Trevor Nerds Out on Milk

The milk that we offer is non homogenized and minimally pasteurized.  To see what that means, scroll down below.  We currently carry milk from Paint Valley Creamery, which is the dairy arm of Wholesome Valley Farm in Wilmot, OH. This milk is from an all Guernsey cow herd that is a true whole milk.

Guernsey cows are renowned for their quality of milk. Old timers and artisan cheese-houses love them. They don’t produce as much milk as modern Holsteins, but the milk they do produce is rich in butterfat and protein.  As mentioned above, this product is a “true whole milk.” This means that it is whatever butterfat comes out of the cow. Most whole milks are actually a calculated formula of fat, usually around 3.25%. You are probably scratching your head asking why. Well it is simple. If a dairy is putting a nutritional label on the side of the carton, then every carton has to have the same nutrition. If the milk changes in butterfat from milking to milking and throughout the year, then your label isn’t true. So what dairies do is separate the milk first then mix cream and skim milk together to make a 3.25% butterfat milk.

This Guernsey milk product is not separated in any way. In fact, right now it is testing between 4.5 and 4.7% butterfat. It has a very rich flavor with a full mouth feel. And because this milk is from grass grazed cattle, the fats are loaded in good Omega 3 fatty acids, including CLAs. This milk is an excellent choice for toddlers and young children who need the extra fat and nutrition.

As I continue to nerd out about milk, I’m also very excited about the quality of this herd. First, milk proteins. Milk proteins are measured as an indicator of the quality of the milk and what the milk is worth. 2.9 to 3.2% protein is normal. This herd is at 3.7%, which is very high and desirable. Second, somatic cell count is an indicator of sanitation and health of the animal. The somatic cells are anti-bodies that fight off infection in the teets of the cow. If the cell count is high, then there is a chance that the cow is sick or has an infection. The industry commonly accepts 500,000 cells per milliliter as healthy. This herd is always at 100,000 cells or below.

Finally, A2A2 Beta Casein. I’ll try to stay high level here because you really need to be a biochemistry major to understand all this. There is a milk protein called beta casein. There are two variations of the protein based on the orientation of the 67th amino acid in a string of 290 such acids. The orientation has everything to do with genetics and nothing to do with diet. Think of it as blood type. Some cows are A1 and some are A2. If you cross an A1 with an A1, you get A1/A1. An A1 with an A2, you get A1-A2 (I know this explanation is a little inaccurate because of non-dominate genes, but stick with me).

Anyhow, a very small percentage of dairy cows are A2-A2. This herd has been tested and the milk we are receiving is only from A2-A2 cattle. Why care? Significant amounts of research, particularly in Australia and New Zealand, has been done demonstrating a correlation between A2 milk and decreased prevalence of Type 1 Diabetes, Hearth Disease, Autism, and general dietary comfort (some folks can be made uncomfortable by milk).


The most fascinating fact about milk is that the price is fixed by a quasi‐government organization known as the milk marketing board.  In the 1930s, the USDA set up milk market orders to ensure that everyone could afford milk.  Up until the late 1960s, there were over 500 localized market orders. A market order is the price which a farmer is paid for his milk, based on“hundred‐count,” or 100 lbs of milk. The price is set by a board of producers, buyers, and those selling the inputs (grains, etc). The goal is that farmers can get a price that pays the bills. With over 500 market orders, the price was very localized and reflective of the local production costs.

Today, there are under 20 market orders.   And because these market orders are so large, they tend to favor large, conventional dairies.  Here’s how.  The price for Class I (fluid milk) is set at say $13 per hundred‐count. The conventional guy might only be able to sell his for $11 per hundred‐count to the handler. The organic guy, such as Snowville, might be able to get $17 per hundred count. Because the  FMMO philosophy is that all milk is the same, Snowville pays into a pool for selling their milk too high…they pay $4.   The conventional guy gets $2 so that he makes the same amount on his milk.

Pasteurization and Homogenization:

Pasteurization is the process of heating milk to kill bacteria. The minimum temperature which a fluid milk must be heated is 170 degrees F. In the state of OH, all fluid milk must be pasteurized. Cheeses may be made from raw milk only if aged 60 days or greater, which also kills the bacteria.

Homogenization is the process of forcing fluid milk through a very fine filter. This literally breaks the fat molecules up and allows them to suspend in the milk as opposed to rising to the top.  Snowville milk is not homogenized.

Health effects of milk‐fat:

Think about a tennis ball and a bowling ball.  A tennis ball has the same amount of contact with the floor as a bowling ball.  However, the bowling ball has greater volume and size. It would probably take a dozen or more tennis balls to equal the volume of a bowling ball.  So let’s pretend that the bowling ball is natural milk‐fat and that the tennis ball is the milk‐fat after homogenization. The dozen tennis balls have a dozen times more surface contact than the bowling ball. These molecules will stick to your arteries and cause more damage than non-homogenized milk fat molecules.

Further, homogenization and pasteurization breakdown a chemical referred to as “XO.” It’s a chemical found in milk that helps your body digest lactose.  Without it, your body may reject lactose…hence, lactose‐intolerant.   Minimally pasteurized milk has more XO in it than ultra‐pasteurized milk.

The result… some lactose‐intolerant folks can drink our milk!

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