Blog & Mailing List Sign-up
<< Back to main

Grass & Milk

Posted 4/15/2017 12:54pm by Kinley Coulter.

    'Tax Day’… April 15th… Certainly a day of Infamy for beleaguered taxpayers.  April 15th has a different name at Coulter Farms…’Pasture Day’.    This is the date that we schedule our hay supplies to run out, confident that we can turn the ruminants, here, out onto green pastures.  We feed approximately six 1,500 lb. round bales of hay per day to sheep, beef cattle and Jersey dairy cows, from about Thanksgiving through ‘Pasture Day’.   A little quick calculation is sobering… 150 days at six bales per day and $80/bale for Certified Organic hay adds up to $84,000 worth of hay to winter over our ruminants.  And that figure doesn’t include bedding, mineral, feeding labor, equipment and buildings.  Sigh… no wonder 100% Grassfed milk and meat and cheese is costly.  


     Industrial agriculture’s answer to this is to ‘save money’ (and make more profit) by feeding grain… turns out you can put cheap weight on animals (and people) by essentially feeding them ‘jelly donuts’ in the form of starch.   It also turns out that in animal husbandry, just as in human nutrition, there’s no such thing as a ‘free lunch’… Things that appear to be cheap often come cloaked with insidious, hidden costs.  How many of today’s ‘mysterious epidemics’ of diabetes, obesity, cancer, dementia, ADHD, autism… not to mention environmental and rural/farm community and family breakdown costs can be traced back to so-called ‘cheap food’.   I disagree with the conclusion of the article that ‘cheap food’ is a bargain… it matters what your food eats.  The cost of food before ‘industrial agriculture’ represented the true cost of producing ‘real food.’  Before WWII, everyone drank grass fed milk and ate grass fed meat… 

     Anyway, I feel like if you are on this mailing list, I’m probably preaching to the choir about the value of 100% grassfed.  So, I’ll get off my ‘grassfed’ soap box.  Maybe you will indulge me as I climb up on another soap box… 'co-mingling milk',

      'Co-mingling' milk is something that we as a society have accepted as normal, but was unknown to our great-grandparents.  Organic milk from stores comes from dozens or hundreds of farms and is ‘warehoused’ in massive raw milk silos where it is co-mingled.  Most of us learned about ‘Bell’ curves in junior high school.  So, what do Bell curves have to do with co-mingled milk?  Well, if milk from 100 farms is mixed in a silo, the milk from 50 of the farms has come from ‘below average’ farms.  What makes a farm ‘below average?’  Things like cleanliness and sanitation, animal welfare, animal health, integrity regarding organic farming requirements, and many other factors influence milk quality in ways that are not always tangible.  Out of 100 farms… whatever represents the ‘worst’ farm is in that silo, too.    As long as I’m on my soap-box… I’ll put in a plug for ’single source’ milk.




     The milk we use in our dairy products comes from a farm that we consider to be far out on the ‘good’ end of the Bell curve for quality…namely, Coulter Farms.  A farmer who watches several tons of his milk drive away on a tractor trailer, headed for a distant ‘milk factory’ to be mixed with milk from hundreds of other farms can’t help but to have a different attitude towards his milk than we do.  We know that every single gallon we milk out of our cows will be processed by us, and we have to hand that block of cheese, that quart of yogurt, that half gallon of milk, that tub of butter over to our friends at market.  These are people that we know and appreciate, and people we have to face every week.  These are people who literally put food on our dinner table as they purchase our dairy products. This gives us tremendous satisfaction, and is a powerful motivation to produce exceptionally clean, healthy, wholesome, nutrient dense milk.  So, on that next dismal, rainy market day when you’re considering just picking up milk at Whole Foods… get your umbrella and galoshes out and trudge on down to the soggy folks at the Coulter Farms booth for ‘single source’ milk.  The votes you cast with your food dollar make a difference.

     Support 100% Grass Fed!  Resist Co-mingling!  :)