/2 cups Dakin heavy cream or whole milk

Directions: Cut bread into cubes and toast in oven until brown. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Add salt, cinnamon, vanilla, sugar, Dakin eggnog and heavy cream or milk. Whisk together well. Melt 1/2 cup butter, add to bowl and whisk well. Add toasted bread cubes to bowl and blend well so bread soaks up liquid. In half-sheet baking pan with 2-inch sides, smear softened butter on bottom of pan and sprinkle with brown sugar. Gently pour mixture into pan, trying not to disturb brown sugar and butter on bottom of pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes. Check with a knife to make sure it’s done; it should be clean when inserted in middle. Let cool. Cut into squares. Serve warm with ice cream.

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