Why do your products cost more than other organic brands?
Many factors impact the cost of our products. First, we work with small, certified organic Amish and Mennonite farmers instead of large-scale factory farms. Second, we use old-school, traditional manufacturing methods like vat pasteurization and a small-batch butter churn. Both of these are less efficient and lead to higher product costs, but we believe it is the right thing to do for our farmers, the environment, and our consumers.
Why do the prices of your products vary?
The supply chain for minimally-processed, fresh dairy is not an easy one. There are high costs of distribution and freight to certain areas of the country which accounts for some of the pricing variations that consumers may see. However, another key factor is the retailer itself. Each retailer chooses its own retail price for our products. Although we can make suggestions and support them with promotional dollars, it is ultimately the retailer’s final decision.
What standards or certifications do your products meet?
We are proud to offer organic products because organic agricultural practices ensure USDA organic seal Standards & Certification the long-term health of life on our planet, including the soil, plants, animals, and people. Today, all Kalona SuperNatural™ products carry the USDA Certified Organic seal, which means that they have been grown and processed in accordance with rigorous, national organic standards. The seal also guarantees that an accredited, third-party certifying agency has inspected the farms and processing plants to ensure full compliance with these standards. The USDA Certified Organic seal guarantees:
- No toxic and persistent pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, or fungicides
- No synthetic growth hormones or antibiotics
- No GMO’s (genetically modified organisms)
- No irradiation or sewage sludge
- No synthetic fertilizers
We are certified organic through the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS), Midwest Organic Services Association, Oregon Tilth and Global Organic Alliance. We meet the national organic program (NOP) regulations and Grade A Milk standards. We are also inspected by the FDA, USDA, Iowa Milk Shippers, and are Kosher certified by the Chicago Rabbinical Council. Farmers’ All-Natural Creamery products are certified Kosher by the Chicago Rabbinical Council (CRC).
Are your products non-GMO?
What base is used to grow the cultures used in your products?
Why do your products look different than other organic dairy products?
How is your milk pasteurized?
High Temperature/Short Time (HTST) pasteurization. To pasteurize larger quantities of milk in a more efficient manner, creameries began developing new processes as early as 1893. Today, HTST is the most common form of pasteurization in the milk industry. In an HTST processor, the milk flows continuously through a series of thin metal plates that are heated by hot water. The milk is heated to a minimum of 161° Fahrenheit for at least 15 seconds, and then rapidly cooled. The milk in Kalona SuperNatural™ cottage cheese, sour cream, and Greek yogurt have been HTST pasteurized.
Is VAT pasteurization safe for pregnant women?
What does non-homogenized mean?
Homogenization is a mechanical process that transforms the two, separate components of whole fresh milk– cream and low-fat milk–into one smooth beverage. To accomplish this, fresh milk is heated and pumped through tiny nozzles at high pressure. The pressure tears the fat globules of the cream into tiny particles, which then disperse evenly throughout the low-fat milk. These tiny fat particles are extremely susceptible to rancidity, but pasteurization prevents homogenized milk from spoiling. Because most of us have been raised on homogenized milk, we may not know what to expect when we buy our first bottle of non-homogenized milk. After it sits for 12-24 hours, fresh non-homogenized milk separates into a layer of light, high-fat cream (sometimes called the “cream top”) and a much larger, more dense layer of low-fat milk. Over time, the cream becomes thicker, and after a few days it may nearly solidify into a cream “plug.” This is a natural occurrence in non-homogenized milk. When you shake the bottle the plug will loosen and break up into the milk, although many folks like to spoon it out for their coffee or to eat it on their cereal as a special treat. Non- homogenized milk also has a naturally sweeter flavor than homogenized milk because whole cream has a silky texture that is lost when the fat globules are broken apart. It also has a richer flavor, even 2%, because our skimming process never removes 100% of the cream.
At Kalona SuperNatural™ we believe that milk should be processed as little as possible, and consumed in the most natural state possible.
Cows & Farms
What breeds of cows are on your farms?
What kinds of farms do the cows live on?
We work with small family farms to bring you delicious, certified organic cream-topped milk from pasture-grazed cows where the average daily herd is 35 cows. Many of these farms—most of which are on about 90 tillable acres—have been in the same family for 150 years and have never been touched by chemical herbicides or pesticides.
Are the cows humanely raised?
Yes! For organic cows and calves, outside access is mandated and amounts of pasture in the diet is regulated. Typically, calves are given a nurse cow (the mothers are milked) and raised in bedded straw pens. The typical organic dairy farm does not have vets come and give regular shots because the condition is so good.
Are the cows you get your milk from 100% grass fed?
As we are based in the Midwest, there are a few months a year where grasses are tough to come by for the cows. During this time of the year, the cows eat stored forage, typically grown on the farm or purchased from other nearby farmers. Click here for more information.
