On April 27, Sixteen third-graders from Belvedere Elementary School (Omaha Public Schools) attended a Field Trip to Branched Oak Farm in Raymond, NE with Dante Chef Nick Strawhecker. Students of Mrs. Lyn Cook’s class experienced a Dairy Farm for the very first time that ended with freshly made Dante pizzas straight from the wood-fired oven, using the cheese made at the farm that morning.
Students had the unique opportunity to experience a working, sustainable dairy farm that makes cheese on-premise. The students learned about milking and cheesemaking process and how it starts with the cows in the pasture and ends with fresh cheese on a pizza. After meeting the cows up close, they were able to ask questions as they watched the process and took the tour of the farm that was given by Ben Gotschall, Dairy Manger of Davey Road Ranch, Branched Oak Owner and Cheesemaker Katie Justman, and of course, Dante Owner and Chef Nick Strawhecker. After seeing the cows and sampling some of the cheeses made from the milk at Branched Oak Farm, it was time to have lunch.
Chef Strawhecker brought The Inferno – the Midwest’s only Authentic VPN Certified mobile pizza oven – to the farm to cook pizzas on-site for the children for lunch. The students got to watch the pizza dough being stretched by hand, topped with fresh ingredients and baked in the Inferno, while utilizing cheese that was made at the farm by the cows they just met. After enjoying lunch the kids were able to enjoy the wide open spaces that the farm has in abundance. As the kids were running through the grass after eating lunch and seeing the cows up close their teacher told us, “This is one of the best teaching moments of my career. My kids don’t get to run in the grass like this – to have this opportunity and see these cows and learn in person, this is incredible. I am so happy!” All in all, we thought it was a banner day too.
The OPS Field Trip is part of Dante’s overall mission to support Omaha education and provide unique agricultural and culinary opportunities for students across Nebraska.