Photo from Rolling Meadow
Like many moms, I started buying organic milk when I had my first child. It’s been 11 years of paying a premium each week for better milk (and other dairy products) and truthfully I’d rather not add up the total. The trigger for making the change was my baby, but it was a gateway I wanted to pass through for other reasons too, to support more responsible agricultural practices, fewer pesticides running into our waterways, and better treatment of the animals we rely upon to feed us.
This last concern, about animal welfare, worried me, because I knew the organic label did not assure the humane treatment of the cows. I knew from reading Michael Pollan‘s The Omnivore’s Dilemma and other food literature that big organic can be awfully similar to conventional practices, just without the pesticides and other additives. I wrote to a popular organic dairy supplier – with its branded picture of a grazing cow – and asked about their treatment of the cows, and whether they go outside. They did not reply.
I bought organic anyway, hoping that at least it presented a better chance for the humane treatment of the cows. I didn’t really know though.
So you can imagine how happy I was to discover a dairy company that prioritizes animal welfare! Rolling Meadows is a Canadian grass-fed dairy (and also sells pastured eggs) that works with local farmers in Southwestern Ontario. And there’s this, right front and centre of their website:
We allow our cows to graze on pasture as long as our Canadian weather will allow and ensure they are kept happy and healthy.
Like you, we feel that cows appreciate the little things like a long walk across a field or having the sun on your face during a sunny summers day. We believe in respect and dignity for our animals and partner with farmers who agree wholeheartedly with our position on animal welfare.
By understanding how we care for our animals you can feel good about drinking our milk knowing it came from farms that you would be proud of.
Rolling Meadow’s grass-fed milk offers a host of other benefits too. Their FAQ page explains that its omega-3 content is 3 times higher than conventional milk (where cows are fed primarily corn silage). Grass-fed milk may also be more easily digestible, and some people with lactose sensitivities report that they can tolerate it. Moreover, they partner with local farmers, including Mennonite and Dutch farms that “share our high standards for environmental sustainability, animal welfare, and product safety”.
Rolling Meadows dairy is not certified organic, but is beyond organic. It costs less, but goes further than the organic label.
Which means the grazing cow on their label isn’t a misrepresentation. I’ve finally found what I’m looking for.
Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post, although I was provided with milk samples.