The production of quality milk is simple: it requires cattle kept healthy on fine pastures and milked in a sanitary and hygienic manner and the milk cooled as quickly as possible. If the milk is not contaminated in any way, and is kept well chilled 38F or less, it should keep for at least 2 weeks.
Milk from healthy cows has long been regarded as a health food. Modern science is finally confirming what most cultures have known since ancient times: that animals eating fresh, living herbage and grass will yield a milk that is loaded with nutrients. Cattle convert beta carotene into Vitamins A, D and E, and their milk also has high content of Omega 3 fatty acids as well as Conjugated Linoleic Acids. Most of these phyto-nutrients are fat soluble and reside in the fat component of the milk – the cream. Cattle fed on reserved or harvested feeds will yield a less nutritious milk. What the cattle are eating, as well as the herd’s place on their lactation curve, will change the milk character and components. The type of cattle and what they are eating will also determine the character of the milk.
The Ayrshire breed originated in County Ayr, Scotland, in the eighteenth century. Adapted to Scotland’s rocky terrain and long winters, it is also an ideal New England cow. Ayrshire cows are efficient grazers and producers of high-protein, medium-fat milk. As such, they are ideally suited to grass-fed dairying operations and to cheese production. Their milk is regarded as the most easily digested of all cattle, having what is known as a “soft curd,” as well as being the most naturally homogenous, since the fat molecules of their milk are the smallest of all dairy cattle. The cream is slow to rise. Allow a full 8 hours undisturbed if you want to separate the cream.
We milk our herd year round. In spring, summer, and fall we practice intensive rotational grazing, providing the cows with lush new pasture every day.* In winter months they eat hay that we grow. Depending on the season we may buy in some hay from other local farmers to get us through the winter. Cows in the milking string receive a supplemental quantity of conventional dairy ration when they come in at milking time. We bottle milk daily in returnable half-gallon glass bottles and in plastic gallon, half-gallon, and quart jugs. Our milk is produced for raw sale only and does not require pasteurization. Click here to read more about the benefits of raw milk. It is also free of artificial growth hormones, additives, and antibiotics. In accordance with Massachusetts state law, our milk is produced under rigorous sanitation guidelines and is for sale only at the farm.
Our milk makes excellent cheeses, yogurt, kefir, butter, and ice cream. Checkout our Recipes page for more details. The state of Massachusetts does not permit the sale of raw cream. However, every gallon of milk comes with approximately 2 cups of cream on top. There are numerous ways to skim milk. You may simply wait for the cream to rise (at least 8 hours undisturbed) and pour off the “top milk”, however this cream will not be pure enough to whip or make into butter. You may also transfer your milk into a wide mouth container and ladle it off the top as was done traditionally out of milk cans. Or, the most efficient method to separate out of a narrow mouthed jug is to siphon it with a piece of tubing. Insert a long tube fully into the jug, plug the end with the thumb, then draw the tube full of milk out and lower it below the bottom of the jug, and release into another vessel, drawing off the skim from below.
Raw, un-homogenized milk, as long as it is produced in a clean environment, is more digestible, nutritious, and delicious than regular milk. We believe our milk is by far the most important food we produce at Upinngil. It is the most significantly superior to what can be obtained at a grocery store. Our customers tell us that once their children have tried it, they can never go back to store-bought. And many customers have believed themselves lactose-intolerant for years – until they tried our milk! You may purchase milk at the Farm Store any day of the week, 8 AM to 7 PM. If you need a large amount of milk (more than 5 gallons), please call ahead.
*Click here to read a current scientific article documenting how intensive rotational grazing sequesters carbon at a rate that completely offsets the greenhouse gas emissions of the cattle.