Picture this: You’re walking down the dairy aisle at your local grocery store and see an assortment of milk, cheese and other delicious dairy products. You ask yourself: How do I choose? Well, here’s the thing — not all dairy products are created equal!
If you have yet to buy organic, now may be the time to switch. “Organic” isn’t just a slogan or a fancy marketing term — it’s backed by National Organic Program (NOP) standards. These standards are a set of rules established by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to ensure that organic agricultural products are produced, handled and labeled correctly.
Let Organic Valley guide you through the dairy world and share its top five reasons organic is a game changer.
1. High-Quality Nutrition
Studies show that organic milk packs a nutritional punch with higher antioxidant levels and essential nutrients like omega-3 and CLA fatty acids. And, according to the National Library of Medicine, it has been shown that organic crops contain significantly fewer concentrations of cadmium — a toxic metal similar to lead and mercury. Toxic pesticides, antibiotics and GMOs are never used in the production of organic milk. By leaving out the bad stuff, organic dairy products have more room for the good stuff, with a taste that can’t be beat.
“I recommend drinking milk for anyone looking to add more protein and vitamins, such as vitamin A, B12 and D into their diet,” said Carly Knowles, MS, RD, LD — a registered dietitian and Organic Valley partner. “My personal favorite and go-to milk is Organic Valley’s Whole Milk Grassmilk® for added health benefits of extra omega-3 fatty acids and CLA content, and that’s because their cows spend 50% more time outside than the organic standard.”
2. Positive Impact on Sustainability
Because NOP was built on the concept of sustainable farming practices, organic dairy farms are often at the cutting edge of sustainable practices, setting an example for conventional counterparts. According to a 2022 research study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Organic Valley’s small organic dairy farms focus on grazing and organic production techniques that produce 24% lower greenhouse gas emissions than conventional dairy farms.
Organic dairy farmers allow their cattle to graze in pastures. While cattle graze, they trample plants and other matters into the ground so it can decompose naturally, enriching the soil and trapping carbon. Organic dairy farming is a win-win for the environment and your taste buds.
3. Commitment to Animal Care
Organic dairy farming prioritizes the health and well-being of their cows and promotes the animal’s natural behaviors. Firstly, organic cows must have access to the outdoors. This means they can go outside and enjoy fresh air and sunlight. This freedom is crucial for them to engage in natural cow activities like chewing cud, grazing on grass and simply living as cows.
And small organic family farms are constantly innovating animal care and are often ahead of the industry with creative ways to care for their animals that fit their unique farm circumstances. A good example of this is how some farmers rely upon native bird species to control the fly population.
4. Supports Local Organic Dairy Farmers
Every time you purchase an organic dairy product, you nourish yourself and your loved ones and show your support to local organic dairy farmers. Look for brands like Organic Valley, a cooperative of more than 1,600 small family farms committed to sustainably growing food and raising animals through organic agriculture. For these family farmers who own and run their own farms, dairy isn’t just a business — it’s a way of life. To find a farm near you, visit OrganicValley.coop.
5. Versatile and Trend-forward
Chances are you’ve stumbled upon food tends that have gone viral: from baked feta to butter boards, pesto eggs to cottage cheese ice cream. And the list goes on! What do these have in common? You guessed it — dairy. These culinary trends are dairy-forward and with a few staples on hand, you can impress your friends and family with easy-to-make, delicious dishes. Next time you’re at the grocery store, remember to pick up organic dairy products to make a fun, easy and delicious summer dessert like PB&J cottage cheese ice cream!
These are just a few of the many reasons why you should be using organic dairy products in your meals and snacks. To learn more about how Organic Valley supports small family farms and brings consumers high-quality, delicious dairy products while reducing its impact on the environment, visit OrganicValley.coop and dive into their 2023 Impact Report.