Organic Valley, the nation’s largest cooperative of organic farmers and a leading organic brand, today announced that Organic Valley Grassmilk, an organic milk produced from cows that are 100 percent grassfed and the first of its kind from a national brand, is available nationwide.
While all Organic Valley milk is sourced from pasture-raised cows grazing in lush pastures, Organic Valley takes it one step further with Grassmilk, which is 100 percent grassfed. The cows eat only fresh grasses and dried forages, like hay. They do not eat supplemental grains or soybeans. Nutritionally, Grassmilk is flowing with naturally-occurring calcium, omega-3s, and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a good fat that is the best indicator that a cow’s diet includes plenty of pasture. It all starts with the soil—organically managed soils that support diverse forages and the highest quality pasture grasses, which the cows eat.
Grassmilk is produced on family farms like the Jahnkes’ in Grant County, Wis. For Kevin, his wife Mary and their boys, the benefits of feeding their cows only grass and dried forages are bountiful. The herd is nearly maintenance free when it comes to health, and because the cows are raised only on green grasses, the milk yields a rich taste and color.
"There’s no greater feeling of satisfaction than to stand in my pastures and watch and listen to a beautiful herd of cows grazing on lush green grass," said Kevin Jahnke. "Our milk is the color of melted vanilla ice cream."
There are environmental advantages, too. Grazing and organic agriculture practices minimize soil erosion, maintain wildlife habitat and manage soil nutrients. All 190 acres of the Jahnkes’ farm qualify for top levels of the federal Conservation Stewardship Program, which rewards farmers for taking good care of the land.
To be closest to the way Mother Nature intended, Grassmilk is minimally processed and non-homogenized, or “cream on top.” The result is a unique-tasting, creamy, artisan-quality milk that reflects where it comes from and when, changing subtly depending on the varieties and mix of pasture plants and stored organic forages the cows eat during the season.
The Jahnkes, like all Organic Valley farmer-owners across the country, work in harmony with nature—they never use GMO feed, antibiotics, synthetic hormones or toxic pesticides. Organic Valley farmers meet and sometimes exceed the USDA National Organic Program’s pasturing standards when seasonally appropriate for their region and climate.
“The grass truly is greener,” said Melinda Hemmelgarn, M.S., R.D. “Compared to conventional meat and dairy, we can expect the milk of organic cows that are raised predominantly on a pasture of grass and legumes to contain less saturated fat and the healthiest mix of beneficial fats—more alpha linolenic acid (or ALA, an omega-3 fatty acid) and higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). In fact, CLA levels in organic milk from grazing cows may be five times greater than levels in conventional milk.”
Organic Valley Grassmilk comes in three varieties: whole, reduced fat two-percent and fat-free with a suggested retail price of $5.49 for 64 oz. The three products are now available nationwide in natural food stores, food cooperatives and major grocery chains.
Organic Valley: Independent and Farmer-Owned
Organic Valley is America’s largest cooperative of organic farmers and one of the nation’s leading organic brands. Organized in 1988, it represents 1,834 farmers in 35 states and three Canadian provinces, and achieved $860 million in 2012 sales. Focused on its founding mission of saving family farms through organic farming, Organic Valley produces a variety of organic foods, including organic milk, soy, cheese, butter, spreads, creams, eggs, and produce, which are sold in supermarkets, natural foods stores and food cooperatives nationwide. With its regional model, milk is produced, bottled and distributed right in the region where it is farmed to ensure fewer miles from farm to table and to support our local economies. For further information and to learn about Organic Valley’s 25 years of sustainable agriculture as it celebrates its anniversary in 2013, visit www.organicvalley.coop. Organic Valley is also on Twitter @OrganicValley and Facebook www.facebook.com/OrganicValley.