Brainspace was invited to Sheldon Creek Dairy farm for an education on milk. We asked why almond, soy and lactose-free milks were becoming so popular. Read about milk sensitivities and the process of homogenization on page 19. Our tour guide, Marianne den Haan, comes from a long tradition of dairy farming. When her grandparents immigrated from Holland after World War II, they settled in the Holland Landing area of southern Ontario. They spent three years working hard for local farms. In 1953, the dream of having a farm of their own became real. Since then, their expertise and passion for dairy farming has been passed down to three generations. From the care of the cow to the processing of the milk, a dairy farmer’s attention to every detail is critical to getting the tasty, cold glass of milk you enjoy on a hot summer day.

Milk is the primary dietary source of Vitamin D and most reliable source of dietary calcium; both nutrients are increasingly recognized as being beneficial to overall health. To build strong bones during childhood, and help prevent osteoporosis later in life, it’s critical that children get enough calcium and vitamin D by consuming the recommended food guide servings of Milk and Alternatives every day.

MILKING COWS

The most common breed of dairy cows in Canada is the Holstein. Holstein cows are black and white and each cow has a unique pattern. A cow has four stomachs and 32 teeth. Odds are high that when you see a cow, it’s chewing. In fact, the cow is ruminating. A cow chews grass, partially swallows it into one stomach chamber and regurgitates it up its mouth to chew it again. The ruminating allows a cow to digest grass easily. We bet the only kind of ruminating you like to do is the thinking kind.

Did You Know that what a cow eats affects the flavour of your milk? “Our cows are grain-fed. The slightest change in the quality of feed, such as mildew or mould, will affect the pure taste of the milk. An inspector comes to sniff the silos on a regular basis for any contaminants in the grain,” Marianne tells us. Cows eat about 35 kg (77 lbs) of food a day and drink a bathtub full of water.

The Simple Processing of Milk