Is the yogurt made from raw milk?
Sidehill Farm yogurt is made from pasteurized, but unhomogenized milk. Because our milk is not homogenized, you will see a layer of cream that rises to the top of all the flavors of yogurt. Raw milk yogurt is not legal for sale in the US. If you would like to make your own raw milk yogurt at home, pick up a gallon of our raw milk at the farm, and use our yogurt as the starter culture!
Why no non-fat yogurt?
Fat in the milk of grass-fed cows is different from that found in grain-fed cows.
Milk and meat from grass-fed cows have much higher levels of Omega-3 fatty acids – the “good fats”, and lower levels of unhealthy Omega-6's – the “bad fats”. Most importantly, Omega 3s and Omega 6s in grass-fed milk are in balance – a ratio that is optimal for good health. Grass-fed milk is also an excellent source of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) – another “good fat” that research is beginning to show might play a role in fighting cancer.
We all need some fat in our diet – ideally from healthy, balanced sources. At Sidehill Farm, we put a lot of effort into creating the optimal conditons for healthy cows, in part because this leads to delicious, mineral-rich, high-protein milk- milk which has a fat component that provides necessary nutrients and energy and supports human health. Now, we are not fanatics- we understand that not everyone enjoys the richness of whole milk yogurt, and that not everyone needs all those calories. The lowfat yogurt is actually our compromise with the realities of 21st century life! We feel that nonfat yogurt just departs too far from our mission of providing whole foods that supply a full range of nutrients for human health.
Do you produce all the milk for the yogurt?
In 2014, we will produce the vast majority of the milk that we need for yogurt right here on the farm. The remainder is bought from two small local grass-fed dairies. We are very picky about the quality of milk that goes into our yogurt, and therefore picky about who we buy from. Both of these dairies are owned by friends, so we know they treat their cows and their land with the same care that we do. We are currently growing our herd to be able to produce a higher proportion of the milk, but we also like buying milk. We are able to pay a good price for high-quality milk, and feel good about contributing to the survival of other small dairies.
Why does the texture of the yogurt change slightly from season to season?
Because our cows are on pasture, choosing the plants that they need for optimum health, the makeup of their diet changes from season to season, and in some cases, from day to day. Certain grasses thrive in cooler weather, others prefer the heat. Clovers and herbs flower, set seed, and go dormant. Even in winter, the hay the cows eat varies according to where and when it was cut. These dietary variations directly affect the levels of butterfat, protein, and sugars in the milk, and cause corresponding changes in the consistency of the yogurt. We see this as a sign that our yogurt is real food, made from milk from cows that eat real food for cows. We hope you can see that too, and enjoy the natural seasonal variations.
Can you ship me a cooler of yogurt?
Unfortunately, we are not currently set up to ship yogurt to individual customers. The combination of weight, refrigeration, and need for overnight delivery make shipping costs many times more than the yogurt itself.
Where do you sell raw milk aside from the farm shop?
Massachusetts state regulations state that raw milk can only be sold at the farm where it is produced, so you need to come to us for raw milk. But it’s a beautiful drive, and a lovely spot for a picnic, so come visit!
How long will the milk keep?
The key to keeping raw milk fresh is to keep it cold. Please bring a cooler (or at least a towel to wrap it in) when you come to pick it up, and please don‘t leave the jug out on the table during meals! The milk will keep at least a week past the sell-by date – many people find that it keeps much longer than that! Many customers have found that milk keeps longer in glass bottles; presumably glass is less permeable to oxygen, etc. than the plastic. When raw milk does start to turn, instead of spoiling into nasty rancidness, it sours. Sour cream, cultured buttermilk, and yogurt are all milk soured with specific bacterial cultures. Clean milk from healthy cows contains many beneficial bacteria. These natural bacteria in the milk are slowly multiplying, and while they haven't been selected for flavor (like yogurt, etc), once the milk sours it is still excellent for baking and pancakes.
Do I need to order ahead for milk?
We keep the milk fridge stocked to the best of our ability. Everything is self-serve, so come whenever it’s convenient for you. Please call ahead if you are looking for more than 4 gallons at a time. We love carpool groups and clubs – please contact us to arrange your own special day for milk pickup!
Can we visit the farm?
Visitors are always welcome to pick up milk, yogurt, and beef, and to walk around on a self-guided tour. We try to schedule one farm tour per month from June through October so that people can come meet the cows and view our milking facilities. We post the tour schedule on the website as soon as we are able in the spring. If you have a group or club that would like to arrange for a special tour, please contact us to make arrangements.