Images of Califia, a fictional queen and the namesake of California, serve as the focus for this inquiry into the influence of pastoral imaginaries on the production of dairy and nondairy milk, especially almond milk. With effectively all US almond production occurring in California, almond milk is a uniquely Californian product. Milk, in both its traditional dairy and newer nondairy varieties, offers a rich aesthetic as well as agricultural history. These pastoral trends emphasize the vision of a tamed, benevolent nature and the faith in technological innovation to resolve agricultural struggles. From the establishment and expansion of dairy farms and almond groves, to recent dairying and drought crises, consumers have associated milk with the bounty of California's land and the skill and dedication of its farmers, a sentiment also apparent in depictions of Califia in California murals and in the packaging of Califia Farms almond milk.
Milking It: The Pastoral Imaginary of California’s (Non)Dairy Farming
Kyle Bladow received his PhD in English (Literature and Environment) from the University of Nevada, Reno, in May 2015. In addition to sustainable agriculture, his research interests include ecocriticism and contemporary Native American literature. His publications include contributions to New International Voices in Ecocriticism and Teaching Sustainability/Teaching Sustainably. He teaches at UNR in the English department and Core Humanities program.
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Kyle Bladow; Milking It: The Pastoral Imaginary of California’s (Non)Dairy Farming. Gastronomica 1 August 2015; 15 (3): 9–17. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gfc.2015.15.3.9
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