Do the dairy farms you work with dehorn the cows?
Most do. This is done at an early age, with anesthetic, where there is basically no suffering. Dehorning them protects people and other cows. Injury can happen very easily because cows affectionately rub their heads towards people. They also like to spar with other cows in their herd.
Why is it important to consumer pasture-grazed milk?
Over the past few decades many studies have revealed that pasture-feeding is much healthier for the cows and for the consumer. Greener Pastures: How Grass-fed Beef and Milk Contribute to Health Eating by Kate Clancy is the first study to synthesize the findings of virtually every English-language study (25 were chosen for analysis) comparing the amounts of total fats, saturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, and Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) in both pasture-raised and conventionally raised beef and dairy cattle. The report also combined analyses of the nutrition, environmental, and public health benefits of grass-based farming techniques. The report found that grass-fed milk contains higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, the so-called beneficial fats. Grass-fed milk tends to be higher in an omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) that scientists have demonstrated reduces the risk of heart disease. And grass-fed milk also is higher in CLA, a fatty acid shown in animal studies to protect against cancer. CLA was discovered in 1978 by Michael W. Pariza at the University of Wisconsin while looking for mutagen formations in meat during cooking. The most abundant source of natural CLA is the meat and dairy products of grass-fed animals. Research conducted since 1999 shows that grazing animals have from 3 to 5 times more CLA than animals fattened on grain in a feedlot. Simply switching from grain-fed to grass-fed products can greatly increase your intake of CLA.
Are calves taken from their mothers?
All Kalona SuperNatural™ products are USDA certified organic, which not only means that they meet strict organic standards, but also ensures humane treatment of animals. Generally, our cows are weaned from their mothers 2-3 weeks after birth and moved to nurse cows for a period of time. After that, female/male calves are put in a pen (usually deeply bedded) and fed milk. The female calves (heifers) typically put on nurse cows and grow to be milking cows. The male calves are grown to be butcher (meat) cows.
Are they usually milked while pregnant? Or are they allowed to finish lactating naturally first?
The cows we get our milk from are not milked year round. The farmers each have their own milking schedule and plan for their farm. Some choose to have Fall Freshers, this means the cows give birth in the Fall and Summer is the dry period or the period when they are not milked. Other farms may choose to have spring freshers. They would have a dry period in the Fall. Some farmers choose to do both on their farm, so they vary the dry & milking seasons with their herd. This all varies on the farmer and the cows. The cows are milked throughout their pregnancy. However, during the last couple of months of the pregnancy, the cows are ‘dried off’ or not milked. After weening, they are put back in the milking herd. Cows have a 9-month pregnancy, so that means that they must be milked during part of their pregnancy so that the farm can stay in business. If they didn’t, they would only be milking 3 months of the year and that would not be economical from a business standpoint.
What do the cows eat in the winter?
The cows on these family farms eat a complex diet of native and managed plants and grasses that changes throughout the seasons. Much of the year, the herds harvest their own feed from the farms’ pastures, choosing different feed depending on the weather, the cow’s health, the land on the farm, how close the cow is to giving birth, and the time of year. During the winter months when the ground is frozen solid in the Midwest, our farmers provide their cows with stored forage, typically grown on the farm or purchased from nearby farms. Depending on the farmer and the situation, winter feed may include one, some, or all of the following organic foods: roasted soybeans (for protein); corn (for energy); barley, hay, haylage, baleage, silage, or wheat.
Do the farmers use holistic vets?
The farmers use advice from holistic vets, they also administer holistic medicine like herbal tinctures, salves, etc. If all else fails, the cows are administered antibiotics and sold to a non-organic farm, so the cow doesn’t suffer. Organic practices are so good for the cow, the issue that is such a big deal in conventional herds is typically a non-issue in organic herds. Routinely cows live, breed, and milk for 10-15 years on organic farms, where on conventional farms, cows live up to 5 years.
Are udder torches used on the farms you get your milk from?
Do your producers raise beef cows?
How are cows milked?
Our farmers use three different milking methods: parlor style, tie stall, and hand milking.
The layout of a parlor style barn is ideal for cows to enter to be milked after spending time on pasture. The parlor is situated so that the cow is above the farmer, making it easier to clean the udder and use the milking apparatus. This apparatus milks the cow in 3 to 4 minutes using a vacuum generated by a diesel engine outside the barn (diesel engines are used because many of our farmers are Amish, and do not use electricity). Milk is collected in a pail, and when full is taken to an adjacent milk house and added into a bulk tank.
A tie stall barn is similar, though cows are led to an individual stall and secured so that they do not back out during the milking process. The cows are only tied up long enough to milk and feed them, then they are allowed back outside.
The hand milking system is identical to the tie stall barn configuration, only cows are milked by hand instead of a milking apparatus.
Do the Amish in your community run puppy mills?
