There was a dark time in my life. Beckett was about seven-weeks old and nursing. Her nursing behaviors and chronic tummy pain gave the appearance of a milk allergy and in an attempt to figure out if this was true, I went off dairy completely for almost four weeks. It was horrible. I missed cheese like I would my arm. I was lost without my morning breakfast of yogurt and granola (a must have combo!). And, I desperately, in the worst way – wanted a glass a milk. Just one. The dark cloud lifted when it became clear her tummy troubles were a bad case of acid-reflux and not milk intolerance. Bring on the dairy!
We are big milk drinking family. It’s the drink of choice at all three meals and our consumption averages about 3 gallons a week – for 2-1/2 people. We purchase our organic milk in gallons, because like most products, the larger the quantity, the cheaper the price. But, this meant that an endless stream of plastic milk jugs was making its way into our recycle bins. With great effort, I began looking for alternatives.
Half-gallon cartons that are compostable were no match pricewise.
And, glass-bottled milk wasn’t stamped “organic”.
But, this glass-bottled milk was local. Like ten-miles-from-my-house-local. That meant I could talk to the dairy farmers. And, visit the farm. And, touch the cows. And, see the bottling process.
Quite a few months ago, I had the most wonderful conversation with Larry Stap, co-owner of Twin Brook Creamery in Lynden, Washington. We talked for almost an hour and I peppered him with an endless stream of questions.
- Why are you not organic?
- Do you process and handle all the milk on site?
- What does non-homogenized mean?
- Why is your chocolate milk the best stuff on earth (I’m not kidding – it literally is)?
- What kind of cows do you have?
- How do you treat your cows?
- How do you process and pasteurize your milk?
- How fresh is your milk?
You get the idea…
The key question was: Why should I buy your milk?
I don’t need to be sold on glass bottles for milk. I love them. They are a perfect alternative to one-use milk cartons and petroleum-based plastic milk jugs. And, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to swooning with the nostalgic feel of a glass bottle. I just needed to be sold on the milk.
Well, Larry did it – hook, line, sinker.
The mission of Twin Brook Creamery is to “glorify God through the stewardship of the soil and animals He has entrusted to our care, in the best possible way.” Their herd of Jersey cows grazes in farm fields nourished and fertilized with only the natural schtuff (excrement) they drop along the way. The single factor that prevents them from obtaining a “certified organic” license is their willingness to administer antibiotics to an ill calf. Larry has observed that happy, free-range cows that subsist on a natural diet are inherently healthy. In the past three years, he has only had one sick calf.
The people behind the dairy and the glass bottles are just the beginning. Twin Brook Creamery makes “Cream Top Milk” – or non-homogenized. Huh? In layman’s terms, the milk’s fat has not been permanently separated through processing. What’s that mean? When you pick up the bottle, there will be a layer of fat at the top. With a vigorous shake, the fat globules break up and distribute into the milk. This loose fat makes for incredibly rich whipped cream that stiffens in seconds, egg nog that begs for a splash of rum and the most incredibly divine chocolate milk you have EVER drank. If I could ship you some, I would.
The milk has been pasteurized, but does not display the moniker “Ultra-Pasteurized” like most big-name brands. The basic principle of pasteurization is to heat the milk until harmful bacteria is killed. With ultra-pasteurization – it is boiled to the point of burning and in Larry’s words, “is no longer milk. It doesn’t have the delicious properties of milk.” Twin Brook Creamery’s milk is gently heated over a long period and its freshness preserved in the glass bottles.
With one glass, you can taste the difference between “Cream Top Milk” and your other plastic jug brands. My conversation with Larry was an example of why I love this local thing. Everything I need to know about Twin Brook Creamery milk I learned from talking to the man behind the process and it was so much more than any green “Organic” label could have provided. It tastes like farm fresh milk – not some glorified whitish water. It’s good. And, I’m gonna hit you with the chocolate milk thing again, too – this product alone makes it worth trying Twin Brook Creamery.
Twin Brook Creamery •Lynden, WA • 360-354-4105 firstname.lastname@example.org