SATISFY YOUR CURIOSITY WITH SOME FAQs!
Cow Care FAQs
Q. What breed of cows does Sweet Grass Creamery have?
A. Our herd is made up of mostly Jerseys, those cute little brown cows known for their gentle demeanor and curious personalities. We care for our ladies like family to ensure they are healthy and happy. The Jersey breed is world renowned for producing a more nutrient-rich milk. People tell us that Jersey milk taste better, it has much more flavor than other milk. The reason is because Jersey milk contains a higher concentration of proteins, solids, butterfat, and beta-carotene than other breeds.
Q. What does Sweet Grass Creamery feed its cows?
A. Cows are vegetarians and at Sweet Grass Creamery we allow our cows to be cows and let them graze on our lush pastures and feed them grass hay and grain to help balance their diet. Vitamins and minerals are also added for their dietary needs. What our cows eat is the most important aspect in providing delicious, nutritious, flavorful milk.
Q. How much do your cows eat each day?
A. Dairy cows eat around 90 pounds of feed each day and drink a bathtub full of water. They spend six hours a day eating and eight hours chewing her cud. They have one stomach with four compartments.
Q. Do you use hormones or antibiotics?
A. We do not use rBGH (Recumbent Bovine Growth Hormone) a hormone used to make cows grow and produce more milk. Our milking herd is free of antibiotics. It is illegal to sell milk that contains antibiotics; so all milk sold is antibiotic free.
Q. How often do you milk the cows and how much milk do the cows make?
A. We milk twice a day 5am and 5pm and milking usually takes 5-7 minutes per cow. In contrast to more typical dairy herds, our Jerseys give a smaller amount of milk which is higher in butterfat. Each cow usually gives approximately 2.5 gallons of raw milk per milking. Milk production varies with the season, the quality of the forage available, and the cow's lactation cycle.
Q. How long does a dairy cow give milk?
A. Our cows are milked for 9 or 10 months after giving birth. Then they are given a break for 2 to 3 months until they give birth to their next calf. This break is known as their “dry period” and is an important resting period necessary to keep the cow and udder healthy.
Q. Where are your babies raised?
A. Our calves are raised in individual pens called calf hutches, from birth to around 10 weeks. During this time they are fed mothers milk and then a milk replacer. At 10 weeks our calves are moved to a group pen for about 4 weeks, then moved to our calf/heifer barn until they give birth (a cow is called a heifer until it gives birth).
Q. Why does a layer of cream form on top of the milk and yogurt?
A. Our milk has not been homogenized, meaning the butterfat has not been emulsified to make it the same consistency as the rest of the milk. Therefore, the butterfat or cream which is lighter than the other liquid components of the milk, rises to the top. You can gently shake the cream into the milk - or skim it off and use it in your coffee for a burst of flavor.
Q. What is creamline milk?
A. Our creamline milk is the most natural form of milk; it is the closest to raw. It is made through traditional practices with minimal amount of processing. It is pasteurized like milk you find in the store; however it is not separated or homogenized, so there will be a layer of cream on top.
Q. Why does organic milk in the store have a longer shelf life?
A. Because organic milk is often not produced locally, it has to travel farther to reach store shelves. To ensure that the milk doesn't go bad, producers use a different process to preserve it - Ultra-High Temperature (UHT) pasteurization. This type of pasteurization will lengthen the shelf life, but it also affects the quality and taste of the milk. Because our milk is produced and sold at the farm within hours of when our cows are milked, we can offer a fresher product using minimal, low temperature pasteurization, in order to preserve the great taste and quality of our milk.
Q. How much milk does it take to make a pound of cheese?
A. It takes 10 pounds of milk to make one pound of cheese.
Q. Why is whole milk a healthy choice?
A. The world’s healthiest foods are whole foods that haven’t been processed. That’s because pulling some—or all—of the fat out of milk disrupts its nutritional profile.
Here are the facts:
- The fat in whole milk can help you absorb calcium and many crucial vitamins.
- Whole milk contains a type of fat linked to immune system health.
- Studies now show that eating saturated fat raises good cholesterol.
- We need healthy fat in our diet for long-term weight maintenance.
Q. What is pasteurization? How is Sweet Grass Creamery’s pasteurized milk different?
A. Pasteurization is the process of using heat to destroy pathogenic organisms in foods.
At Sweet Grass Creamery we use the lowest temperature vat pasteurization allowed by law - heating the milk to 145 degrees for 30 minutes and cooling it down to below 45 degrees before bottling it. This method is quite different from large bottling plants where they use an Ultra-Pasteurization (UP) method – heating the milk to or above 280 degrees for just 2 seconds and cooling it down rapidly. This process creates an extended shelf life.
We believe “less is best” when it comes to processing our milk. While the low temperature method destroys all bacteria that are harmful to health, it allows the milk to keep most of its natural enzymes, proteins and nutrients. While this process takes more time, we choose preserving our milks naturally fresh flavor, rich creaminess, quality, and nutritional value over increasing its shelf life.
Q. What is homogenization? Does Sweet Grass Creamery homogenize their milk?
A. Homogenization is a process that breaks down the fat molecules that naturally occur in milk so they are the same size as the rest of the milk. This is done by forcing the milk through a fine filter at pressures of 4,000 pounds per square inch. This process keeps the milk from separating and the cream from rising to the top. This process makes the milk look prettier and gives it a longer shelf life, but is not healthier. After homogenization, the milk fat is so small it is easily absorbed, and gains much greater access to the bloodstream, which can promote hardening of the arteries. When you drink Non-Homogenized milk, your body can digest the cream and use the fat that is in the cream for energy and nutrients that your body needs.
At Sweet Grass Creamery we are dedicated to producing a more natural product that is minimally processed, so we do not homogenize our milk. Our milk will have a layer of cream on top. Gently shake the bottle to mix the cream into the milk.
Q. What is carrageenan and is it used in Sweet Grass Creamery products?
A. Carrageenan is a seaweed extract, which has no nutritional value that is commonly used as a thickener and emulsifier to improve the texture of dairy products and other processed foods.
Sweet Grass Creamery does not use carrageenan or any other substances in any of our products.