So you’ve heard Hudson Valley Fresh produces quality milk, but what does that mean? How do you produce quality milk, and more importantly, how do you maintain that premium quality all the way from the cow to your cereal bowl? We are very proud and excited to share our most recent third party audit results below, and coupled with our unmatched milk quality standards for our farmers, it’s clear that we continue to show Hudson Valley Fresh is all about quality.
Milk quality is what we’ve built our company around, is what our farmers work tirelessly to maintain, and is what our processing team monitors obsessively. It’s all about quality, objective, black and white, “look at the data,” quality.
What Milk Quality Looks like on the Farm
Quality milk starts with a quality diet for our Hudson Valley Fresh cows. They eat a variety of high quality oats, alfalfa, barley, soybeans, and corn silage. About 65% of their diet consists solely of homegrown forage! All this hay helps the cows immune system which helps her produce more omega-3 fatty acids in the milk, which makes a better quality cream. Our farmers also strive to keep our cows comfortable and their udders clean, which further contributes to a proven, higher quality milk.
How do farmers make sure their milk adheres to the Hudson Valley Fresh quality standards? Every month our farmers test each individual cow through the Dairy Herd Information Association (DHIA) for SSC or somatic cell counts which are white blood cells in the milk. Elevated levels of SCC’s in the milk indicate infection in the udder, and they measure the cows overall well being. Hudson Valley Fresh farms are under 200,000 per mL, while the legal limit in the U.S is 750,000 cells per mL.
The common range for our farms is 45,000 to 160,000 cells per mL. The low somatic cell counts make a more flavorful, higher quality milk. Our farmers go above and beyond to make sure their cows are healthy and produce the highest quality milk!
What Milk Quality Looks like at the Bottling Facility
Hudson Valley Fresh Dairy has a third party audit performed annually. This audit consists of an outside company that comes into our facility and evaluates our documentation and protocols, and lets us know how our team can continue to improve in all different areas of dairy processing. This is above and beyond what is required by state and federal guidelines, and in addition to the testing done by our state regulator.
Our processing team regularly does ample in-house testing in addition to sending out finished product samples to a third party lab every single week. This is to ensure we are consistently producing a high quality product. Some of the in-house tests we perform are for butterfat levels and for antibiotics, as state law regulates that ALL milk (organic or not) MUST test negative for antibiotics prior to bottling.
Even though we have one of the oldest milk processing facilities in New York State, our quality team is exceptional at operating at a high caliber level when it comes to proven quality results. Our farmers are very appreciative for their efforts, and extremely proud to report that…
our 2024 audit score was a 98.99 out of 100!
Factors contributing to a high score in a third party audit such as this would be a clean production facility, properly trained employees, and the assurance that on site plant personnel and management have a basic understanding of day to day operation from start to finish. Every member of our team, including the farmers, the truck drivers, and the bottling team – all are deserving of recognition for contributing to this tremendous continued success!
Where You Can Find our Quality Milk & How You Can Support
Check out our Store Locator and type in your Zip Code and find the nearest retail location carrying Hudson Valley Fresh. Don’t see your favorite store on the list? Feel free to tell the store manager you want to see our premium, local dairy on the shelf!
We are proud of our team, our cows, and the work we do — but none of it would be possible without you! Thank you for appreciating all the hard work that goes into producing a premium product, and enjoying our products in your home or business.