Is your milk antibiotic and hormone free?
All the milk products from Kalispell Kreamery are 100% free of antibiotics and added hormones. Our cows are completely natural. We have been in the dairy business long enough to know that by treating our cows well they stay healthy and produce plenty of milk for us naturally.
Is your milk raw?
No. Our milk is pasteurized to kill any possible harmful pathogens that may have entered the milk through handling (we are required to do so by state law). Our milk is not homogenized however, allowing the milk and cream to separate. This is called cream-on-top milk. For your information- Milk is perfect when it comes from the cow, it is everything that is done with it afterwards that degrades it (introduces bacteria and such).
Are your cows grass/pasture fed?
Sometimes. All of our heifers are on pasture and are fed free choice grass hay. Every year, each milk cow gets a three month vacation where they are on pasture and free choice grass hay. While being milked they are fed a free choice mixed ration of alfalfa and grain. This insures that they receive all the nutrients they need to produce. Holstein's are bred to produce large volumes of milk and can become malnourished very quickly if they do not receive the proper feed ration. There is a couple reasons that year round pasture feeding does not work for us: We do not have enough pasture to ensure that all 200 milk cows would receive enough food to keep them healthy; Our milk and cows are healthy because we keep everything as clean as possible, mud and limited space does not allow us to keep our cows and milk as clean as we would like; In Montana, there are only 4-5 months (at best) that the cows could utilize pasture, they have to be fed the other 7-8 months out of the year anyway.
How long does your milk last?
We are mandated by the state to have a 12 day sell by date from pasteurization. That is only the sell by date; our milk is good for about 10-15 days after that date. The FDA recommends consuming your milk 7 days after opening. We suggest the sniff test;)
Where are you located?
We are located 4 miles north of West Valley School, off Farm to Market Rd, on Lost Creek Dr. Please see our contact us page for a map.
What is your reduced fat milk?
In an effort to process our milk as little as possible and use as little energy as possible we let gravity do the separating for us, whenever possible. The raw milk separates in the bulk tank and we pull the milk from the bottom when the cream count is around a 1%-2%. Because it is nearly impossible to get exactly a 1% or 2% cream content this way we call it reduced fat.
Is your milk Organic?
No, but we are all natural. There are a couple of reasons we are not "organic". The primary reason we are not organic is that we do not feed our cows organic feed. In an effort to make our milk affordable to everyone, we decided that purchasing high-priced organic feed would make our milk too expensive for everyone to enjoy. We do buy our hay locally. If you read the packaging for most organic milk- it is ultra-pasteurized. We feel that this over processing of the milk degrades the quality of an otherwise perfect food.
Why is there not more cream on top of your milk?
It seems that everyone remembers going out on the doorstep, picking up the glass bottle that the milk man dropped off in the early morning, and seeing the bottle half full of the yummy golden cream they desired for their cereal. In reality, our Holsteins produce 4% butterfat (cream), which is high for Holsteins. If let set to separate completely our milk will show 4% cream (about .5 cup/gallon) and 96% milk. So the answer is- We do not take any cream from the whole milk- it comes straight from the cow to you. Let it set (in the fridge, of course) for over 24 hours to yield the most cream. The longer is sets, the more it separates. This helps explain why cream and butter are so expensive- we only get to use 4% of every gallon to make them. Keep in mind that different cow breeds yield different butterfat percentages, but the average is 4-7%.
Do you offer glass bottles?
We are working on it. We have planned to offer glass bottles from the very beginning; it is just a matter of getting the needed equipment at the right price and working out all the logistics.
Do the cows like to be milked?
Yes. Cows are trained to be milked much like we train dogs to sit or horses to be ridden. We keep the milk barn and process very relaxed, comfortable, and routine so the cows have nothing to fear and are not anxious. The cows willingly go in the milk barn and get milked. We do not use shock sticks or any force on the cows! Cows that are forced, uncomfortable, or scared do not let their milk down and will not go in the barn willingly the next time. It is hard to get a 2,000 lb animal to do something it does not want to. We have milk machines that we put on the cows. They work like a vacuum that massages and sucks the milk out and puts it in a big bulk tank. Many times the cows doze during the whole process. It takes about 20 minutes to milk a cow.
Are there any work opportunities available?
What breed of cows do you have?
We have Holsteins. They are the largest, highest milk volume milk cow, but they do not give a lot of cream. We also have some Brown Swiss to increase bone strength and milk fat.
What is the A1/A2 issue?
Milk is about 85% water. The remaining 15% is the milk sugar lactose, protein, fat, and minerals. The protein portion is 80% casein and 20% whey. Whey does not coagulate or make a curd as the milk acidifies. Beta-casein is 30% of the total protein content in milk, or about 30% of the total protein content in cow’s milk.
A2 beta-casein is the beta-casein form cows have produced since before they were first domesticated, over 10,000 years ago. It is considered safe and nutritious and has no known negative effects on human health. Sometime in the past few thousand years, a natural mutation occurred in some European dairy herds that changed the beta-casein they produced. The gene encoding beta-casein was changed such that the 67th amino acid in the 209 amino acid chain that is the beta-casein protein was switched from proline to histidine. This new kind of beta-casein that was created is known as A1 beta-casein, and is generally more common in many of the big black-and-white cow breeds of European descent such as the Holstein and Friesian. Due to their size, milk production, and demeanor, these breeds of cow are used to produce the vast majority of Northern Europe and America’s milk.
