In my first ever post about milk, inspired by this Bullvine article, I promised there would be more to come. One thing the article discusses is the declining demand for milk as a beverage. It seems like lately food choice has become a hot topic, and it’s no wonder when you look at all of the options available.
When people talk about food, and specifically food choice, there are two buzz words that seem to be repeated over and over and over: local and natural. These two qualities are among the things that many people claim are priorities in making food choices for themselves and their families. When I hear that these are the things that are important to customers, all I can think is – why isn’t milk demand increasing? If this is what people want, why aren’t they drinking milk? As dairy farmers, we’re proud to be producing healthy, natural food for our local community.
Milk is Local
Our milk is hauled from our farm, roughly 50 miles, to a Roberts Dairy facility in Kansas City, MO. It is sold as “Class I”, which is fluid milk, and Roberts distributes it to stores in the KC area, including the ones where we buy groceries. By my definition, that’s definitely local. Many farms do send their milk to plants outside of their state, or to processors who make products that are distributed outside of their region. However, the fluid milk at your grocery store is most likely locally (or regionally) produced, regardless of the name on the label. It typically takes less than two days from the time milk leaves a farm for it to reach a grocery store shelf.
Milk is Natural
Not much is done to milk between our farm and your table. Maybe the biggest thing processors do is pasteurize it, which kills bacteria and increases shelf-life. They also homogenize it so that the cream doesn’t separate, and they fortify it with Vitamin D, an essential nutrient that also helps calcium absorption. The rest of the essential nutrients milk contains (calcium, potassium, phosphorus, protein, riboflavin, niacin, and Vitamins A & B12) are there when it comes out of the cow. Processors do also add Vitamin A to low-fat milk because it is naturally contained within the milk fat, which has been removed. That means your low-fat milk has a whopping three ingredients: milk and two vitamins. Where else can you get that much good stuff naturally? While I’m sure beverages made from beans and nuts are very good for you, there’s nothing natural about those products.
When you’re considering the food choices you make, if local or natural happens to be something you consider a priority, consider milk. I think you’ll be hard pressed to find something as naturally healthy produced so close to home.