(Plymouth, IN) - A Plymouth dairy farmer was like a center in football snapping the ball to the quarterback not knowing history was in the making. Helio Castroneves was the first winner of the Indianapolis 500 to add strawberry flavoring to his milk at Victory Circle. He was handed the traditional bottle of cold milk by Jill Houin of Homestead Dairy.
Houin was just a short distance away when Castroneves drank about half of the milk before adding strawberry flavored powder to the bottle and gulping down the rest. She said she thought it was cool that Castroneves put his own signature on the grand moment without breaking from the chain of winners drinking milk without artificial flavorings since the 1930’s. “He celebrated traditionally and then he got to celebrate the way he wanted to and I’m humbled to be a part of that whole day,” she said.
Castroneves said he wanted the milk in a glass bottle to reflect the pink color of his car and team uniform. Houin is calf manager, tour guide and social media publicity manager at the dairy owned by her husband, Brian, a fifth generation owner of the farm at 11505 13th Rd. Close to 5,000 head of dairy cattle are at the farm whose milks goes to the Walmart processing plant in Ft. Wayne for sale by the store chain.
The dairy industry is hoping for a boost in demand from Castroneves giving more exposure to how milk tastes great in various ways. Stagnant milk sales are blamed on additional beverage choices hitting the market in recent years. “There are so many options in the dairy aisle at the store and he got to make it a little more personal for him so I think that was just a great opportunity to share in the choices of dairy,” Houin said.