What is grass-fed dairy?
Grass-fed dairy products come from cows that are raised on pasture, eating a natural diet of grass and hay. Some grass-fed dairy farmers also feed their cows supplemental grain during milking, or in winter time when fresh pasture is inaccessible.
When farmers raise their animals on pasture, under the sun and fed on plenty of green grass, they produce milk and cream that is rich in nutrients like vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and wholesome fats. Accordingly, grass-fed dairy products like raw milk, butter, ghee, homemade cheese, yogurt, and kefir are nutrient-dense foods.
Two practices you'll find common among grass-fed dairy farmers are rotational grazing and planned, holistic management. That means farmers intentionally allow their cows in and out of pastures in a way that improves soil ecology as well as biodiversity. That means, when you choose the right farmer, you'll support regenerative farming practices.
The milk of cows allowed to graze on pasture is richer in micronutrients than the milk of cows fed primarily on grains or held in confined operations. Additionally, vitamins A and K, as well as the antioxidant beta carotene, are more abundant in grass-fed milk. And so are healthy fats like conjugated linoleic acid and omega-3 fatty acids.
Just as grass-fed milk offers a more abundant array of micronutrients than conventional milk, fresh grass-fed cream is also measurably better. Cows fed on rapidly growing springtime grasses produce the most nutritious cream.
Choose full-fat grass-fed dairy products when you can, as the healthy fatty acids in whole milk help your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. While we drink raw milk if you cannot find raw milk or choose not to drink it, choose a low-temperature pasteurized milk from a grass-fed dairy.
Check out all Nourished Kitchen's Grass-fed Dairy Posts
Matcha Green Tea Latté
Why Grass-fed Dairy Matters (and a visit to three English farms)
Why Your Yogurt Isn't Turning Out: Easy Fixes
Sour Milk: Lessons from Scandinavia
I drink real milk: fresh, raw, local and full of fat.
10 Reasons to Drink Your Milk Raw
For the Love of Fresh Cream
How to Choose an Organic Raw Milk Dairy