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Know your milk terms part 3: Vitamins and minerals

Milk is known for calcium and vitamin D but a glass of milk contains many more vitamins and minerals that are essential for good health. Vitamins and minerals play a large role in key body functions. Milk is packed with the vitamins and minerals that keep help keep these functions running in tip-top shape.

Vitamins

Milk contains both water soluble and fat soluble vitamins. These water soluble vitamins include thiamin (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B12, vitamin C, niacin and folate. Milk is a good source of thiamin, riboflavin and vitamin B12. Thiamin is helps convert carbohydrates into energy. Riboflavin works with other B vitamins and is important to red blood cell production and body growth. Vitamin B12 is plays a key role in brain and nervous system function. The amount of niacin in milk is relatively smallWhile milk does contain the other vitamins listed above, it is not considered a major source of these vitamins in the diet since milk contains small amount of each.

In addition to water soluble vitamins, milk is a good source of vitamin D and vitamin A. It does contain vitamins E and K but in relatively small amounts. All milk is fortified with vitamin D. Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption. Milk also contains Vitamin A but reduced fat (2% milk), low-fat (1% milk) and skim milk must be fortified with Vitamin A to be reach the Vitamin A content of whole milk. Vitamins A is needed for growth and development, immune system support and good vision.

Minerals

We all know milk to be a good source of calcium but milk contains other minerals too. Milk is a good source of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and zinc. Calcium and phosphorus are the two major minerals in milk and are responsible for bone growth and maintenance. Other minerals like zinc and selenium help with immune system function while potassium helps nerves and muscles run correctly as well as fluid balance.

Summer on Our Farms

Summer is always a busy time on the farm. There’s hay to be made, events hosted, all on top of every day chores. Here are some pictures of what’s been going on at our dairies.

Sassy Cow Cow Friends
Our cows are enjoying the pasture life.
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We have new babies born everyday. This sweet girl is a Brown Swiss.
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With the recent warm weather, the corn has really grown!

 

Sassy Cow in new barn
Our dry cows at our organic farm are enjoying their new barn.
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Hay is made about three times per year on both farms. This cropped hay will become cow food for the upcoming year.
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This is the tractor we use to cut the hay.
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Some dry cows at our traditional dairy hang out in the shade on the first day of summer.

Interested in coming to visit? Contact Mara at 608-837-7766 or mara@sassycowcreamery.com.

 

12 Fun Cow Facts for June Dairy Month

Happy June Dairy Month! Around here, June is one of our favorite months because the weather starts getting nice, we host events and we get to celebrate a whole month devoted to dairy!

To kick off June Dairy Month, here are 12 fun cow facts you may not have known.

  1. Cows are social animals and naturally form herds. Within the herd they have friends as well as cows they avoid.
  2. Cows have one stomach with four digestive compartments: the rumen, reticulum, omasum and abomasum.
  3. The average cow drinks about 30 gallons of water per day.
  4. A cow’s heart beats between 60 and 70 beats per minute.
  5. An average dairy cow weighs about 1,200 pounds. But their weight and size will vary with breed.
  6. There are six main breeds of dairy cows: Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Holstein, Jersey and Milking Shorthorn.
  7. Most dairy animals have their first calf when they are 2 years old; this is when they start producing milk.
  8. Just like people, cows are pregnant for 9 months.
  9. When a calf is born, it can weigh 80-120 pounds. The average Holstein calf is about 100 pounds at birth.
  10. Cows have a great sense of smell and can detect scent from roughly 6 miles away.
  11. The average cow will eat about 100 pounds of feed per day.
  12. Cows have 32 teeth, 8 incisors on the bottom front and then 6 molars on the top and bottom. Cows have no top front teeth.

Keep an eye on our Facebook page for more cow facts as the month of June progresses.

Dairy Goodness: The differences between whole, 2%, 1% and skim milk

What type of milk do you drink? Is it whole, 2 percent, 1 percent or skim? Some prefer 1 percent or skim because of the texture while others drink whole milk for the extra energy from fat. We each have different reasons why we choose the milk we do. Some of it is nutrition-based while the some reasons are flavor based. Below are the main differences between all fat levels in milk.

All milk is a good source of vitamins and minerals as well as protein. Across the board, each milk contains 8 grams of protein for serving and 13 grams of carbohydrates, 12 of which come from natural milk sugar lactose.

