Better Milk, Better Latte!
When a five-star restaurant prepares a dish, they take great pride in carefully sourcing ingredients, selecting only the finest inputs to create a delicious meal. For coffee shops, the attention to detail should be the same! Do you know where your milk comes from?
Lattes generally consist of 60 mL of espresso and 300 mL of steamed milk – that’s a lot of milk! At Hudson Valley Fresh, we proudly produce award-winning milk for customers who value the principle at the core of our farmer-owned cooperative: quality.
Dairy quality is objective, factual, and highly tested. Every trailer of milk that leaves the farm is tested for quality. You measure dairy quality via leukocytes, or somatic cell counts. Just like humans, when a pathogen or infection is present, cows white blood cell levels rise. A lower somatic cell count (SCC) level therefore indicates better animal health.
The legal limit of SCC to sell milk in the United States is 750,000 cells/mL – all ten of our family farms had to demonstrate verified quality tests under 200,000 cells/mL for an entire year before being accepted into Hudson Valley Fresh, and today, our farms are averaging 130,000-150,000 cells/mL. That’s just a fraction of what is “allowed.” Truly, quality isn’t an incentive for our farmers, either, it’s a standard. If a tank of milk does not meet our strict quality standards, it is not bottled under the Hudson Valley Fresh label.
Our ten family farms win annual regional milk quality awards, and several have gone on to win “Super Milk” and even National Dairy Quality awards – one of our farms, Tollgate Holsteins, has been recognized as one of the Top 6 Herds in the Country a total of SIX TIMES. How do we do it? Attention to detail, cleanliness, focusing on cow comfort, and feeding high forage diets. Our farmers take great pride in the quality of the product they produce, and work hard with their families to produce a safe, nutritious, high quality product that other families may enjoy too.
A lower somatic cell count doesn’t just mean healthier cows, it also means a higher quality, creamier product. When cows are healthy, comfortable, and low-stressed they give off a higher quality, sweeter milk. Our whole milk contains more naturally-occuring Omega-3’s than other commercial milks, with no need for synthetics! Recent research has shown numerous benefits for this very important fatty acid.
Why else is our milk ideal for baristas? Our whole milk is not ultra-pasteurized and non-standardized, meaning it is >4% butterfat, just as the cows produce it! Pasteurization is the heating of milk to kill off any potential bacteria. From a food and consumer safety standpoint, all milk being sold off the farm must be pasteurized. At Hudson Valley Fresh we minimally pasteurize – meaning we heat milk to 145 degrees F for 30 minutes – for a farm fresh taste instead of heating it to higher temperatures in order to extend shelf life.
Because of the forage rich diets, how we manage our cows, and the unique blend of all five major breeds of dairy cattle, Hudson Valley Fresh whole milk is naturally creamier than most commercial whole milks, which by definition must contain at least 3.25% butterfat. Rather than skimming off what we don’t “need” to keep in the milk, we pass along the rich, nutritious >4% butterfat whole milk to our customers exactly as the cows produced it.
Whether it’s some cream in your morning cup of coffee or whole milk used for creating incredible latte art, we are so appreciative of all our customers out there who care about quality, who care about where the farms are, who care about supporting local, family owned and operated farms and who recognize and appreciate the #hudsonvalleyfresh difference!
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Check out this beautiful latte art using Hudson Valley Fresh milk!