Are the cows on your farms A1 or A2?
We work with small, sustainable, family farms, many of which are Amish and Mennonite, and where the average herd is only 35 – 40 cows. The herd varies from farm to farm, thus both A1 and A2 beta-casein is present in our milk. Many farms do selectively breed for A2 cows, though we allow each farm to make independent decisions about this and do not require it at this time.
While there are no short term plans to offer an A2 only product, it remains a possibility in the future. If this is a product line you would like to purchase in the future, would you be willing to share with us your city and state? This would be a huge help to us if we launch such a product in the future.
What happens to mature cows?
Our USDA organic certification mandates humane treatment for our cows, and this is reflected in the 10-12 milking cycles our cows routinely attain. Our farmers have to be very mindful of the bottom line, however–they must keep costs low, or it’s difficult to stay in business. Because of the limited size of the farms, the high cost of organic feed, and other factors, it’s not possible to keep mature cows with the herd for too long. This is because farmers lack the resources to keep them, they are typically sold off the farm.
Are your facilities free of nuts, peas, and seeds?
What is your allergen statement?
Do your milk bottles contain corn resins?
Are your milk bottles BPA/BPS-free?
Why isn't your milk sold in glass bottles?
We did an extensive amount of research on packaging when we first launched the Kalona SuperNatural™ brand, and what we found is that:
- The freight costs associated with glass packaging are cost-prohibitive for us.
- In the dairy industry, glass bottles must be made of virgin–not recycled–glass.
- Our clear plastic bottles allow customers to see our milk.
- The plastic containers are BPA- and BPS-free.
- Our 16oz, 32oz, and 64oz bottles contain a special UV inhibitor that helps protect the milk from light. (protects milk from oxidation)
- Many retailers and distributors do not like glass packaging due to breakage and extra weight.
Why don't you use cardboard or an opaque bottle to help preserve micronutrients?
Is your butter wrap compostable?
Is your packaging recyclable?
What is your sustainability policy?
What is the shelf life on your organic milk?
Do you add Vitamin A to your milk?
Does the Vitamin A in your 2% milk contain palm-oil?
Why do you use palm-derived Vitamin A?
Can I drink your milk if I am lactose intolerant?
Is your milk raw?
Why does my bottle of milk have a gray tint?
Why does the milk have a yellow tint?
Can I freeze your milk?
What does cream top mean? What will it look like?
If you’re interested in learning more, here’s a video that explains why you are seeing the cream in your milk.
What percent of cream does your milk have?
Does your milk contain added hormones?
Is non-homogenized milk safe for babies to drink?
Do you add milk solids, powdered milk, or dry milk protein to your milk?
Why do you have carrageenan in your chocolate milk?
Are you replacing carageenan?
Is there a chance the cocoa is cross contaminated with tree nuts?
What is the best way to get your Whipping Cream to whip?
Half & Half
How long is buttermilk cultured?
Is powdered milk used in your buttermilk?
How long does your buttermilk last if unopened and always refrigerated?
Are there live cultures in the end product?
Are the cultures that you add to the buttermilk added before/after it is pasteurized?
How do you make buttermilk?
To create our buttermilk we begin with fresh organic milk from grass-fed cows. We target a 2% fat level and we do add Vitamin A palmitate as required by law for reduced fat milk products. Next we use low-temperature, batch pasteurization, which consists of pumping the mixture into a vat and heating it to 145 degrees F for a minimum of 30 minutes. After pasteurization, we add live cultures and allow the mixture to culture for 8 – 12 hours until the proper pH is reached. Finally we add Celtic Sea Salt, which is an unprocessed, sun-dried salt hand harvested from the Brittany coast of France, and then we bottle it.
Why do the spices settle to the bottom of the bottle?
Many brands of eggnog contain thickening additives and synthetic stabilizers. We believe that eggnog should be free of these ingredients allowing you to enjoy the delicious flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, custard and cream. Because we do not use synthetic stabilizers, the spices in our eggnog will settle to the bottom of the bottle. Simply shake and enjoy!
Why does your cottage cheese vary in consistency?
There are four main reasons why Kalona cottage may vary from batch to batch; these are, of course, also the reasons it is so delicious and unique!!
- Non-homogenized: Because we do not homogenize the milk, the cream rises to the top to create that beautiful and delicious topping. But this creates a level of unpredictability as well. The dressing in the vat will separate causing the first cups to have a lower butterfat dressing which makes it more “water like”. The end of the vat will have higher butterfat which is more cream like. The texture of the dressing will give the appearance of runny for the first cups and very thick or even dry for the last cups.
- Non-stabilized: Because we do not use stabilizers in KSN cottage cheese, the consistency of batches can vary. Stabilizers are used in most cottage cheese (even in the natural foods industry) for this very reason–to ensure that every batch is identical. Stabilizers even out the variation that occurs due to temperature, timing of specific aspects of the cheese-making process, and the ingredients. Without stabilizers, each of these factors can affect the final product.
