Why our choice of milk matters.
When it comes to rearing cows for milk, sadly “convention” has brought us to a scenario of filling the cow with the cheapest food, pumping it full of artificial hormones to make sure it provides the largest yield possible, typically tethered with its inmates in an indoors manure pit (causing need for antibiotics). So wrecked by the process, the average dairy cow is lucky to reach 5 years (when in a domestic herd it will reach 15-20). The impact of the whole process is terrifying – monocrop GM fields, pesticides, hormones and antibiotics flood through the cow, the environment and eventually end up in the milk you drink in your coffee every day.
Organic milk may be a step up, but is not always much better. Organic milk does not need to come from grass fed cows or even free range. It means cows are fed an organic diet. Now, organic pesticides used on a small-scale farm can be absorbed by the ecosystem somewhat. When you have organic pesticides being used to maintain a monocrop of animal feed, you may be damaging the ecosystem and soil just as much – partly due to the quantity needed to prevent insects at such a scale.
A free range label doesn’t improve clarity much more – cows must be allowed to pasture ‘whenever conditions allow’. Well, if you are milking e.g. a Scottish Ayrshire cow unadapted to our warmer drier climes, there’s not much time in which conditions allow for grazing outside. Equally, in the wrong hands, the overgrazing of “free range” cows can do great damage to the soil beneath their feet.
There is no perfect milk scenario unless you milk your own cow…. or stop drinking it.
With this in mind, we have chosen Cairnbrogie farm in Plett (the Farmer’s Dairy). The cow’s are 80% grass fed & 20% supplemented during milking time as a treat.
Unfortunately, this means the milk is driven from near Plett to get to us, but when weighing up the drought scenario in the Western Cape, we feel that these guys are the best option that we have found. These cows are moved in rotation around the luscious 100 hectares, able to eat mostly grass, I think we can agree that they have better impact on the cow’s quality of life, the environment, and ultimately our own bodies, than the stuff we find in the supermarkets.
Cairnbrogie also uses a novel photopurifying technology, the raw milk is UV treated to ensure it’s 100% raw and 100% safe milk. See here for more details for the huge benefits to your health of raw grass fed milk
They also have a beautiful Jersey herd. The standard dairy cow, like Friesian cows and other mixed breeds produce mostly A1 milk, Jerseys produce mainly A2 protein milk, which, like human breast milk is said to be easier to digest and better for your heart.
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RAW FULL CREAM MILK FROM (MAJORITY) GRASS-FED COWS CONTAINS:
- a nutritious blend of proteins, carbohydrates and beneficial fats
- vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C, D, E and K2 in highly bioavailable forms
- calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, iron and other important minerals
- beneficial enzymes like Amylase, Lipase, Catalase, Lactase, Lactoperoxidase and Phosphatase
- Lactoferrin to support the immune system
- an ideal ratio of Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids
- Un-oxidised, healthy, LDL cholesterol
- Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which boosts the metabolism
- phytonutrients like carotenoids, isoflavones, and lignans
- and a whole host of other beneficial ingredients like phytonutrients, growth factors and immunoglobulins (antibodies)
- Cows are in the class of animals known as ruminants. They?have?four-chambered stomachs designed to break down difficult to digest plant matter, such as fibrous grasses. Cows?ruminate or?re-chew their food or ?cud? for 6-8 hours a day, they?ll chew their cud to make up for not chewing much while actually eating the grass. This breaks up the plant fibers into smaller and smaller chunks and pumps fresh saliva into the mix. A runinants? 4 stomachs are specifically created to digest fibrous grasses.
For more information on benefits of raw milk, see http://www.thefarmersdairy.co.za/key-benefits/