Whole Milk

Whole milk is noted by it red labels and caps. It’s also referred to as Vitamin D milk. Vitamin D is added to all milk to help with the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in the bones and teeth. Whole milk has 8 grams of total fat with 5 grams being saturated fat. New research points toward advantages in consuming full fat dairy for some people. In some, the consumption of full fat dairy reduced the risk for obesity and diabetes. Researchers are still trying to figure out the why behind this. Some people just prefer whole milk because of the consistency and flavor.

Nutrition facts

Fat: 8 grams

Cholesterol: 35 mg

Protein: 8 grams

Carbohydrates: 13g, sugar, 12 g

Calcium: 30%

Vitamin D: 25%

Vitamin A: 10%

 

2% Milk

Two percent milk is probably the most common milk consumed in the U.S. Two percent is known as reduced-fat milk because some of the fat is skimmed out. Two percent is named after its milk fat percentage. Whole milk is generally has a 3.5 to 4 percent butterfat content. Since 2 percent has some fat skimmed out, it now has a 2 percent fat content. Fat content over all is just 3 grams less than that of whole milk giving two percent a total fat of 5 grams with 3 grams of saturated fat.

Nutrition facts

Fat: 5 grams

Cholesterol: 20 mg

Protein: 3 grams

Carbohydrates: 13g, sugar, 12 g

Calcium: 30%

Vitamin D: 25%

Vitamin A: 10%

 

1% Milk

Known as low-fat milk, 1 percent is the next fat level as we move down the line. With half the amount of fat of 2 percent, 1 percent milk has 2.5 grams of total fat and 1.5 grams of saturated fat. This type of milk is most commonly served in schools and is used in the making of chocolate milk for both grocery and schools.

Nutrition facts

Fat: 2.5 grams

Cholesterol: 15 mg

Protein: 3 grams

Carbohydrates: 13g, sugar, 12 g

Calcium: 30%

Vitamin D: 25%

Vitamin A: 10%

 

Skim Milk                                             

Skim milk is non-fat milk containing 0 grams of fat. The fat (cream) that is skimmed off from this milk as well as 1 and 2 percent are used here to make ice cream. Skim milk is a great choice for those with dietary restrictions or those who prefer a less rich consistency.

Nutritional Facts

Fat: 0 grams

Cholesterol: 0 mg

Protein: 3 grams

Carbohydrates: 13g, sugar, 12 g

Calcium: 30%

Vitamin D: 25%

Vitamin A: 10%

At the end of the day, there’s no wrong choice when it comes to the milk you buy! You need to decide which fat level works best for you and your family. Whether you need the extra fat from whole milk, or get fats from other places in your diet, milk is always a healthy staple in your diet.

 

Have questions about our milk? Feel free to give us a call at 608-837-7766.

How we care for calves: Our traditional farm

Birth is one of the most exciting times on the dairy. It’s also one of the most critical. Like newborn human babies, calves are more susceptible to diseases, require first milk (colostrum) and need extra care. Each of our farms takes special precautions and care with all calves, from birth to weaning.

In this post we will discuss how the traditional farm cares for calves from birth until they are weaned. Jenny Baerwolf cares for all of the calves on the traditional farm.

What happens after a cow has the baby?

Jenny: After calving, the cow and calf stay in the newborn pen until the cow leaves to get milked.  The calf is then taken to the calf barn. In the winter, calves are placed immediately into the warming hut and in the summer they are taken to a clean, new pen in the calf barn.

Maternity pen
Our calves are born in the maternity pen. This is similar to the floor at a hospital where babies are born.

What are the babies fed?

Jenny: Each calf is given 1 gallon of its mother’s colostrum at birth. If mom doesn’t give a gallon we use a colostrum replacer. We then skip the next feeding. Our calves are fed milk replacer and are fed twice a day, at 5 a.m. and 5 p.m., 365 days a year. They drink a 1/2 gallon of milk replacer at each meal and they always have clean, fresh water available. At 10 days of age I introduce grain, they are also trained to drink their milk out of a pail.

Another aspect to raising healthy calves is consistency, consistency. Cows are like big cats, they are creatures of habit. Calves like to be fed at the same time everyday, with the same amount of milk and at the same temperature of 104 degrees.

calf barn
This is our calf barn. The panels that separate the calves make it so calves aren’t in one big group but babies can still socialize with one another. Notice that these calves are wearing jackets. This picture was taken during winter time when calves need extra warmth.

