The Start of It All
In 1933 the U.S. Public Health Service passed the first Milk Ordinance and Code. This document outlined the legal parameters for labeling and selling milk as pasteurized.
During this time many people were getting sick and dying from diseases that were carried in raw milk. In order to reduce the risk of Americans getting sick, the government made it mandatory for milk to be pasteurized before it could be sold to customers.
This marked a huge turning point for our business because at the time we were one of many small local farms that were milking our cows and delivering it to neighboring customers. When the law passed dairy farmers were left with three options: sell their cows and stop producing milk, continue milking cows but send the milk to a centralized processing center, or purchase the equipment needed to pasteurize on farm.
Ernest Wright, 2nd generation, decided to invest in the equipment and establish an on farm dairy processing facility. Although the equipment has been updated, we continue to pasteurize all of our own milk on farm today.
From Moo to You – The Process
Down in the milking parlor there is a refrigerated stainless steel tank that holds 2,000 gallons of milk. In order to get this milk to our dairy we pump it up using a state of the art stainless steel pipe line.
Next time you drive by the milking parlor on your way in look up. You'll notice the two pipes crossing over the driveway right before pulling into the parking lot.
When raw milk is transported on a truck it is subject to agitation. Agitation causes the milk to oxidize decreasing quality, taste, and shelf life.
Once it's up in the dairy the pasteurization process begins. First stop is the separator. This machine acts like a centrifuge.
It filters out any tiny particles of dust or dirt that may have gotten introduced down on the farm.
The separator also allows us to 'separate' the milk from the cream. By turning the appropriate dials cream is removed to make skim and 2% milk.
From here the milk travels on to get homogenized.
High Temperature Short Time
After this step the milk is heated to 165 degrees and held at that temperature for a minimum of 15 seconds before being rapidly chilled and sent to the bottler. This type of processing is called High Temperature Short Time (HTST). The bottler fills and caps the various sized containers before they are packed into crates and brought down into the store or set aside for deliveries.
The entire process is recorded on a chart and checked by the state quarterly to ensure we are keeping up with best practices.