This page answers general questions including those about certifications, pricing, dating, production processes, cows, farms, allergens, and packaging. For specific product related questions, please visit specific product pages.
Are your products good after the date that is printed on the container?
The short answer is possibly. Kalona SuperNatural™ does testing on our products to determine the best sell by date for our products. Because dairy products are fresh and perishable, the exact date of when the product will begin to lose quality can be difficult to know. As with many perishable items (fresh fruit, vegetables, etc.), there are times when the product is good well beyond the sell by date.
However, there will also be times when the product will begin to show signs of loss of quality (sourness in aroma or flavor) before the sell by date. We have two recommendations.
1. Consume fresh dairy products within 5 - 7 days of opening. Once the dairy product is exposed to oxygen it will begin losing quality and is recommended to be consumed as soon as possible. Cultured dairy products such as our Buttermilk, Kefir, Yogurt, Cottage Cheese, and Sour Cream will typically last up to 14 days if kept cold.
2. Keep your dairy products (fresh or cultured) stored in a sealed container at the back of your refrigerator. Do not store your milk in the door. Everytime you open your refrigerator it is hit with warm air from your house which will affect how long your milk lasts. If you sense the products do not smell or taste right, please do not consume and contact us so we can we can investigate the issue..
What standards or certifications do your products meet?
We are proud that ALL Kalona SuperNatural™ products are certified organic. The USDA Organic standard is still the preminant certification for sustainable agriculture. Organic farming ensures the long-term health of life on our planet, including the soil, plants, animals, and people. The USDA Organic seal guarantees that an accredited, third party agency has inspected the farms and processing facilities 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 also go beyond the Organic certification in several ways.
1. Our relationship with small, midwest family farms ensures that you are receiving milk from farms that are invested in their land and cows. They care for their animals as part of their family and were farming organically before it was known as "organic".
2. Grass-fed & pasture-grazed cows. Our farmers give their cows access to pasture for fresh grass during the grass growing season. They focus on giving the cow the best grass and pasture available but allow the cows to roam free on the pastures to enjoy the fresh grass, fresh air, and plentiful midwest sunshine!
3. High quality milk! Organic standards do not set any requirement for the quality of the milk. But we do!!! We set very strict standards for the health of our farmers cows and the quality standards the milk must meet in order for us to bring it into our plant.
4. Minimal processing. After receiving this quality milk, wouldn't it be a shame to damage the milk with high-temp pasteurization and homogonization? We know you agree and are committed to bringing you the milk as near to its natural state as we are allowed to.
This includes, low-temp pasteurization, no homogenization, and simple (or no) added ingredients.
All of our products are also Kosher Certified. All of our milk processing facilities are SQF inspected and certified.
Are your products GMO-free?
Yes. Our products are all USDA Certified Organic which is a higher standard than just non-GMO. This means that our farmers grow and feed non-gmo feed. But in addition to that, they do not use any herbicides, pesticides, antibiotics or production hormones which are still allowed under conventional non-gmo farming.
Are your products vegetarian?
Yes, all of our products are vegetarian and enjoyed by vegetarians who want dairy products from small family farms who care for their cows as the mothers they are. Our cultures and ezymes are all non-animal derived and vegetarian approved.
Why do your products cost more than other dairies?
First we would like to thank you for taking an interest in the sourcing of your food. We believe whoever and wherever you purchase your dairy from, it is important to know what they value and why they do what they do. There are several reasons our dairy products may costs more than another dairy. We purchase from small family farms and believe it's important to sustainably support what they do. Every year, more and more family farmers go out of business. We believe that farming, when done correctly is good for the environment and our planet! We pay our farmers a sustainable wage to ensure they are able to survive and thrive to pass their farms on to future generations. Then, once we receive our farmers milk, we don't use conventional processing methods which are fast, efficient, and cheap. We focus on preserving the natural nutritional quality of the milk so you can get the best quality dairy available for you and your family.
How does your dairy make it to my store shelf?
After our milk has been bottled we make every effort possible to get it out to your local store as soon as possible. We like our milk as fresh as possible and know you do to. As soon as the milk is bottled, the yogurt is cupped, or the butter is packaged we load it on a refrigerated truck and ship it to one of the many refrigerated distribution warehouses across the country. Your local retailer then places their order with the warehouse to order exactly how much they believe you and your community will purchase from them in the the coming week or less. Once the products have been picked and delivered to your local store, your friendly dairy team will stock the shelves with the fresh product where it waits for you. 😁 When you're looking for the best dairy products for your family and the enviroment - L👀K for Kalona SuperNatural™
What do you mean by "Minimally Processed"?
We are committed to bringing you the best quality milk and dairy products as near to their natural state as we are allowed to. This includes, low-temp pasteurization, no homogenization, and simple (or no) added ingredients. Many other conventional and organic dairy companies sterilize their milk at 280°Fahrenheit, smash the cream under 2,000+ pounds of pressure and add other ingredients.