How do you keep calves comfortable?

Jenny: I strongly believe having fresh, clean water available to my calves at ALL times is one of the secrets to raising strong, healthy calves. Also, we use lots of straw for bedding. The babies like to snuggle up in the straw and sleep. It is very important to keep the calf’s hair coat dry and clean. It keeps them insulated.

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This calf is snuggled into her straw. Straw is the best kind of bedding for calves because it keeps them dry and warm.

When are the calves weaned?

Jenny: Typically, I wean at 6 to 8 weeks of age. The calves are are moved to a group pen; we have three weaning pens. Their pen is a large open area with two feeders, a hayrack ( they get hay for the first time at weaning) and a water tank.

Calves are very demanding! They are born on our farm 24/7, 365 days a year, there are a lot of them and they very challenging to raise, but I LOVE THEM! They are the future of our farm, now who wouldn’t want to invest in that!

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This Brown Swiss calf is munching away on her calf grain, which is a mixture of corn, pelleted grains and molasses.

Stay tuned to learn about how we care for our calves on our organic farm.

Have questions about how our calves are raised? Feel free to contact us at 608-837-7766 or mara@sassycowcreamery.com.

Know your milk terms part 1: Pasteurization and homogenization

There’s a lot of information on a milk label. The brand of milk, the fat content, where it was bottled. In know your milk terms, we will cover some of the terms that are found on our milk label.

Pasteurization

Pasteurization is the method used to kill bacteria in milk and was introduced by scientist Louis Pasteur in the late 1800s. While milk in the cow’s udder is sterile, bacteria can hang out in the teat and on milking equipment and end up in the milk, even with proper cleaning.

These bacteria can cause illness if not destroyed. Pasteurization works by using heat and time to kill the bacteria. The most common type of pasteurization is known as high temperature, short time (HTST), where milk is heated to at least 161 degrees for 15 seconds. This is what we use here at our creamery.

Another type that is gaining popularity is known as ultra pasteurization or UHT. Many organic milks are pasteurized using this type, giving it longer shelf life. Our organic milk uses the same method of pasteurization as our traditional milk, HTST.

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Our creamery. This is where our milk is pasteurized and homogenized before being bottled.

Homogenization

The majority of milk in the U.S. is homogenized, meaning the fat is formed into smaller globules so they are suspended evenly throughout the milk. This makes the milk very uniform. Milk that is not homogenized will have a “cream top” since fat will separate out from the rest of the milk and rise to the top. Nothing is added or removed from the milk in this process.

Stay tuned for “Know you milk terms” part 2!

Have questions about our milk? Feel free to contact us at 608-837-7766 or mara@sassycowcreamery.com.

Dairy Goodness: The Power of Protein

Milk is often referred to as “nature’s most perfect food.” It has carbohydrates, essential vitamins and minerals, quality fats and of course protein.

But did you know milk contains 8 grams of protein per 1 cup serving? That’s more protein per serving than in one medium egg, three slices of bacon or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter; foods traditionally hailed for their protein content.

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It’s been widely accepted by health professionals that quality protein helps curb hunger and aids in weight loss. Not to mention protein is the building block for muscle growth and regeneration. New research suggests that consuming quality protein at breakfast may be the best time to eat it. Breakfast is generally a meal heavier on carbohydrates than protein but adding an 8 ounce glass of milk to the meal can easily help accomplish your daily requirement. This also helps keep you fuller longer and you consume fewer calories throughout the day.
Daily requirements will vary from person to person and how active you are. Since the body can only use so much protein at a time, consuming a consistent amount at each meal is the best way to optimize how the body uses protein. To find your daily protein requirement and to learn more, visit the Milk Life website.

Here is an easy and healthy recipe to get your day started with milk!

Recipe

Overnight oats are an easy, healthy and hearty breakfast. Pair with a large hard-boiled egg on the side and enjoy your breakfast with an ice cold glass of milk!

OvernightOats

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup – milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon – vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup – oats
  • 2 tablespoons – sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup – fresh blueberries
  • 1 – hard boiled egg
  • 1 cup – fat free milk

Directions

In a mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup milk and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract. Mix in 1/3 cup oats and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, top oats with 1/4 cup fresh blueberries and 2 tablespoons of sliced almonds.

