July 2, 2012

What The Heck is Grassmilk, and Why Should You Care?

At B-line, we see ourselves as much more than simply an emissions free cargo carrier. We are a connector of people, businesses, and community with food often being the common denominator. From producer to seller, and seller to those in need, we are an integral part of food finding its best use, across the urban core, affordably and emissions free. This enables restaurant owners, artisanal food makers, and grocers to focus on their core business and crafts while we take care of getting the product to them and their product out in the market.  Our partners on one side of the equation are progressive companies like Organically Grown Company, Pearl Bakery, Grand Central Bakery, Dave's Killer Bread, and Portland Roasting Company and stores like Whole Foods Market & Food Fight and restaurants like Bijou Cafe Prasad, Portobello, and many more!

The same goes for Organic Valley, which is a farmer owned cooperative of providers that takes a holistic view of our local food systems and communities.

Recently they introduced what they call Grassmilk. No, it’s not another “milk” made from an unorthodox source like almonds, but instead is milk that comes from cows eating a diet of exclusively grass. Though milk commercials may imply otherwise, this is rare thing to come across, as cows are typically fed grains and soybeans as well. Rarer still is that it’s non-homogenized or “cream on the top.” Yes, it’s milk of a bygone era, that you shake before drinking. As Organic Valley puts it,

The flavor of Grassmilk™ differs, too, because of the animals' diet. Though it will vary slightly from season to season depending on which plants are dominant in the pasture at certain times of year, the easiest way to sum up the flavor is to say it has a barely perceptible light herbal flavor. Some refer to it as a ‘grassy’ note.

This takes milk in a different direction, like honey, whose flavor likewise varies depending on where and what the bees are pollinating.

In a way this is symbolic of Organic Valley in general, and their desire for you to be aware of the source of your food, enjoying its regional nuances and that it came from a farmer that cares enough to commit to practicing environmentally friendly methods, supporting their family in a sustainable way, together with all the other Organic Valley farmers.

Taking cues from the wine and chocolate industry, this milk comes from a single source: The Northern California coastal plain. Organic Valley says, “Giant redwoods stand sentinel between the Pacific Ocean and the lush pastures where Grassmilk cows dine.”

Grassmilk is currently available at Whole Foods Market and a number of stores locally, and in keeping with the region specific origin, is available only in Oregon, Washington, California, Utah and Colorado.

But the benefits go beyond good taste:

Pastured cows produce less methane, a greenhouse gas and a major contributor to global climate change. Grassland itself is a great carbon sink, which means it’s highly capable of absorbing and containing carbon. And when cows feed themselves and fertilize the land their own pastures, farmers have less need for fuel consuming equipment.

It’s this whole systems view that Organic Valley takes as a business that B-line supports, and we are actively helping build awareness, via things like our upcoming Grassmilk promotional events, taking our always attention getting cargo trikes to locations around Portland, giving people the opportunity to try for themselves and learn more about this unique product. Come and join us and see how Organic Valley's cow's really "KICK GRASS!”

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