How is your milk pasteurized?
Excellent question! Kalona SuperNatural™ products are low-temp pasteurized to preserve the natural nutritional benefits of our milk. Our milk and most of our dairy products are pasteurized using batch pasteurization (also called vat pasteurization). The milk is slowly heated to 145°F and held at that temperature for 30 minutes. The milk is then rapidly cooled. This method is relatively rare today, and is used mainly by local and regional creameries. The milk in Kalona SuperNatural™ fluid milk, kefir, buttermilk, butter, sour cream, and yogurt has been batch pasteurized.
Is VAT pasteurized milk safe for pregnant women, babies and toddlers?
All of our milk meets USDA federal guidlines for safe pasteurization of the milk and is considered safe for pregnant women, babies, toddlers, and all ages to enjoy. If you have specific concerns, we recommend you check with your doctor to find out more information.
What does non-homogenized mean?
At Kalona SuperNatural™ we believe that milk should be processed as minimally as possible. This allows you to enjoy the milk in the most natural state possible. One of the ways we accomplish this is by not homogenizing our milk.
Homogenization is a mechanical process forces the milk into one blended, smooth product and doesn't allow the cream to naturally separate. To accomplish this, fresh milk is pumped through tiny nozzles at high pressure. That pressure destroys the fat globules of the cream into tiny particles, which then disperse evenly throughout the milk.
Separation is natural in milk. After milk sits for 12-24 hours, fresh non-homogenized milk separates into two layer. One of cream (sometimes called the “cream top”) and a layer of low-fat milk. Over time, the cream will become thicker and after a few days it may nearly solidify into a cream “plug.”
You may notice that non-homogenized milk has a naturally sweeter flavor than homogenized milk. This is because whole cream has a silky texture that is lost when the fat globules are broken into those small pieces.
What do I do with the cream at the top of your milk?
This is a natural occurrence in non-homogenized milk. When you shake the bottle the cream will loosen and break up into the milk. The best way to shake the milk is with a rocking, side-to-side motion. This allows the milk to get around the cream and break it up. If you've been shaking it up and down, you are not doing anything wrong but it may take a little longer to mix back in.
Other ideas are to spoon it out for your coffee, eat it with fruit 😋, or enjoy on your cereal as a special treat.
To prevent the cream top from plugging the top of the bottle, some customers store our milk by laying it horizontally in their refrigerators. This also makes the cream layer thinner making it easier to mix.
Cows & Farms
What kind of cows do you have?
Our farmers have a wide variety of cows little prejiduce to any specific breeds. Most of the farms have Holstein or Jersey cows. However, our farms also have Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Red Devon, cross breeds, and other random breeds.
Are your cows A2/A2?
At the present we do not require A2/A2 selection or testing. Some of our farmers have chosen to breed their cows only with A2/A2 bulls so it may be something we can offer in the future.
What kinds of farms do the cows that produce your milk live on?
All of our Organic Milk come from small family farms in the Midwest. The average daily herd is 35 cows and our farmers know each of their cows by name and characteristics. Did you know each cow has its own attitude and behaviors? Most of our farmers are part of the local Amish & Mennonite communities. Many of these family farms have been in the same family for 150 years and have never been touched by chemical herbicides or pesticides.
How are cows raised differently from other dairies?
Yes. Our farmers care for their cows like the mothers they are. Their animals are are core part of their life and are taken care of by them and their family. Our cows have a great life. They recieve fresh grass and regularly get access to fresh grass on the pasture, fresh air and sunshine. The milk that's used to create Kalona SuperNatural products comes from about 80 small farms. Generally, our cows are weaned from their mothers 2-3 weeks after birth. After weaning, calves are given a nurse cow (the mothers are milked) and raised in bedded straw pens in a group environment (think Montessori school setting). Because conditions are good, our organic dairy farm do not need vets come and give regular shots to keep the health of the herd up.
Are your cows grass fed?
Yes. For as much of the year as possible, we go beyond grass-fed by giving the cows access to fresh grass on the pasture. Cows love the ability to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine the outside pasture gives them. However, in the midwest there are few months out of every year when the ground is covered with snow or is muddy from the rain and melting snow. During these times the cows are fed dried grass that has been harvested during the peak of the summer when the grass is growing well and is nutrient rich for the cows. Our farmers are allowed to minimally supplement their cows feed with organic grains such as corn, soybeans, wheat or barley. This additional food supplement is for the cows health. We want to ensure the cow is receiving the energy as she needs to maintain her health and body-condition.
Do you feed cows corn or soy?
Some farms may choose to feed their cows small amounts of organic corn (for energy) or soybean (for protein.) Most of the time these are grown on the farm or on a neighbor's organic farm. This may be necessary during winters when the cows need some extra energy that they can't get from fresh pasture grasses, legumes, and forbs. It's similar to humans eating dark organic chocolate in the winter to pick their mood up. That's not bad for a person's health whereas eating dozens of processed milk chocolate per day would be. 🙂
Why do you say your cows are pasture-grazed?
