Edit ModuleShow Tags

DeRushaEats: Organic Milk Challenge!


Published:

Over the past five years or so, my family has made the switch to mostly organic produce. We joined Featherstone Farm's CSA in 2008 (I was in Rushford covering the devastation from the flash floods for WCCO-TV in 2007, and when we picked a CSA the next year, Rushford seemed like the right thing to do).

We get our beef from StoneBridge Beef in Long Prairie (technically not certified organic, but Farmer Mike goes beyond organic practices, and is Animal Welfare Approved).

When we go to Cub or Byerly's in Maple Grove, we generally buy organic produce and organic meats. It's about doing the right thing for our bodies, and it's a philosophical choice that we are able to afford to spend a little more money in order to do the right thing for the earth. I have no illusions that organic means safer, or even necessarily healthier, but it means fewer chemicals in the earth, in the water, and in our systems.

But with two boys under age six, and a wife who drinks a chai latte every day, we go through at least a gallon of milk every week. Milk isn't cheap. A gallon of skim milk at Cub costs about $2.60. A half-gallon of organic milk is about $4.25. So a gallon comes to $8.50—a 227% increase from the price of the conventional milk!

After years of delay, two weeks ago we made the switch. With advice from Marie Flanagan and an old blog here by Elizabeth Dehn, we decided to have Carter at Simple Provisions deliver us organic milk from Crystal Ball Farms in Osceola, Wisconsin.

Their milk is pasteurized to kill bacteria, but not homogenized. It leaves the cream on top, and may (or may not) be healthier—the scientists seem mixed on that one.

Anyway, since I'm paying $8.50 for two half-gallons of milk, I wanted to know if it tastes different. We drink skim milk in our house. I had my wife put a glass of the milk from Cub, and a glass of milk from Crystal Ball Farms next to each other.

cub millkfarm fresh milkI tasted both.

They tasted the same. I guessed, "This one?" My wife laughed and said, "You picked the wrong one!"

I picked the milk from Cub.

I can't say I was shocked I didn't know the difference—skim milk doesn't really taste like anything, does it? Friends have told me that I can really tell the difference when I go up to 2% milk, so maybe we'll try mixing some of that into our orders.

We also have Larry Schultz Organic Eggs delivered ($4.25/dozen) and Organic Chicken breasts from Schultz ($8.50/pound).

At home we've also been trying the new chicken from Gold 'N Plump, the Just BARE chicken with no added hormones or antibiotics. It's certified by the American Humane Association and the chickens are raised cage-free.

Just BARE is not organic, but it's local, and it's a nice option for people looking to make a move in the right direction accessible at most grocery stores. (Chicken breasts work out to also be about $8.50/pound).

I'm under no illusions that my family's small switch to organic milk is going to charge the world. But I do think small choices that we all make do add up. And if more of us made the switch, more companies would start making milk this way and treating their animals well. That would lower prices, and make it easier for more people to make the change, right?

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Italian-Style Beef Brisket Recipe

You can’t ask for a more comforting dish as the weather turns crisp—plus the leftovers make for great classic French dip beef sandwiches.

Foodie Gifts

Moveable Feast: MnMo editor Rachel Hutton and MPR Classical’s John Birge discuss new local edible gifts and stocking stuffers

Jamie Malone Takes Over the Kitchen at Grand Cafe

It's been two years since Malone left Sea Change with plans to open Brut, but now she's cooking in a resaturant once again
Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

TC Taste answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the TC Taste bloggers.

Have a food-related question? Email rhutton@mnmo.com

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Recent TC Taste Posts

Italian-Style Beef Brisket Recipe

You can’t ask for a more comforting dish as the weather turns crisp—plus the leftovers make for great classic French dip beef sandwiches.

Foodie Gifts

Moveable Feast: MnMo editor Rachel Hutton and MPR Classical’s John Birge discuss new local edible gifts and stocking stuffers

Jamie Malone Takes Over the Kitchen at Grand Cafe

It's been two years since Malone left Sea Change with plans to open Brut, but now she's cooking in a resaturant once again

Three Things to Eat: November 28-December 4

Food critic Joy Summers recommends what to eat and drink around the state this week, including poticia, soup, and wine

New Restaurants at Mall of America

Moveable Feast: MnMo editor Rachel Hutton and MPR Classical's John Birge share new spots to eat during a day of shopping
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags