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Numbers: We work primarily with small, family owned farms that own 35-40 cows, but we also work with farms that have as few as 15 or as many as 95 cows.
Types: These farms are home to several different types of cows:
- Brown Swiss
- Red Devon
Horns: Most of our farms do cut the cows’ horns. It is done to protect people and other cows. Injury can happen very easily because cows affectionately rub their heads towards people. They also like to spar with other cows in their herds.
Why it is important to pasture feed cows:
Over the past few decades many studies have revealed that pasture-feeding is much healthier for the cows and for the consumer.
Greener Pastures: How Grass-fed Beef and Milk Contribute to Health Eating by Kate Clancy is the first study to synthesize the findings of virtually every English-language study (25 were chosen for analysis) comparing the amounts of total fats, saturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, and Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) in both pasture-raised and conventionally raised beef and dairy cattle. The report also combined analyses of the nutrition, environmental, and public health benefits of grass-based farming techniques. The report found that grass-fed milk contains higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, the so-called beneficial fats. Grass-fed milk tends to be higher in an omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) that scientists have demonstrated reduces the risk of heart disease. And grass-fed milk also is higher in CLA, a fatty acid shown in animal studies to protect against cancer. CLA was discovered in 1978 by Michael W. Pariza at the University of Wisconsin while looking for mutagen formations in meat during cooking. The most abundant source of natural CLA is the meat and dairy products of grass-fed animals. Research conducted since 1999 shows that grazing animals have from 3 to 5 times more CLA than animals fattened on grain in a feedlot. Simply switching from grain-fed to grass-fed products can greatly increase your intake of CLA.
Different methods of pasteurization affect the taste and quality of milk in different ways. At Kalona SuperNatural ™, we use two methods of low temperature pasteurization:
Batch pasteurization (also called vat pasteurization). All milk was initially pasteurized in this manner. A batch pasteurizer consists of a temperature-controlled, closed vat. The milk is pumped into the vat, heated slowly to a minimum temperature of 145° Fahrenheit, held at that temperature for a minimum of 30 minutes, cooled, and then pumped out of the vat. This method is relatively rare today, and is used mainly by local and regional creameries. The milk in Kalona SuperNatural™ fluid milk, butter, sour cream, and yogurt has been batch pasteurized.
High Temperature/Short Time (HTST) pasteurization. To pasteurize larger quantities of milk in a more efficient manner, creameries began developing new processes as early as 1893. Today, HTST is the most common form of pasteurization in the milk industry. In an HTST processor, the milk flows continuously through a series of thin metal plates that are heated by hot water. The milk is heated to a minimum of 161° Fahrenheit for at least 15 seconds, and then rapidly cooled. The milk in Kalona SuperNatural™ cottage cheese, cheese, and Greek yogurt has been HTST pasteurized.
We do not homogenize our milk, preferring instead to leave it in its natural form–a combination of nonfat milk and cream.
Homogenization is a process in which hot milk is pumped at high pressure through very small nozzles, tearing the fat globules into tiny particles and evenly dispersing them throughout the milk.
While homogenization blends milk, it also changes the flavor. Cream left in its whole form (globules) allows a natural creamy taste that is lost when it is broken down through homogenization. The cream in our milk will rise to the top because it is lighter than the nonfat milk from which it separates.
The cream at the top is a forgotten treat that kids and adults in earlier generations looked forward to when the milkman left milk on their front porch.
Shelf life: We use VAT pasteurization to bring the freshest milk to customers, not milk with a longer-than-natural shelf life. It is normal for milk to last 10-18 days. Our milk has an 18 day shelf life.
Vitamin A: Yes, we are required to add Vitamin A to our 2%, Skim, and 1% milks. When cream is removed from milk to lower the fat, you lose or lessen the natural vitamin A that is in it. We do not use Vitamin A from an animal source when we add it.
Vitamin D: We do not add Vitamin D to any of our products. Typically, organic customers do not want synthetic vitamins used in milk. And, like our customers, we prefer our milk to be left in as natural of a state as possible.
