Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pasture fed cows - Organic Milk - Now you know


Ok guys, I've run into a way that you can check where exactly your milk comes from. NO MORE EXCUSES buying corporate factory farmed milk! Let's put those factory farms out of their misery!

And this works wonderfully if you have a iPhone at the grocery store. You can look up the source and make a decision on the spot while you are at the dairy fridge.

Here's how to do it:
Step 1)Go to On the left side, type in the plant # that you see on the milk carton. Usually the half gallon paper cartons will have a plant # that was printed at the time the whole carton was printed at the print shop. The gallon plastic containers will have a dotted plant # sprayed on them.

Here is a convenient full list of all the dairies.

Step 2)Next, go to and see if your dairy farm has 3+ cow ratings. The more cows the better! They even have a numeric score to differentiate the quality of the dairy farming operation. Higher the better!

I believe from my research (I am generalizing and it may not be true) that the half gallons contain better sourced (better quality) milk, whereas, the gallon containers are marketed as "bulk", of lower quality, and picked up by people trying to save a few pennies.

I noticed the organic milk gallon I purchased from Trader Joe's was sourced from Rockview Farms of Downey CA (plant # 06-98), which according to Cornucopia, is of questionable origin, since Rockview has a huge dairy operation in Nevada that mimics a factory where cows might not have pasture access.

The half gallon paper carton of organic milk I purchased from Fresh and Easy (a U.S. branch of UK's Tesco) had a plant # of 06-691 which meant it was sourced from Clover Stornetta Farms Inc of Petaluma. Going to Cornucopia, I found that it had 4 cow ratings which is satisfactory for me. I KNOW it's not a factory farm!

The gallon of Rockview Farms "organic" milk from Trader Joe's cost me $5.99. The half gallon from Fresh & Easy only cost me $3.29 per half gallon, which is $6.58 for a full gallon. So it only cost me $.58 more to source from a cleaner and a more sustainable dairy operation! Not only that, when I clicked the Clover Organic Farms link on Cornucopia, I found that Clover sources all it's milk from either multigenerational family farmers or cooperatives.

I'd like to hear what you guys found out!


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  2. I found this post while searching for how to determine the origin of Fresh and Easy's milk source. I usually buy Strauss from Whole Foods which is a haul for me to get to, but I am considering Fresh and Easy depending on how they package their milk (plastic vs. glass for example). Thank you

  3. Thanks for the info! I love being able to know where the milk comes from. I am going to pass this on to my friends!!

  4. fresh and easy has changed their organic dairy products to some horrible factory farm somewhere around L.A.

  5. raw milk is the best... too bad all the laws are geared toward sales and people are so dumb to think pasteurization helps in any way.

    1. Well...if you don't mind a little listeria, e.coli, or campylobacter in your milk then by all means...pasteurization is so dumb.

  6. My milk (whole organic) from fresh and easy comes from a farmer co-op in Santa Ana. It looks good!

  7. I also found out that my milk comes from Stemrick's Heritage Foods. Actually, their corporate headquarters are in Santa Ana. There is no dairy farm here in Santa Ana or Orange County for that matter. Google Earth reveals their address is sandwiched between apartment complexes and other typical Orange County suburban development. Luckily I can get this delicious milk from my local Costa Mesa Fresh & Easy. It is labeled with the Fresh & Easy logo and tastes great. I just wish I knew where the actual cows are.

    Great information, thank you for the lookup tool! Makes me feel great knowing where it's at and seeing photos of the cows out in the grass, I just hope it's really them...may look for a local dairy farm where I can confirm the cows' living and grazing conditions.

    1. Great to see you putting some effort in. You're going to love the latest post about Organic Valley Grassmilk, now available at Whole Foods!

  8. There is some information of value in this, such as finding the exact plant that processed and packaged the milk. However, there is some misinformation.

    For one..there is no difference in the milk in a half-gallon to a gallon. A gallon is not considered "bulk" or of "bulk quality". Typically, plants that process and package organic do it all at one time because they also process conventional so they do it this way to keep it separate. This means the milk in the half-gallon is the exact same as the milk in the gallon. The only difference is the packaging...maybe the plastic of the gallon turns you off? Not sure.

    I suppose if you are heavily vested in if your milk comes from a factory farm I'm not real helpful with that...good quality milk is just good quality milk regardless of the herd size, the status of organic or conventional, or the label.

    Secondly...many of the private labels you see such as Trader Joe's, Fresh and Easy, etc are bottled by the same companies own brand of milk. Also, these are typically bottled/packaged right after one another with only a label change so it is the same exact milk.

    Being in the dairy industry for more than 15 years and a very keen sensory scientist it always fascinates me how easily customers are influenced by packaging and labeling.

    For example, if a company does a label change without changing anything else their number of complaints will skyrocket. Why? Because people perceive the label change as changing the actual product in the package. Fascinating...

  9. Great information, thank you so much for doing the research and sharing the results with us.

  10. Thanks for coming by. There's more info to come. Stay tuned even though it's turned into a music blog. I'm pretty active on Facebook tho. The link is on the top right. Thanks once again.