Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Please select the following FAQ category that best fits your question.
Where can I purchase your products?
Kalona SuperNatural™ products can be found in natural and specialty food stores, including natural food co-ops
, independent natural food stores, Natural Grocers
, and Whole Food Markets
in the Midwest, Rockies, Southwest, and southern and northern California. You can also find us in Hy-Vee
, Earth Fare
, Fresh Thyme Farmers Markets
and other supermarkets. We have a smaller selection of products available on the East and West Coasts. Unfortunately, today our products are not available in Florida and the Pacific Northwest. Because we work through distributors, we don’t always know when a specific store adds or removes one of our products. If you want to know if a specific store carries Kalona SuperNatural, please call the store and check with the dairy manager. If they don’t carry our products, please do us a favor and put in a request with the store manager!
Are your products good after the date that is printed on the container?
Kalona SuperNatural™ conducts testing on our products to determine the best sell by date for our customers. As with many perishable items, there will be times when the product will be good beyond this date or start to show signs of loss of quality (sourness in aroma or flavor) before this date. One action that may affect this is storage conditions. Always make sure to keep products stored at refrigerator temperatures in sealed containers. If you sense the products do not smell or taste right, please do not consume.
Are the dairy cows you get your milk from 100% grass fed?
As we are based in the Midwest, there are a few months a year where grasses are tough to come by for the cows. During this time of the year, the cows eat stored forage, typically grown on the farm or purchased from other nearby farmers. Click here for more information.
How is your milk pasteurized?
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.
Click here for more information.
What does non-homogenized mean?
We do not homogenize Kalona SuperNatural™ milk because we believe that milk should be processed as little as possible, and consumed in the most natural state possible. Homogenization is a mechanical process that transforms the two, separate components of whole fresh milk– cream and low-fat milk–into one smooth beverage. To accomplish this, fresh milk is heated and pumped through tiny nozzles at high pressure. The pressure tears the fat globules of the cream into tiny particles, which then disperse evenly throughout the low-fat milk. These tiny fat particles are extremely susceptible to rancidity, but pasteurization prevents homogenized milk from spoiling. Because most of us have been raised on homogenized milk, we may not know what to expect when we buy our first bottle of non-homogenized milk. After it sits for 12-24 hours, fresh non-homogenized milk separates into a layer of light, high-fat cream (sometimes called the “cream top”) and a much larger, more dense layer of low-fat milk. Over time, the cream becomes thicker, and after a few days it may nearly solidify into a cream “plug.” This is a natural occurrence in non-homogenized milk. When you shake the bottle the plug will loosen and break up into the milk, although many folks like to spoon it out for their coffee or to eat it on their cereal as a special treat.
- Non- homogenized milk also has a naturally sweeter flavor than homogenized milk because whole cream has a silky texture that is lost when the fat globules are broken apart. It also has a richer flavor, even the 2% and fat free, because our skimming process never removes 100% of the cream. Click here for more information.
What standards or certifications do your products meet?
We are proud to offer organic products because organic agricultural practices ensure USDA organic seal Standards & Certification the long-term health of life on our planet, including the soil, plants, animals, and people. Today, all Kalona SuperNatural™ products carry the USDA Certified Organic seal, which means that they have been grown and processed in accordance with rigorous, national organic standards. The seal also guarantees that an accredited, third party certifying agency has inspected the farms and processing plants to ensure full compliance with these standards. The USDA Certified Organic seal guarantees:
- No toxic and persistent pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, or fungicides
- No synthetic growth hormones or antibiotics
- No GMO’s (genetically modified organisms)No irradiation or sewage sludge
- No synthetic fertilizers
We are certified organic through Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS), Midwest Organic Services Association, Oregon Tilth and Global Organic Alliance. We meet the national organic program (NOP) regulations and Grade A Milk standards. 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). Click here for more information.
What kinds of farms do the cows that produce your milk live on?
