Why does organic milk taste "richer" than non-organic milk?
Ok, first of all, my husband is a "conventional" dairy farmer in California. Recently i have been researching this topic because many people have told me that organic milk tastes better. At first my husband said "impossible" but now I can tell you why. Also I would like to dispell a few myths:
Myth #1 "all conventional dairies use hormones" The majority of the milk in the store is labled "from cows not treated with rBST" Our Co-op, one of the two major ones in CA does not allow the use of hormones and we sign a legal contract stating that we will not do so. The consumer wants milk not treated with hormones, so it is to our benifit to provide milk not treated with hormones.
Myth #2 Conventional dairies "pump" their cows full of antibiotics that are presant in conventional milk...The truth is that the use of antibiotict is highly regulated and cow that are treated must be removed from production. The difference is "organic cows must be removed for one year, and conventional cows until the antibiotics are no longer present in the milk. This is tested. Dairy farmers have had to drain a whole tank of milk if a treated cow accidentally got milked into the tank. You are not drinking antibiotics in your milk! I am also interested in knowing...do these people take antibiotics that are prescribed by their doctor?
Myth #3 Conventional cows are all confined to tiny spaces and are unhappy, In our case we are milking close to 5,000 cows on three facilities. we have open corrals and also a free stall barn where the cows each have a small "stall" that they can lay in. They choose the stalls, they are shaded, they have misters and fans. This is not a stressful environment. On the contrary, we know that stressed cows produce less milk so we want them to be as comfortable as possible.
About the feed, types of feed will make milk taste different (cows fed carrots will produce milk slightly orance tinted and you can detect the taste. The thing that people fail to understand is that organic cows are not just fed grass and conventional cows are not just fed corn and hay. There is a total mixed ration that cows are fed for optimum health and production. This is very scientific, cows need a 'balanced' diet too. The major difference in organic cow feed is that to be certified organic the cow has to have access to pasture for atleast 120 days out of the year. during this time aproximately 30% of the feed comes from the pasture grass and the other 70% their mixed ration. The conventional cows are getting the same nutrients from a different source.
About the taste. we have done the blind taste tests and can agree that Organic milk generally has a sweeter taste. Now ill tell you why. If you look on the ingredients, you might expect to see( Ingredients: Milk) but this is generally not the case. The other thing you see (which was observed above) is Ultra- pasteurised. This is the reason for the unbelieveable shelf life. Ultra-pasteurized milk doesn't even need to be refridgerated before it is opened!!! This high temp pasteurization does depleat the flavor and "flora" mentioned above especially in reduced fat and non fat milk. So to add flavor back in they add "nonfat milk solids" which consests of the protein, carbohydrate or (lactose), and minerals found in milk. The other two major components of milk are water and milk fat. The milk solids are what give milk flavor and lactose is the sugar naturally found in milk which is why there is a sweeter taste. nonfat milk solids are also used in production os icecream. Ever tasted Gelato? it is made with less cream and more milk, more nonfat solids more flavor.
One other noteable thing is that milk in paper cartons generally taste better that clear plastic containers because light causes breakdown of the milk components called "oxidation"