- Protein Levels of Milk: Because the protein levels in milk vary from season to season and from batch to batch, each batch has a life of its own. The amount of protein in the milk will affect how much curd is produced. The same amount of milk can product 1,000# of curd or 800# of curd. At that point, the dressing has already been added, so there may be too much–but this cannot be known at the time of adding it.
- No Gums: Because we do not use gums, the curd and the dressing are not bound together. This preserves the fresh clean taste and flavor, but can also result in some separation of the curd from the dressing. In the large vats we make, the lack of gums means that sometimes the cups at the very beginning get too much dressing, while those at the end can be dry.
Why is my cottage cheese slightly yellowish. Is it OK to eat?
How long can I eat your cottage cheese AFTER it's open?
Our Cottage Cheese has a shelf life of 45 days starting at the date of manufacture (this date is printed on the package). Often, for this product in particular, it is still good to eat after this date. While perishable products do have the potential to behave differently throughout their shelf life after being opened, we don’t set a specific number of days (aside from the code date on the container as a guide). This is due to various factors, such as temperature during transport, whether or not the product is used in many short bursts, if it’s ever left outside of the fridge for extended periods, and so on.
To determine whether Cottage Cheese is still good, just remember to look, smell, then taste. If there’s no change in its appearance, and you don’t detect a sour smell, you can try tasting it. If it tastes fine, it’s fine to eat
Does the skimmed milk used in low fat cottage cheese contain palmitate? If so, where does it come from?
Does the low fat cottage cheese contain carrageenan?
Do you use animal rennet in your cottage cheese?
Why do you HTST pastuerize your Cottage Cheese?
Why is nonfat milk added to your cottage cheese?
What temperature is your cottage cheese pasteurized?
How long is your sour cream cultured?
Why is there nonfat milk in your sour cream? Is it dry/ powdered milk?
What is the butterfat content in sour cream?
Cream Top Yogurt
How long do you culture your yogurt?
Are there live and active cultures in your yogurt?
Why does your yogurt vary in consistency?
Are the enzymes and cultures in your products derived from animals or plants?
Why does your yogurt carton not indicate "grass-fed"?
Our cream top yogurt is pasture grazed. These pastures may contain just one or two, or up to dozens of species of plants and grasses. Thus, our cows’ diets range from fresh pasture grasses such as Indian grass or switchgrass in early summer to orchardgrass, ryegrass, or clover in mid-summer. The cows on these family farms eat a complex diet of native and managed plants and grasses that changes throughout the seasons.
Why do you add lactic acid to your yogurt?
What temperature do you heat your milk to make the yogurt?
Why do you HTST pastuerize your Greek Yogurt?
Are the enzymes and cultures in your products derived from animals or plants?
What is kefir?
Is your kefir 100% grass-fed?
What cultures are in your kefir?
- Bifidobacterium infantis
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. Bulgaricus
- Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. Lactis
- Lactobacillus fermentum
- Lactobacillus paracasei
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus
- Lactococcus lactis spp. Cremoris
- Lactococcus lactis ssp. Lactis biovar diacetylactis
- Leuconostoc mesenteroides
- Leuconostoc pseudomesenteroides
- Streptococcus thermophilus
Can I freeze your butter?
Yes, you may freeze our butter. For the freshest flavor, we still recommend that you consume it by the sell-by date. As long as the product smells fine and looks fine, it is fine! Please keep in mind that we do not recommend using any product past the sell-by date on the package.
Can I use your butter after the date on the carton?
Do you add artificial coloring to your butter?
Is your butter made with pasteurized or raw milk?
Fresh Cheesemaking Kits
What's included in each kit?
Who manufactures your cheese kits?
What other products do I need to make the cheese?
What types of cheese can I make?
Mozzarella & Mascarpone Fresh Cheesemaking Kit
Mozzarella: Fresh Mozzarella is a creamy, semi-soft cheese with a mild flavor. Try it in a Caprese salad, pizza, lasagna, or served with fresh tomatoes from the garden!
Mascarpone: Mascarpone is a cross between between cream and butter with a rich flavor. Enjoy it in pasta, with fresh strawberries, in an Italian espresso, or in desserts like Tiramisu.
Ricotta & Burrata Fresh Cheesemaking Kit
Ricotta: Ricotta is a creamy cheese with a soft texture and mild flavor. It’s firm but not solid and is extremely versatile. Ricotta can be enjoyed in both savory and sweet dishes, including cannoli, dense cheesecakes, stuffed pasta, or lasagna!
Burrata: Burrata is a tender pouch of soft cheese encasing creamy curds. Burrata is meant to be served fresh and is wonderful with grilled bread, roasted vegetables or in pasta.