Fresh locally-sourced milk is a vital yet ephemeral food with a nutritional quality that depends largely on the distance it must travel before it reaches your table. The milk of most nationally-distributed brands are shipped long distances and heat treatments are used to avoid spoilage during transport. This ends up significantly undermining both the taste and nutritional value of the milk.
Like meat, milk is also a reflection of the diet and health of the animal from which it is sourced. Sadly, the vast majority of the milk available on most American supermarket shelves today is sourced from enormous mega-dairies where tens of thousands of cows are confined in containment barns and fed on pesticide-laden genetically-modified grains.
Due to these unhealthy and crowded conditions, these stressed and unhealthy animals must be protected from rampant infection with mega-doses of antibiotics.
Fortunately, there are some dairies left in the U.S. that still put authentic organic values behind their products. While prices of their goods are naturally higher they also accurately reflect the true cost of a wholesome and humane animal-based product.
In Northern California among the cream of the crop of organic dairies selling pasteurized milk, and certainly the one with the broadest reach, is Sonoma County’s Straus Family Creamery.
A pioneer in both the movement for food transparency and against genetic modification, the family-run dairy is also deeply committed to sustainable production methods. They grow much of their own feed, utilize recycled glass bottles, and generate the bulk of their power from a methane-digester located directly on their farm.