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White Milk? What's up with THAT?!

Posted 9/6/2018 9:33am by Kinley Coulter.

     I was casually skimming an article about cheese recently, when a confident assertion by the author caught my eye: ‘Of course,' (she opined) 'no cheese is naturally orange and milk has no orange pigment in it.’   

     With all due respect to the food writer… this dairy farmer begs to differ.   We spend a lot of time answering questions about why our milk has such a distinctive ‘orange’ hue.  People exclaim that they’ve never seen butter so richly colored and the cheese coloring… ‘remarkable!’  Usually the questioner adds another question to the original one by asking… ‘what do you add to your products to get them that color?’  I like to answer that nothing is added to our products but SUNSHINE.
     Our great-grandparents would have stared in disbelief and disdain at what passes for milk (and cheese) in stores today.  Just to set the record straight… the proper, healthy, natural color of milk (and everything produced from it) is ‘Sun Golden’.   Dairy products from cows that are fed right are the right color.  (Hint, the ‘right color’ is NOT white… white is a very nice color for refrigerators, paper, nurses uniforms, clouds, teeth, kleenexes and swans…. but not milk.)   The bright, sterile, glowing, white (almost blue) dairy product that the dairy industry shamelessly calls ‘milk’  betrays three unhealthful features of industrial dairy:
     1) the Destructive Power of homogenization with its massive mechanical maceration of the delicate flavor/color molecules and fragile nutritive enzymes of milk…   handling milk roughly by over-processing produces a very white milk
     2) the Deceptive Process of selling ‘whole milk’ that has been disassembled, stripped of some of its butterfat, massively processed and then ‘standardized’ to 3.5%  butterfat… a dairy farmer in our Church calls reduced fat milk ‘Prisoner Milk’… Prisoner milk is very white.
        3) the Dilution Principle,  namely that grain fed cows make LOTS of milk volume but the grain produces a thin watery white milk.  I guarantee that if you buy a cheap,  glowing white gallon of milk… you will get what you paid for, and nothing more.  Cheap food often comes with a high cost in the long run.      Feeding grain (which was never meant to be fed to ruminants) to dairy cows produces a very white milk.
     If all of this wasn’t distressing enough… the shameful, ubiquitous practice of feeding grain to dairy cows has the unwelcome, unhealthy, unappetizing effect of flushing the precious liquid sunshine out of your milk…countless vital phyto-nutrients that your body desperately needs to thrive in good health.  Beta Carotene, commonly known as Vitamin A is only the most visible of these nutrients… giving Real Milk it’s normal, characteristic, defining, Sun-Golden Color.  Literally hundreds of micronutrients are missing from grainfed milk but are flourishing in the ‘living food’ that is 100% grassfed milk.
      Coulter Farms' Certified Organic 100% Grassfed milk is comes to us the old-fashioned way... from purebred, heritage breed, Jersey cows that would promptly spit out grain if we ever tried to feed it to them.  Why? Simply because they wouldn’t confess it as food… having never had a single mouthful of it in their entire lives.  
     Just as you cannot be a healthy person if you are not eating healthily… Dairy cows that are fed unhealthily to boost milk production to a profitable but unnatural level… cannot be healthy.  The corollary to this is that here is no way to get healthy milk from unhealthy cows.  Much of big 'Industrial Dairy' farming is feeding so much grain that its cows (packed into factories, not barns, by the 1,000’s), are wolfing down shocking amounts of grain that are as damaging to the animals’ health (and comfort) as a twice daily box of jelly donuts would be to a preschooler.  Did you ever get a belly-ache from too many sweets?  These poor animals spend their lives with a belly ache...stuffed into concentrated housing, they are fed the absolute most high-energy grain that their rumens can tolerate without becoming ‘acidotic’… a potentially deadly belly imbalance in the cow.  The process of pushing dairy animals to their genetic and biological limit of milk production has the costly effect of shortening dairy animals’ productive life-span.  Before World War II, dairy cattle would typically enjoy 10-15, sometimes up to 20 years of life on family dairy farms.  Factory farming has reduced that lifespan to less than five years, and that number is still dropping as cows are pushed harder and harder to produce more and more (and cheaper and cheaper) so-called ‘milk.’ 
     Farming wrongly is more than bad business and bad milk… I believe it is a moral issue.  King David, in the Old Testament is described as having been a sheep herder in his youth.  His son, Solomon, was never a farmer… but he addressed farming in his contributions to the Bible… one, in the Book of Proverbs, stands out to me and offers a guiding principle in our family farming operation:
Proverbs 12:10   A righteous man regards the life of his beast
     It would be my settled opinion that we, as farmers (and, by extension, you, as consumers) have a responsibility to be good stewards (and not exploiters) of our animals and the things they produce.  I’ve said it before… I might not choose to be a cow, but if I was a cow, I would want to live and eat and work at Coulter Farms.  
     Did you ever wonder why so many people can’t digest milk and why, nationally, average, per capita, milk consumption is dropping so alarmingly.   After, reluctantly, tasting some ‘milk’ that came with my daughters’ meals at a family restaurant… I could hardly swallow it.  I find myself wondering why ANYONE drinks ANY milk… I certainly wouldn’t drink that stuff.  
     I watch, with keen interest, the purchasing habits of discerning customers at our Farmer’s Markets.  I’ve noticed that, invariably,  when they buy produce, lettuce and salad greens, they are not the buying the pale, insipid 'iceberg lettuce' type vegetables that populate the super-markets, but startlingly dark greens and vibrant yellows and shocking purples… everyone seems to instinctively understand that brightly colored vegetables and fruits are the powerfully healthy ones.  I would love to see consumers apply the same logic to their dairy purchases.  If you are buying dairy products… turn your nose up at ‘insipid white’ dairy… demand vibrant, exciting, tasty, satisfying, healthy, sustainably produced, 100% grassfed, Sun-golden, dairy from happy, healthy, responsibly managed cows.   No more human belly aches from milk produced by cows with belly aches.  
     Someday, someone will ruin my 5 year perfect record.  I have been telling people who think they can’t drink milk, to try our dairy products and return the unfinished product for a refund, if it gives them stomach trouble, .  So far, I’ve never bought anything back… ever!  Recently a customer, who was happily returning for his second dairy purchase,  joyfully told me that he had not had milk for 20 years.  I don’t know who was happier, me or him… but we were both glad that we had found each other and our lives were better for it.
      Everyone appreciates family farms.  Who is not in favor of 'Certified Organic’ products if they are raised right?  If you are reading this blog posting, I am probably preaching to the choir… I will just put in my final shameless plug for our products…Consider supporting our approach to farming with your food dollar, and don’t be shy about signing your friends up for our newsletter.  Even better, how about a birthday gift for them of 100% Grassfed, Certified Organic cheese shipped to their door from Coulter Farms?  We have added a $5 off coupon to our online shipping store to help make this work… spend $30 in our store and get a $5 kickback.  This way, we all win… you, us, your friend, and our cows.  There is a slogan on the employees’ T-shirts at a sandwich shop by one of our Farm Markets… ‘Get in here before we both starve!’   So, support our family farm as we farm with your food dollars and neither one of us needs to starve :).