We wanted to emphasize that we go beyond just giving our cows grass to eat. Our cows enjoy fresh grass on pasture! Over the past few decades many studies have revealed that pasture-feeding is much healthier for the cows, the consumers, and the planet! Studies have shown that dairy from pasture-grazed cows have shown to have higher levels of Omega-3's and Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA's). Cow's on pasture have shown to greatly reduce the carbon-output of the farm. It affects the soil positively as well with increased soil depth and soil vitality.
How are your cows fed during the winter?
In the midwest there are few months out of every year when the ground is covered with snow or is muddy from the rain and melting snow. During these times the cows are fed dried, stored grasses that have been harvested during the peak of the summer when the grass is growing well and is nutrient rich for the cows. Our farmers are allowed to minimally supplement their cows feed with organic feed such as corn, soybeans, wheat or barley. This additional food supplement is for the cows health. We want to ensure the cow is receiving as much energy as she needs to maintain her health and body-condition.
Do you have holistic vets using natural medicine or conventional medicines used on most farms?
First, our cow's health is critical to our farmers. Having small herds in a low-stress environment (pasture-grazed) means that not only are our cows rarely ill, our farmers notice a change in a cows mood or feeling quickly because they know their cows like family. Our farmers do use the advice and help from holistic vets. They use holistic medicine like herbal tinctures, salves, etc. If needed because a cow needs a stronger medicine, the cow would be given antibiotics so they wouldn't needlessly suffer. At that point the cow would be sold to a neighboring non-organic farmer. Because of the way our cows are taken care of, our cows routinely live and milk for 10 - 15 years. Unfortunately this is contrasted in conventional farms operations where cows typically live 5 years or less.
How are cows milked?
Our farmers use two different methods: automatic vacuum milker and milking by hand. A vacuum milker gently milks the cow in 3 to 4 minutes using a pulsating vacuum. On many of our farms this is generated by a diesel engine outside the barn (diesel engines are used because many of our farmers are Amish, and do no use electricity). With the hand milking system, the cows are milk in a traditional manner by hand. Very few of our farms hand milk as they generally understand a vacuum milker is gentler and quicker for the cow.
How do cows produce milk?
Cows are mammals which produce milk after having a calf. All of our farmers give their calves their mothers milk for the first few weeks. This ensures the calves receive a healthy start in life and they get to spend some needed time with their mother.
How do farmers breed cows?
Our farmers chose the method in which they breed their cows. Many of our farms have a bull around that acts as the stud for all of the cows. However, bulls can be dangerous and because all of our farms are family operations, a farmer may chose to use in vitro fertilization for the cow. This also allows the farmer to choose the best genetics for their herd. For instance, the genetics for performing on grass are best determined by the bull's genetics, and some of the finest bull genetics for this type of behavior come from New Zealand.
Is your packaging BPA/BPS free?
Yes, Kalona SuperNatural packing is BPA/BPS free.
Why do you use plastic instead of glass?
We did an extensive amount of research on packaging when we first launched the Kalona SuperNatural™ brand, and what we found is that the environmental benefits of glass vs plastic are over-estimated. Specifically:
- In the dairy industry, glass bottles must be made of virgin--not recycled--glass.
- Glass bottles require return shipping which has a larger carbon footprint then plastic going only one-way.
- Washing and cleaning bottles requires additional facilities and waste.
- Glass bottles frequently break and many retailers do not light glass packaging due to breakage and extra weight.
Please note that when choosing our bottles, we picked packaging that are BPA-free and BPS-free. The clear plastic bottles also allow customers to see the condition of the milk, and our 16oz, 32oz, and 64oz bottles contain a special UV inhibitor that helps protect the milk from light (oxidation.)
We are hopeful that packaging companies will develop new, more sustainable packaging that we can use in the future. They are working on it!
Is your packaging recyclable?
All of our product packaging is fully recyclable, and most recycling centers should be able to accept our packaging for recycling. We do encourage you to check with your municipality for specific recycling policies, as capabilities do vary from city to city.
What is your sustainability policy?
We at Kalona SuperNatural honor your commitment to a healthy household and planet by working with small, family farms to bring you organic milk from pasture-grazed cows. Sustainability is a key practice of these small farms, many of which are Amish and Mennonite. Our farmers use biological and mechanical processes to control pests; rotate crops to maintain nutrient-rich soil; use techniques that minimize soil erosion; and avoid monocropping to maintain biodiversity. Organic farms also use animal waste as fertilizer; collect rainwater for irrigation; or grow the feed for the animals they raise. We maintain this standard of sustainability as we gently process our products, minimizing packaging by not using cardboard casing for our milk, and utilizing recyclable packaging materials. Furthermore, our butter cartons are made with 100% wind energy. Our main offices are powered by solar energy.
For questions about products please visit the specific product page.