Debra Lynn Dadd

Best Organic Milk?

QUESTION:

My wife and I always buy organic milk and want to make sure what we are buying is not only best for us but also best for the cows, farmers, and the earth. We usually buy either Horizon or Organic Valley but our local store (Kroger's) has their own brand called Naturally Preferred. Can you provide any additional info on these three brands that might make one better than the others?

POSTED BY WESLEY WETTENGEL :: OHIO USA :: 11/27/2006 4:21 PM


DEBRA'S ANSWER:

First, I'm always inclined to purchase the most local food products that are available. When I lived in California, I used to buy all my milk and cream from Straus Family Creamery, It's a picturesque dairy farm overlooking Tomales Bay, with a clean breeze right off the Pacific Ocean. I visited the farm. I met the family and the cows. I understood their dedication to organic agriculture and what they were doing. They were part of the rural community in which I lived. All their milk and cream came in glass bottles, and I could get "cream-top" milk and shake it up myself.

We don't have anything like that here in Florida. We have our choice of the national brands Horizon or Organic Valley.

I've always been partial to Organic Valley myself. I just think the milk tastes better. I used to have both brands listed on Debra's List, but I took down Horizon because the Organic Consumers Association called for a boycott (type "organic consumers association horizon" in your favorite search engine for more info on this).

Another thing I like about Organic Valley is that it is the only organic brand to be solely owned and operated by organic farmers. As farmer-owners, they pay themselves a stable, equitable and sustainable price for their milk. Some of their common practices include humane treatment of animals (access to the outdoors, fresh air, pure water, sunshine and exercise), rotational grazing, pasturing animals, and Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

One thing to keep in mind about store brands is that the stores are doing what is called "private label," which means that another manufacturer is putting the store brand on their own product. The store doesn't actually produce the product. So, for example, the store brand coffee might actually be a top brand, but it is sold at a lower price because it doesn't have the brand name. Your Naturally Preferred milk might come from local organic dairies, but it's just as possible that it comes from Horizon. I would contact Kroger's and find out where the milk comes from and anything you can about the growing practices.

Debra :-)


COMMENTS:

I agree that buying locally is really the best option. You may want to look into purchasing organic raw milk also. Raw milk and pasturized milk are very different according to what I have experienced and read. You can find more information at realmilk.org.

POSTED BY LEAH :: MICHIGAN USA :: 11/29/2006 6:18 AM


Just read this morning (although I already knew it) that Horizon is owned by Dean Foods and their milk is not up to organic standards. This is why Organic Consumers Is boycotting them. They are the corporate bad guys trying to sneak in supposedly organic food by not practicing organic standards. You may as well by regular milk if you by Horizon.

POSTED BY BE :: NORTH CAROLINA USA :: 11/29/2006 10:25 AM


I also agree that buying organic raw milk is the absolute best when it comes to your health. Pasturization kills all the important nutrients in it. I think it's so criminal of our government to not allow citizens to have the right to buy locally owned organic raw milk if they so choose. It's illegal in many states and cowsharing programs are becoming almost obsolete as the govt. is cracking down on them as well. It's ridiculous.

Because I can no longer get raw milk from the farmer I was getting it from (the inspectors threatened him and told him he'd lose his farm if he didn't stop selling it to people off the street), I try to buy local goats milk from the Amish, but their goats dry up at this time of the year leaving me with nothing. I won't buy pasturized milk, even if it's organic.

POSTED BY AUDREY Q. :: IN USA :: 12/01/2006 5:29 AM


I agree, Horizon is probably not a great brand for organic milk, because they don't treat their cows as kindly as you might expect an organic dairy company would. Here is a great site to explain it: www.notmilk.com/horizon.html

POSTED BY KLD :: GEORGIA USA :: 01/28/2008 12:24 PM


Whether you buy organic milk or not, the worst milk you can buy is milk that has been homogenized. Homogenization breaks the fat particles down to such a small size that they go directly into your blood stream where they scar the arterial walls, causing the body to produce lots of cholesterol, which blocks the arteries in an attempt to heal the damage done by the homogenized milkfat. The reason that producers homogenize milk is that it doesn't sour as quickly and so can stay longer on the store shelves. If you don't want a cholesterol problem with an eventual heart attack or stroke, do not consume homogenized dairy!!!!!

POSTED BY CATHY :: GO BEYOND ORGANIC :: WWW.GOBEYONDORGANIC.COM :: FLORIDA USA :: 02/01/2008 5:09 PM


I'm in agreement with everyone else here, fresh local raw milk is best. If you can't get that the next option is the Organic Valley milk. It's best to look for milk that is NOT ultra-pasteurized.

From the Weston A Price Foundation Shopping Guide for 2008:

Avoid: Lowfat and skim milk; ultra-pasteurized milk; imitation "milk" made from soy, rice, almonds, oats, etc.

They do have a farm listed for the state of Florida called Golden Fleece.

POSTED BY ERIN ELY :: MIESSENCE CERTIFIED ORGANICS :: ELYORGANICS.COM :: OREGON USA :: 02/01/2008 6:04 PM


I agree 100% with the previous answers. There may be another (fresher!) option to consider here: buying milk directly from your local CSA, or community-supported agriculture. Community-Supported Agriculture involves a strong farm-consumer relationship in a “shared risk and reward” agreement in which milk, meat, and produce is determined and even invested in ahead of time. There is little or no waste. Fresh food comes directly to the consumer, sometimes available year-round.

Many CSA programs are organic or at least avoid pesticides; this is listed on the CSA site. There are varieties of CSA; resource lists differ, so searching more than one site may help you find a CSA closer to where you live – even in the suburbs! Local Harvest is the most comprehensive resource listing CSA farms in the US – and lists them by zip codes and by market (restaurants, farms, etc). www.localharvest.org

POSTED BY FRAN :: GREEN FOR CHRIST :: WWW.GREENFORCHRIST.COM :: TEXAS USA :: 02/01/2008 6:18 PM


Another great site that evaluates organic milk companies and co-ops is Cornucopia Institute. They also look into what larger companies are buy up smaller organic food brands (i.e. Odwalla is now owned by Coca-Cola, and Kashi is owned by Kellogg).

www.cornucopia.org

POSTED BY CECELIA :: IL USA :: 02/01/2008 6:20 PM


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