Saturday, April 3, 2010

Where's My Milk Come From??

I've been buying organic milk for a LONG time.  Years ago, my father-in-law sent me a report about the integrity of organic milk.

"The Cornucopia Institute's national survey of organic products in the dairy case showcases ethical family farm producers and exposes factory farm producers and brands that threaten to take over organic dairying. With this Web-based rating tool, you can see which brands and dairy products found in your region are produced using the best organic farming practices and ethics. Based on a years research into the organic dairy business, the scorecard rates 68 different organic dairy brands and private-label products."

From that scorecard, I learned which organic dairy products I would buy... and what companies that I wouldn't support.  And while I knew what type of farmers I would support... I never really thought about "where" the farmers lived that I chose to support.  Since January, I've been trying my best to buy local milk from my co-operative food market (Tidal Creek).  Sometimes I would remember to pick up milk when I was there... other times I would forget and purchase Organic Valley at the grocery store.
Then I came across this website: Where Is My Milk From?.   As soon as I saw the website... I grabbed every bit of dairy in my fridge... Milk, Chocolate Milk, 1/2 and 1/2 (all Organic Valley).  I knew that Organic Valley has farmers in the Southeast... so naturally, I assumed (yes, I am aware of the saying ;) ) that all the dairy products I had purchased came from the Southeast.  WRONG!!  I could hardly believe it when Minnesota, New York and Ohio popped up for the codes that I entered.

SO... for the past month I have only been purchasing local... North Carolina... milk.  Sure, it takes a little more planning on my part since Tidal Creek isn't as convenient as the grocery store a few miles from my home.  BUT I'm feeling great about my decision because:

I'm supporting North Carolina farmers!!
The distance from farm to table is SO much shorter :)
Reusable glass bottles... I pay a $2 deposit that I get back when I RETURN the bottle.
I'm REUSING, which means that I have less in my recycle bin.

On a side note, I should say that we don't really use that much milk.  Partly, because I have my "issues" with the dairy industry.  Over the past several months, I've been using a lot of dairy alternatives that I will share shortly :)