You learn something new every day: Competitive Milk Tasting

Does This Taste Funny To You? Teens Face Off in Competitive Dairy Tasting

By Karen Pinchin

In her second year of high school in bucolic Woodbury, Connecticut, 15-year-old Hannah O’Brien was thinking about picking up an extracurricular hobby. She had her pick of the standard options — sports teams, drama, band — but instead she picked one that would take her to the highest echelon of competition in the nation: dairy tasting.
“I really like milk,” she says with a laugh. “I thought it would be fun.”
Competitive dairy tasting is currently practiced across the United States as part of Future Farmers of America’s (FFA) Milk Quality and Products Career Development Event, and even made a cameo in the 2004 indie film “Napoleon Dynamite.” It’s exactly what it sounds like: teams of teens taste samples of milk and assess its taste, quality and freshness. Right now, in hundreds of American high schools, teams of eager co-eds, in black and yellow varsity jackets with their names stitched on the back, are training for the big day: the upcoming FFA national convention in Louisville, Kentucky, which runs October 28 to November 2.

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