One of the cornerstones of our product line is our exclusive Guernsey milk. Farmer Edward Keim of Wilmot has a small herd of about 30 Guernsey cows. The Guernsey cow is a smaller breed of dairy cow known for its rich, golden colored milk. The milk is high in protein and butterfat, making it also ideal for artisan cheese making (which is what our friends at Marchant Manor use).
Edward grazes his cows on pasture all growing season and grows his own non-gmo corn, beans, and hay for winter feeds. In years past, we had offered farm tours and Edward's was a perennial stop. Those who attended likely milked these beautiful ladies and saw first-hand the care that Edward has for his cows.
A2A2 Beta Casein
One of the important aspects of our Guernsey milk is that Edward's herd is exclusively A2A2. What that means is that one of the milk proteins, beta casein, is of the A2A2 orientation. The easiest way to think about this is that the protein can have two configurations, let's say a right hand (A1) and a left hand (A2). A2 is the original orientation found in older genetics; A1 is a variation found in more modern dairy breeds. The protein's makeup can be that of A1A1, A1A2, or A2A2. The A2A2 is known to be easier to digest for humans.
Why is this important? Many consumers think they are lactose intolerant. Lactose is milk sugar. But what could be happening is that the consumer is actually beta casein intolerant, causing inflammation in the body. We have many customers who previously couldn't drink milk until they had the A2A2 milk.
The Cream Rises to the Top, and some insight into homogenization
Milk often goes through two processes - homogenization & pasteurization.
Homogenization simply means the milk is processed so that the milk solids - mostly the fat - are evenly suspended in the milk by making them smaller than they naturally are. This makes for a smoother product.
However, it also means that the fat - now a smaller globule - can more easily pass into the bloodstream without digestion. These un-naturally sized fat globules are now released into the body in such a way that the same amount of fat now acts as if it is much more. Think about surface area here. If you sit a bowling ball and a tennis ball on a table, which touches the table more? They are both the same. But, to achieve the same amount of displacement (volume), it takes many tennis balls to equal the volume of a bowling ball. Those many tennis balls now have more surface area in contact with the body.
When searching the web, you'll find all kinds of claims, often backed up with a statement that scientific data isn't conclusive to the link between homogenized dairy and cancer or heart disease. I can tell you from farming, there are so many variables to control in a living creature's environment that pinpointing one culprit is near impossible.
What I can tell you with certainty though is, if it isn't broke, don't fix it. Cream has risen to the top of milk for millennia. I'm A-OK with that.
The words "Ultra Pasteurized" can be really misleading. To me, "ultra" sounds better, but it's not.
Pasteurization is the process of heating milk to kill harmful bacteria. There are three common ways to do this:
1) Vat Pasteurization - warm the milk to 161 degrees gently, think of a crock pot
2) HTST - high temp, short time. Bring the milk up rapidly to 161 degrees or more for at least 15 seconds to pasteurize.
3) UHT - ultra high temp or ultra pasteurized, bringing the milk up to between 275 and 300 degrees for 1 second to kill everything in the milk
Vat Pasteurized and HTST kills the harmful bacteria but still preserves many of the good enzymes that aid in the digestion of milk. One particularly important enzyme is xanthine oxidase, which aids in building the good flora of the gut, is preserved in vat pasteurization but is 100% killed in UHT (ultra) pasteurization.
In short, we feel that vat pasteurization is the healthiest option we have for pasteurizing milk.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids and CLAs
I don't want to sound like I'm hitting the buzz words now, but milk from grass grazed mammals is high in Omega 3 fatty acids and 500% higher in CLAs than those not grazed on grass. As a result, we suggest drinking the whole milk for both flavor and health. Remember, not all fat is created equally, and in this case, the fat of grass grazed guernsey milk is superior.