Looking for Milk in the Weeds

Here at Elderslie we are passionate about pasture, browse and fresh air for our goats. First of all it’s just a basic belief that keeping an animal in confinement its whole life is something you might do if you were desperate, but it’s not lovely, and as studies continue to show, it’s not good for them or us.

The goats of Elderslie on the pasture south of the Creamery.

Walk into any Kroger store and ask yourself what’s up with milk. The Dillons brand is $2.70 and the Maple Hill organic is $14.00 per gallon; that’s quite a spread. Are those people who are paying $14 crazy? Silly? Confused? Sentimental? I’ll throw my two cents in and say that I don’t think they are crazy.

Health: 
Pastured and grass-fed animals produce milk with higher levels of Omega 3 fatty acids and numerous health studies have found this is desirable from a human health standpoint. Confinement animals fed on a higher percentage of  grain have a higher level of Omega 6 and low Omega 3s.

Flavor:  
Pastured and grass-fed animals produce milk with more diverse flora of acids and compounds associated with interesting complex flavors. Artisan cheesemakers the world around consider the milk from animals on pasture to be the highest quality with the highest and most interesting flavor potential.
Newly cut curds for Cloverdale cheese

Environment: 
Pastured and grass-fed animals, when managed on tight rotations, have significantly less need for synthetic de-worming. This is critical in biological and organic farming because these de-worming compounds are persistent in the manure and in the compost, and therefore in the soil, once it’s spread on a field. That means that animals that are synthetically de-wormed (a standard scheduled part of most confinement operations) have a sterilizing effect on the soil biology of the farm they live on.
Into the Blackberry Bramble

Joy and Purpose:
Pastured and grass-fed animals step onto new pasture with excitement and purpose. They spend hours looking for all the little leaves and grass stalks they want. Studies have shown that animals on pasture have lower levels of cortisol, most likely because they are doing something and are not bored out of their minds sitting in the same ten square feet they have lived in for five years. Try eating the same thing every day for five years and never going anywhere except your kitchen and your bedroom; you might keep weight on pretty well, but I bet there would be some side effects! 🙂

We want to participate in agriculture that produces the very best food possible, that is sensitive to the environment, that fulfills our call to a stewardship relationship with the animals in our charge, and that is lovely to behold. Thank you for supporting our work, thank you for buying local cheese, it matters, and it is a part of a good life here in Central Kansas. “