All of our products come from small farms in the Midwest. In fact, they largely come from small, Amish / Mennonite family farms where the average daily herd is 35 cows and where most of the work is still done by hand. Many of these farms—most of which are on about 90 tillable acres—have been in the same family for 150 years and have never been touched by chemical herbicides or pesticides. These farms have several different types of cows including: Holstein, Jersey, Brown Swiss and Red Devon.
Do the farms where you get your milk remove the horns from the cows?
Most of our farms do cut the cows’ horns. This 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.
Are your products GMO-free?
Yes, all of our products are USDA certified organic, which indicates that they do not contain GMOs.
Are your products vegetarian?
Yes, all of our products are vegetarian.
What base is used to grow the cultures used in your products?
Our cultures are microbial, or fungi based, and non-animal derived.
What is the source of your enzymes?
Our cultures are microbial, or fungi based, and non-animal derived.
Why is it 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.
What is the shelf life on your organic milk?
Our milk has a 19 day shelf life, but under proper storage conditions, it can be good for up to 22 days (3 days after the code on the bottle). We use Batch (VAT) pasteurization to bring the freshest milk to our customers, not milk with a longer-than-natural shelf life.
Do you add Vitamin A to your milk?
We do not add Vitamin A to our whole milk, but we are required by law to add Vitamin A to our 2% and skim milks. This is because the process of removing cream from whole milk to make 2% or skim milk reduces the amount of Vitamin A in those products.
Does the Vitamin A in your milk contain palm-oil?
Yes, the Vitamin A we add is palm-derived.
Why do you use this type of Vitamin A?
Vitamin A is a non-organic ingredient, which means there are few choices that meet the requirements to be used in certified organic products. The form of Vitamin A we use has been approved for use in certified organic products under the National Organic Program (NOP).
Is Vitamin D added to your milk?
No, we don’t add Vitamin D to any of our products.
Can I drink your milk if I am lactose intolerant?
We have no research that explores whether non-homogenized milk affects lactose intolerant people less than homogenized milk. However, we’ve heard numerous stories from people who say they are able to drink our milk, despite being lactose intolerant. If you are lactose intolerant and you try our milk we welcome you to share your experience with us.
Is your milk raw?
No. In most states it is illegal to sell raw milk. However, our milk is pasteurized using a low temperature process called Batch (VAT) Pasteurization allowing us to keep our milk as fresh as possible.
Why does my bottle of milk have a gray tint?
Our bottles have a UV blocker in them to protect the milk from light, which can cause oxidation. The UV blocker does not affect the flavor of your milk.
Why does the milk have a yellow tint?
Our grass-fed cows are raised on family farms where they graze heavily. The natural yellow color of grass-fed milk is due to the high amounts of beta carotene, a pigment abundant in plants.
Can I freeze your 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.
What does cream top mean? What will it look like?
We use the phrase cream top to help customers know that our product is non homogenized. The cream top on your milk will vary in appearance due to factors such as: the fat level in the product, freshness, storage conditions, time of year and the cow’s diet.
Why do you have carrageenan in your chocolate milk?
At the time our chocolate milk was formulated, it was produced under the Farmer’s All-Natural Creamery brand. Later, a decision was made to eliminate that brand and the chocolate milk was “grandfathered” in to the Kalona SuperNatural™ line. In the original formulation phase, carrageenan was selected as an ingredient to keep the chocolate mixed or suspended in the milk once it was bottled. Carrageenan has been, and still is, widely used for this reason in dairy products. We are aware that the use of carrageenan has become very controversial. We have completed our own research and at this time, feel confident that our current chocolate milk formulation and ingredient selections are acceptable per industry and organic certification standards.
Why is your milk bottled in plastic and not glass?
When the Kalona SuperNatural™ brand was launched, a significant amount of research was done regarding packaging options. Although not a perfect solution, we believe that our current half gallon container is the best option available to us. Here are few things to know:
- The freight costs associated with glass packaging is cost-prohibitive for us.
