One item that is always on my shopping list is MILK. I never want to run out, so I always have an extra 1/2 gallon or two out in our garage fridge. After all, it’s the fuel to get me started in the morning! I drink a cup of coffee with tons of milk. My husband teases me that it is really coffee-milk, and I can’t disagree, considering I have about equal parts of coffee and milk in my cup.
Milk is one item that I strictly purchase organic for my family. Many years ago, I learned about the differences between standard milk versus organic. Once I was equipped with that knowledge, it made me realize buying organic (although more expensive) was well worth it for my family. At Organic Valley farms, animals are raised without hormones or antibiotics, and nothing they eat has ever been sprayed with harsh pesticides. This adds up to longer, more natural lives for their cows and pure, wholesome milk I feel good about serving to my loved ones. I purchase Organic Valley milk at Giant Eagle Market District and it’s available at other grocery stores in Columbus. Use this product locator to see where!
Organic Valley is a cooperative made up of small family farms. In the Great Lakes Region (Ohio, Michigan and Indiana), there are 400 local organic farms. The entire Gasser Family works together on their farm in Sterling to help ensure families in our area have high-quality milk options produced in Ohio.
At factory farms, they can have herds of thousands of cows. At Organic Valley, the average herd is only 78. The smaller herds allow for a lot of TLC. The farmers care deeply about the care of their cows and know their personalities and quirks. Therefore, it’s not uncommon for Organic Valley farmers to name their cows and call them by name, just like kids name their pets.
These farmers have a true passion for their job and it shows. In fact, the farmers you see on the Organic Valley milk cartons throughout the Great Lakes area are real farmers.
Keeping food close to home makes a difference on many levels.
Happy Cows Make Happy Milk
Like so many of us feel rejuvenated and energized after spending time outside, cows like it too! Organic Valley cows are outside 50 percent more than the organic standard leading to happier, healthier cows and better milk. In addition, these cows have lots of acres to roam, which results in more steps than most humans get each day.
As parents, we know the benefits of play help children learn, grow, and thrive. Cows appreciate playing too! Organic Valley farmers work hard to create an environment where animals can freely express their natural behaviors – like grazing, roaming, and playing on pasture.
Organic Valley Products
In addition to milk, Organic Valley has other products such as cheese, sour cream, butter and more. Use their store locator to determine which products are available, as it varies by store.
As a bonus, Organic Valley has an entire section of their website filled with lots of recipes to try! I love that there is a photo of each item (I need a visual of what I’m making!), ingredients listed with pictures, simple steps and time to prep and prepare.
Using Milk For Other Drinks
It’s essential I ensure my children get enough calcium in their diet to build strong bones. As they’ve grown, they’ve evolved from drinking a glass of milk at meals to wanting other drinks made with milk, such as milkshakes and smoothies, which we make regularly.
My daughter is ten, and we enjoy making smoothies together. Smoothies are easy enough for her to prepare independently, which is great for when she wants a quick snack, but I am in the middle of something else.
We have tried a lot of smoothie varieties, but one of our favorites is adding frozen bananas, a few blueberries, sliced strawberries, yogurt, ice cubes and some milk and blending it all together. We never really measure out our ingredients but just wing it. Check out this post for other smoothie recipes and tips!