Each cow carries two copies of the gene encoding beta-casein, with a genotype of A1/A1, A1/A2, or A2/A2. Neither the A1 nor A2 trait appears to be dominant, which means that the milk produced by an A1/A2 cow will likely contain equal proportions of A1 and A2 beta-casein. A1/A1 cows will obviously only produce A1 beta-casein, just as A2/A2 cows will only produce A2 beta-casein. While each dairy herd is capable of being quite different from average, a broad characterization of the A1 or A2 genetics of breeds can be made. Northern European black-and-white breeds such as Friesian Holstein usually carry A1 and A2 alleles in equal proportion. Jersey cows and other Southern European breeds probably have about 1/3 A1 and 2/3 A2 genetics. Guernsey cows generally have about 10% A1 and 90% A2 genetics.
The cause for concern with milk containing A1 beta-casein is that the 67th amino acid switch from proline to histidine readily allows a digestive enzyme to cut out a 7 amino acid segment of the protein immediately adjacent to that histidine. When proline is present in that location (as it is in A2 beta-casein), that same segment is either not separated at all or the separation occurs at a very low rate. The 7 amino acid segment that is separated from A1 beta casein is known as beta-casomorphin-7, often abbreviated as BCM-7.
Our herd is dominantly A2 and we are working to keep it that way.
Is your milk GMO free?
One of our most commonly asked questions- Yes, all milk is GMO free. Milk is not an organism and cannot be genetically modified. The feed that cows eat can be, however. We feed our cows all non-GMO feeds, mostly local barley and non-GMO alfalfa.
Is your milk Gluten free?
All milk is gluten free. Gluten refers to wheat products, which milk is not. Our cows are not fed wheat at all.
How do you manage antibiotics in your milk and cow herd?
It is not our standard practice to use antibiotics on our farm. The state monitors and will reject any milk that has antibiotics in it. We believe in preventing infection through sound animal husbandry. The majority of antibiotics used on an average dairy are to treat mastitis. Mastitis is an infection in the udder that all milking mammals can get. We have a strict mastitis prevention, detection and control program that allows us to catch mastitis before it happens. If we do have a case of mastitis we will "dry up" the infected quarter and continue to milk the other three. This gives the infected quarter a chance to clear up naturally and the milk from the other quarters can still be consumed. We do reserve the right to use antibiotics is necessary to save a cows life. We believe it would be cruel to allow a cow to die of an infection when we have the tools to treat her. If a cow is given antibiotics she is taken off the milk string and put on pasture.
Why do I get a bad gallon of milk (before its sale by date) every once and a while?
Please let us know if you do so we can continue to trouble shoot. Sometimes the milk may not be bad. Our milk is a cream-on-top product and it is natural for it to separate. Sometimes this can look "clumpy" but it is still good. Bad "sour" milk will have a strong sour smell and taste bad. There are many reasons that a gallon of milk can turn, even if the rest of the milk from the batch is still good. Some of them include but are not limited to-
- Pinhole or slit in the milk jug
- storage at warmer than 42 degrees for a length of time
- improperly closed lid
- bacteria or contaminant introduced
- It may not be bad, maybe it just needs to be shaken:)
What is pasteurization?
Pasteurization is the process of heating a substance (in this case, milk) up to a temperature that will kill the pathogens (bacteria) that could make you sick. Milk is perfect when it comes from the cow, it is everything we do to it afterwards that contaminates it and leads to the requirement by state law to pasteurize. There are several ways to pasteurize. The three most common are HTST (high temperature, short time), Vat, and Ultra Pasteurization. We use HTST. The milk is heated up to 162 degrees for 15 seconds and cooled down quickly. This pasteurization still allows for cheese making and culture growth in the milk. There are many other food items besides milk that are pasteurized (ie. juice and eggs)
What is Homogenization?
Homogenization is the process of pushing a substance (in this case, milk) through a tight screen at very high pressures to break up all the particles to make them the same size. Milk naturally separates (like oil and water) because the fat globules are larger than the rest of the milk. Breaking them up to the same size allows them to stay suspended in the milk. Homogenizing is a dairy industry standard but is neither required nor beneficial for the milk.
Can I freeze milk?
Yes, you can freeze milk. The cream may be flakey after thawing but it is still fine.
How is your yogurt made?
Our goal for our yogurt is to provide a simple, pure yogurt that has had no additives or unnecessary processing. We start by filling our big vat with whole milk. We heat it up to 180 degrees to denature the proteins, which allow the culture to do its job. Next, the milk is cooled and held at about 110 degrees. The probiotic culture is added at this time. The milk/culture are left to create the yogurt for 6-8 hours. After the yogurt is set we drain out the whey in cheese cloth bags overnight. The next morning the thick yogurt left in the bags (greek yogurt) is put in to the retail containers and sent out for purchasing. The honey is added at packaging time.
How long will the yogurt last?
Our yogurt has a sell by date of 30 days after production. The length of time the yogurt is "good" depends on many variables, but 30 days is a good start.
Where are your products availble?
Please see our list of products here.
What happens to the calf after it is born?
The baby calf stays with the mother for 12-24 hours after it is born. This gives the mother a chance to clean the baby, for it to get up and moving on its own, and a chance to drink "colostrum" (mothers first milk) from the cow. When the calf is ready we give him/her its own little "suite" where we can insure that it stays clean, disease free, and receives its much needed colostrum and milk. The mother cow goes into the milk string where she is happy to be milked. Holstein cows produce far more milk than a calf would ever drink so it is necessary to put them in the milking herd to prevent discomfort and mastitis. Also, we need to sell their milk so we can feed them:) The baby calves do continue to drink their mother's milk until they are weaned, we just milk the cow and feed the milk to them.
What do you do with the bull calves?
Since bull calves do not produce any milk and we can't keep them to reproduce, we sell the bull calves to area farmers.
What do you do with cows that are not being milked anymore?
Every cow here was born here and we have known them since they were born. It is hard for us to say goodbye, but we cannot afford to feed cows that are no longer producing milk. The cows are sent to auction.