- In the dairy industry, glass bottles must be made of virgin, not recycled, glass.
- Our clear plastic bottles allow customers to see our milk.
- The plastic containers are BPA and BPS free.
- Our half gallon bottles contain a special UV inhibitor that helps protect the milk from light.
- Many retailers and distributors do not like glass packaging due to breakage and extra weight.
What percent of cream does your milk have?
This depends on the type of milk:
- Whole – 3.5%
- 2% – 2%
- Skim – .1%
Does your milk contain added hormones?
Our milk does not contain added hormones and comes from cows that are all vegetarian fed with non-GMO feed.
Is your butter made with pasteurized or raw milk?
Our butter is made with low temp batch (vat) pasteurized milk.
What is the percentage of butterfat in your butter?
85% or higher.
Do you add artificial coloring to your butter to get it so yellow?
We do not add artificial coloring to our butter. The color of the butter is determined by the diet of the cows. As a result, you will notice seasonal variation in the color of your butter.
Can I use your butter after the date on the carton?
The date on the butter cartons is a sell by date. For the freshest flavor, we recommend using the butter before the sell by date. As long as the product smells fine and looks fine, it is fine! However, if you smell an off odor or see any discoloration, discard the product.
Can I freeze your butter?
Yes, you may freeze our butter, although, for the freshest flavor, we still recommend that you consume it by the sell-by. As long as the product smells fine and looks fine, it is fine! However, if you smell an off odor or see any discoloration, discard the product. Please keep in mind that we do not recommend using any product past the sell-by date on the package.
Why did the butter packaging change?
We recently introduced a new box-style carton that is sturdy, protective and made using 100% wind energy! Also, in response to consumer feedback, the product name (unsalted or lightly salted) will now be printed on the individual butter wrappers!
Cottage Cheese FAQ
Why does your cottage cheese vary in consistency?
There are four main reasons why Kalona cottage may vary from batch to batch; these are, of course, also the reasons it is so delicious and unique!!
- Non-homogenized: Because we do not homogenize the milk, the cream rises to the top to create that beautiful and delicious topping. But this creates a level of unpredictability as well. The dressing in the vat will separate causing the first cups to have a lower butterfat dressing which makes it more “water like”. The end of the vat will have higher butterfat which is more cream like. The texture of the dressing will give the appearance of runny for the first cups and very thick or even dry for the last cups.
- Non-stabilized: Because we do not use stabilizers in KSN cottage cheese, the consistency of batches can vary. Stabilizers are used in most cottage cheese (even in the natural foods industry) for this very reason–to ensure that every batch is identical. Stabilizers even out the variation that occurs due to temperature, timing of specific aspects of the cheese-making process, and the ingredients. Without stabilizers, each of these factors can affect the final product.
- Protein Levels of Milk: Because the protein levels in milk vary from season to season and from batch to batch, each batch has a life of its own. The amount of protein in the milk will affect how much curd is produced. The same amount of milk can product 1,000# of curd or 800# of curd. At that point, the dressing has already been added, so there may be too much–but this cannot be known at the time of adding it.
- No Gums: Because we do not use gums, the curd and the dressing are not bound together. This preserves the fresh clean taste and flavor, but can also result in some separation of the curd from the dressing. In the large vats we make, the lack of gums means that sometimes the cups at the very beginning get too much dressing, while those at the end can be dry.
Why is my cottage cheese slightly yellow-ish, is it OK to eat?
The color of the cream can be slightly yellow depending on the time of year and the cow’s diet. As long as the product smells fine, it is fine!
Are there live and active cultures in your yogurt?
Yes, there are live active cultures in our yogurt – s. thermophilis, l. acidophilus, bifidus, and l. bulgaris.
Why is there minimal fruit in my yogurt?
We add less fruit to our yogurt to allow the cultured milk taste to stand out.
Sour Cream FAQ
How long is your sour cream cultured?
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