Mr. Free and I have switched to local, organic meat and are trying to follow the dirty dozen list for our produce.
Lately, I've started thinking about our milk.
For the last couple of years we have gotten our milk from two different places. Our white milk: Costco.
Our fun flavored milk: Shatto.
We only go through about 1 gallon a week, so on our bi-weekly Costco visits, we would pick up 2 gallons of their store label skim milk. It says it does not contain growth-hormones. Which we appreciated.
Shatto, as I've mentioned before is a local family farm about an hour north of us. They have about 300 cows, use no growth hormones, are treated with compassion (they even have names!) and use glass bottles for their milk.
Their flavors are amazing. We are partial to their chocolate, root beer and orange dream flavors. Mmmmm.
I started doing some research into commercial milk (like Costco's) vs. organic milk (like Shatto's...though they are not certified.)
Please note that many of our local family farms produce organic milk, but are not able to afford the certification to be labeled as 'organic'. I will use the term organic, but your local farm is probably following those same practices.
Here's some things I have found:
* Organic milk has higher beneficial fatty acids
* Organic milk has higher vitamin and antioxident content than conventional milk
* Organic milk has higher levels of Omega-3
* Twelve different pesticides have been found in conventinal milk. Organic dairy cows cannot eat feed containing pesticides.
This week a study came out linking ADHD with high levels of pesticides in children. This is greatly concerning to me as a teacher, and hopefully a parent one day. Convential dairy cows are usually feed GMO corn and byproducts. This winds up in the milk you drink. Yuck.
* Buying organic milk is supporting good business practices and animal treatment.
* I feel better supporting a local farmer and his family that I have personally met, then lining the pockets of some dairy CEO. That's just me though.
** Please note: not all organic milk is created equal. There has been quite an uproar with big organic milk companies, like Horizon. They barely scrape by the USDA's standard for 'organic' and are still produced on huge factory farms. Just something to think about.
I contacted Shatto this week concerning how their cows are fed. We visited their farm a couple of weeks ago and was greatly impressed with how they run their farm, the treatment of their cows and the freshness of their product. Their website says the cows graze the fields and are also fed grain and alfalfa hay during winter months. I wanted to see if the grain and alfalfa contained any pesticides.
I was relieved to hear back that they grow their own grain and hay and no pesticides are used.
These enough convince me of the benefits of switching our milk.
The thing I'm reluctant about? The cost. Gulp.
A gallon of milk from Costco? Around $2.25/gallon. A gallon of local Shatto milk? $6. That's a pretty big difference.
Organic milk is available almost anywhere milk is available. Sometimes it is in the 'health' section of the grocery store. It is obviously readily at places like Whole Foods or Trader Joe's.
I think for now, we will keep a gallon of Costco milk (luckily it is hormone-free....so they say...) for cooking or for when others come over. For our regular daily consumption...local milk.
When we have little ones....I think we will bite the bullet and *only* use local, organic milk. Their healthy development will be priority one.
Please do your own research on this. There are so many articles and research done on the benefits of organic milk and how convential milk is produced.
So Readers, are any of you already purchasing organic or local milk? Do you think it's worth the money? Do you have any cost-cutting tips in purchasing organics?