 

 

 

Organic and Traditional: Our two farms

We here at Sassy Cow have a very unique farm set up that allows us to offer both organic and traditional milk. But what’s the difference between the two?

To start, let’s look at how they are similar. Both farms are family owned and operated by the Baerwolf Family and both provide nutritious, delicious and safe milk. All animals, whether organic or traditional, receive the best care possible and are treated with respect. Neither dairy uses rBST (the bovine growth hormone) and never will. In fact, rBST is not allowed in organic dairy production.

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Organic cows soaking up the sun on a beautiful late July day.

The main difference between the two herds is how the crops used for feed are grown. All crops grown to feed the organic herd must also be organically grown, so grown without the use of herbicides or commercial fertilizers. Additionally, 30 percent of the organic cow’s’ diet must come from pasture. Note that grazing is really only feasible in the warm summer months. On the traditional farm, crops grown to feed the traditional cows are grown on land that is treated to kill weeds. No matter what farm the cows are on, all crops are produced responsibly and safely. This ensures quality food for our girls.

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Traditional cows munching away on feed after morning milking. 

Another difference are the tools available to treat illness or infection. Antibiotics are not allowed to be administered to organic cows. Antibiotics can be used to treat illness or infections at our traditional farm under the guidance of a veterinarian. For example, if a cow at the traditional farm steps on a rock in the pasture and gets an infection she can be given an antibiotic to treat it.

The treated cow’s milk will be withheld from the milk supply during treatment and for a duration after called the withdrawal period. A withdrawal period is the time is takes for medicine to clear from meat or milk. Before her milk can go back into the food supply, it is tested for medicine.

At the end of the day, the choice to purchase organic or traditional milk comes down to personal preferences and beliefs. Whether you choose organic or traditional products, you can rest assured that Sassy Cow milk is always safe, fresh and nutritious!

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Have questions about the differences between organic and traditional dairying? Feel free to contact us at 608-837-7766 or mara@sassycowcreamery.com.

Where our cows live and what they eat in the winter months

It’s that time of year, winter. Our green pastures get covered with white snow and the temperatures drop to levels where no one really wants to be outside, including cows. So where do our cows live when the pastures are snow covered and cold?

Cows on pasture
Cows enjoying pasture time in the summer months.

Our cows will spend the majority of their time in their barns once the temperatures drop. This usually happens some time in fall when pastures start producing less and go into dormancy for winter. Despite this, cows do prefer mid range temperatures of 40 to 50 degrees. During the nice warm spring and summer months, the cows get to enjoy time out on pasture during the day. But in the winter time, they stay in their dry, warm barns where they eat a diet consisting of corn, soybeans, wheat, alfalfa and corn silage all mixed together. This is called a total mixed ration (TMR).

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The front of our freestall barn. This is where the cows will spend the majority of their time in the winter.

Each of our farms have barns called freestalls where cows can freely roam around in their pen and lay down in a sand-bedded stall whenever they would like. Since cows spend about 8 hours a day sleeping and even more hours resting and chewing their cud, we make sure their sand bedding is clean and comfy. In a way, it’s like the cows get to go the beach everyday! In the summer months, cows are able to go outside during the day but return to the barn for the night.

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Cows rest on a bed of sand.

Our barns use thick, plastic tarps as side walls to keep in heat in the winter and are able to be rolled down in the warm months to allow more airflow into the barn to keep the cows cool. So when it’s -10 degrees or 85 degrees, the cows have comfortable living areas.

Cows always have access to food and water in their barn no matter the time of year and spend a good portion of their day eating. We provide them with nutritious feed year round in addition to the fresh grass they consume on pasture in the warm months.

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Cows eating the TMR in their barn.

 

Sassy Cow feed
Our cows’ diets consist of corn, soybeans, alfalfa and corn silage.

Organic and traditional cows are fed similar diets. The main difference is that the crops grown to provide the feed for the organic cows must be organically grown. Both farms work with a dairy nutritionist to ensure the cows’ diet is of the highest quality for happy and healthy cows that make the very best milk.

 

Have questions about where our cows live and what they eat? Or have an idea for a topic you would like to learn more about? Feel free to contact us at 608-837-7766 or mara@sassycowcreamery.com.

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