Lactose intolerance: We have no research that explores that non-homogenized milk will affect lactose intolerant people less that homogenized milk. However, we’ve heard countless stories from people who say they are able to drink our milk, despite having/being lactose intolerance. If you have lactose intolerance and you try our milk we would welcome you to share your experience with us.
Raw milk: It is not legal to sell raw milk in most states. We use the lowest temperature (VAT) process allowed with pasteurization laws to bring the closest to farm fresh milk as possible.
Grey tinted milk: Our bottle has a UV blocker in it to protect the milk from light which will oxidize it, and does not affect the flavor, which is why your milk could have a slight grey hue to it while it is still bottled.
Yellow tinted milk: Our grass-fed cows are raised on family farms where they graze heavily. The natural yellow color of grass-fed milk is actually an indication of its superior nutritional value, and is due to the high amounts of beta carotene.
Freezing our milk: It is usually not recommended to freeze milk, but we have heard some customers say they’ve been able to do it successfully with our product. If you have been able to do this, send us a note and let us know how it worked. Here’s one customer’s recommendation: “Do not quickly thaw the milk (ex. In hot water, microwave), but do it slowly in fridge. The cream will thaw first, the nonfat part of the milk will follow. Then, make sure it is completely thawed before shaking.”
We meet many standards for quality. FDA, State, Organic Certifier. We also meet Grade A Milk standards. We are certified organic through Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS). We meet the national organic program (NOP) regulations. We are also inspected by the FDA, USDA, Iowa Milk Shippers, and are Kosher certified by the Chicago Rabbinical Council.
*Farmers’ All-Natural Creamery products are certified Kosher by the Chicago Rabbinical Council (CRC).
Cream per SKU: Whole 3.5%, 2% , 1%, Skim has .1%
What is the “plug” in my milk: When milk is not homogenized the cream rises to the top of the milk because it is lighter than the nonfat part of milk. If it is not being used and shaken daily, the cream to thickens at the top. Many of our customers find the cream to be quite delicious. In fact, one of our customers, who is originally from Europe, told us that as a child, his family used to have fresh milk delivered to their door. The entire family competed to be the first to get to the milk so they could enjoy the cream at the top. He even described wanting it so much that he and his brother would sneak to neighbors porches to eat the cream off the top of their milk!
Live and active cultures: Yes, there are Live active cultures in our yogurt – s. thermophilis, l. acidophilus , bifidus, l. bulgaris.
Sweetness of our yogurt: Our yogurts will have comparatively less color and it will not be as sweet as most yogurts found in the United States. We add less fruit to allow the cultured milk taste to stand out, instead of the taste of a lot of sugar. Most customers who eat Kalona SuperNatural™ regularly say their taste buds are transformed. It is very hard to eat a yogurt with 20-35 gram of sugar when you are used to eating our yogurt with just 7-12 grams of sugar per serving.
Varying consistency: Our yogurt varies because we don’t add thickeners or stabilizers. It is just pure, cultured, non-homogenized organic milk. The lack of stabilizers can cause the appearance of our yogurt to change with the seasons as the cows’ diets (pasture) change with the seasons.
Kalona SuperNatural™ will look different because it is different. Typically yogurts made in the United States have textures that are smooth, thick, or whipped. You see these textures because thickeners or stabilizers are added to mask the natural marbled texture of the cultured milk.
Bird diet: The birds eat a diet made up mostly of corn and soybeans. Vegetarian just means that the feed is free of any animal byproducts.
Shelf life: Each state has different regulations regarding the shelf life of eggs. Please consult your state requirements.
White vs. Brown: White and Brown eggs only differ in color and breed of bird. White birds lay white eggs and all other breeds lay brown. Brown eggs have slightly thicker shells.
Cage-Free vs. Free-Range: Cage-Free Birds are fed a vegetarian diet, free of hormones. These birds are housed in open barns where they have room to move about and engage in natural hen behavior. They have 1.25 to 1.5 sq. ft. per bird of floor space.
Free-Range Birds are fed a vegetarian diet, free of hormones. The birds are housed in open barns like Cage Free Birds with the addition of 2 sq. ft. per bird of access to the outdoors. (Note: all organic eggs are required to be free range.)