Growing up, we were always taught to pay attention to the labels on our food packaging. They told us how many calories were in each serving and how what percentage of daily protein you were about to consume. You look at the label to warn you of allergies and to remember when to throw out your food before it goes bad.
These days, there’s plenty more to read on the packaging of your food. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s part of marketing and what’s valuable information. For example, our glass milk bottles say “Shake Before Using”. That’s valuable information! We want you to get the best taste possible and sometimes, the cream in your milk rises to the top and needs a little extra shake to get the flavors mixing. And when we say that our dairy products are minimally pasteurized, that’s not just marketing, though it is one of the biggest reasons our milk simply tastes better.
Keeping the Good Bacteria
We believe in keeping our dairy simple and pure. While we seek to kill any “bad” bacteria and deactivate enzymes in our milk that make it go bad faster, we feel that sometimes, dairy companies get a little carried away and kill the “good” bacteria too. Yes, we said bacteria can be good. Just like you can use too much hand sanitizer, you can over pasteurize your milk too.
Everybody knows about the bacterias and what they can do to your health. Because of our process, we can promise you that you’ll never run into any of these by consuming our products. That being said, not everyone knows about the other important bacterias in dairy that develop into probiotics, ultimately improving “gut” health. Exposure to “good” bacterias can help to strengthen your immune system, especially when working together with the proteins and vitamins in your milk.
High-Temperature Short Time (HTST) Pasteurization
When we started out, we wanted to make sure our milk was both flavorful and healthy. We’ve come to find that high-temperature pasteurization is our process of choice. How does it work? We pump the milk directly from the silo through the pasteurization tubes where the milk is run across a thin metal plate. One side is heated by steam at 165 degrees and the other side is cooled at about 30 degrees. This method of pasteurization brings the temperature of the milk up to about 165-175 degrees and back down to about 36 degrees over the course of about 25 seconds to preserve the nutritional elements and overall flavor while wiping out the bacteria and enzymes we seek to eliminate.
How do we know the bacteria is gone? We have a lab at our facility to do onsite testing. It’s first tested for antibiotics, though our farmers do a great job at keeping any cows that could have antibiotics in their system out of the milking parlor. Then, we test twice a week for traces of bacteria. In addition, our milk gets tested and regulated by the Virginia Department of Health, Food and Drug Administration, and Virginia Department of Agriculture. That’s the only way to be sure we’re taking every measure to keep your milk simple and pure.
We choose this method because we want to be certain that any raw elements in the milk that could be harmful to you are denatured and deactivated. It also means your milk won’t go bad in 3 days, because, while we love drinking milk and lot’s of it, we realize that not everybody runs through it as quickly as we do!