Most of us have been there. Standing at the dairy case and comparing milk prices, then wondering if it’s worth spending the extra bit of money for organic. Wonder no more.
A Washington State University study has confirmed the benefits of organic milk, finding that “organic milk contains significantly higher concentrations of heart-healthy fatty acids compared to milk from cows on conventionally managed dairy farms. While all types of milk fat can help improve an individual’s fatty acid profile, the team concludes that organic whole milk does so even better.”
Why? The short answer is that cows on organic dairy farms are pasture raised and spend their days outside grazing on a variety of grasses and legumes, and they are raised hormone and antibiotic free. As compared to conventionally raised cows that spend their days in barns, or otherwise confined, are fed a diet high in corn and soy (both at high risk to be GMO), and are treated with large doses of antibiotics and hormones.
The resulting human health benefits from organic milk include 62 percent more healthy omega-3 fatty acids, including ALA which is an omega-3 that cannot be found in fish, and 25 percent fewer omega-6s (unhealthy fats found in disproportionately high levels in the American diet). You may also want to note that many nutritionists now recommend whole milk, rather than 2 percent or skim, as it provides more beneficial omega-3s since skimming off the milk fat also skims off the omega-3s.
Even our environment benefits from organic milk, because of the careful stewardship of organic dairy farmers who maintain healthy pastures free of GMO crops, persistent pesticides, and synthetic fertilizers.
The Co-op carries two high-quality brands of organic milk, Organic Valley and Fresh Breeze Organic. Organic Valley is a nationwide dairy cooperative. In the Northwest region 27 farms provide milk to the cooperative. Among them are Hans and Colleen Wolfisberg, owners of Edelweiss Dairy and Organic Valley members since 2005. Some of you may have visited their picturesque 80-acre farm along the Nooksack River in Everson during a recent Whatcom County Farm Tour. Another local Organic Valley farmer is Andrew Dykstra, one of the first dairy farms in Skagit County to earn organic certification and join the Organic Valley cooperative.
The Co-op’s other brand of organic milk comes from Fresh Breeze Organic Dairy, a fifth-generation Lynden dairy farm located on property homesteaded by the family in 1901. They bottle their organic milk right on the farm—and it doesn’t get any fresher than that.
So, here’s to your health—and to the health of dairy cows and our environment. Enjoy some peace of mind knowing that the benefits you reap from purchasing organic milk far outweigh the small extra expense.