Looking for a way to sweeten up your next special occasion? Combine two summer staples for the ultimate celebration: A s’mores bar featuring gooey marshmallows, colorful toppings and crunchy graham crackers and top them with a scoop or two of ice cream for a silky-smooth finish. Lucky for you, we compiled a list of s’mores bar must-haves to make your sweet tooth sing.
When it comes to selecting your ice cream, you can’t go wrong with local favorite Stensland Family Farms. Located just across the border in Larchwood, Iowa, the farm has been in the family for four generations. Doug, Mona, their four children and their families handle the day-to-day operations of the farm that includes 1,500 acres of crops and 180 cows. They use conventional and organic farming practices to grow crops to offer more choices to people who buy their products.
“We feed our cows non-GMO crops and forages that are raised organically, but we also grow conventional corn and soybeans on our farm to sell to the local elevator,” said Doug. The cows eat a mix of soybean meal, flax meal, alfalfa, dry grass, corn silage, ground grain, vitamins and minerals. A nutritionist helps the family determine the right blend of each ingredient to fit the needs of the herd.
Good nutrition and cow comfort are the main ingredients for great tasting ice cream, according to Doug. Like many dairy farmers in South Dakota, Stensland Family Farms’ milking process is automated. Cows step into boxes with robotic milkers whenever they want and get a treat if they give milk. The cows can also access an automatic groomer to scratch their itches any time of day and waterbeds for in-stall relaxation.
Doug said people who tour their farm ask if it pays to give so much attention to the cows. “I can’t put a dollar figure on it, but I know that if they like it, it’s good for everyone.”
In October 2016, the Stenslands opened a food processing facility on the farm and an ice cream shop and country store in Sioux Falls. They regularly conduct public tours so people can see the farm-to-fork process. You can find their ice cream to complement your s’mores bar at these stores or online. Now that we’ve tantalized your taste buds, it’s time to get busy planning your sweet celebration.
Don’t forget a glass of cool, fresh milk to toast your great taste. Did you know that whether you purchase milk from Stensland Family Farms or a different brand at your grocery store, it likely came from a local dairy farm? Read more here.