Hudson Valley Fresh Company Values
As one of our dairy suppliers, we trust Hudson Valley Fresh Dairy to provide some of the best quality dairy products in the area. Keep reading to see what Hudson Valley Fresh has to say about their practices.
Hudson Valley Fresh Dairy LLC is dedicated to preserving the agricultural heritage of the Hudson River Valley while producing fresh, premium-quality dairy products. We believe in supporting sustainable agriculture and are currently preserving 7000 acres of open land in Columbia, Dutchess, and Ulster Counties. Our mission is to secure living wages for our farmers and their families, who are the owners of Hudson Valley Fresh. Our farmers have won numerous dairy quality awards in recognition of their efforts to maximize cow comfort and ensure facility cleanliness, allowing us to provide a minimally pasteurized, non-standardized whole milk as rich and nutritious as the cows provide it – taste the difference today!
Good udder health is essential for producing premium quality milk. Bacteria, like E. coli, can cause several commonly known cow ailments like mastitis [painful inflammation of the mammary glands] and udder infections. Somatic cells are leukocytes (white blood cells) which mobilize to make sure the milk is free from these infections. Every tank of milk is tested for Somatic Cell Counts (SCC) – an essential test that monitors the health of the herd. Elevated somatic cell counts are an early indication of infection and thus measure overall cow well-being.
The federal government’s legal limit on bulk milk is 750,000 cells per milliliter – most commercial AND organic dairy farms have an average of 420,000 cells per milliliter. The somatic cell count of every one of Hudson Valley Fresh’s farms is under 200,000 per mL at all times, a standard all farms had to prove for a year before entering Hudson Valley Fresh — the common range is actually from 45,000 to 160,000 per mL on our farms, which is unheard of in the industry. The average SCC for all farms as a group is 110-120,000 per mL. This all means that we offer far cleaner milk than you will find anywhere else. There is no better milk bottled that has that quality standard. And the lower the somatic cell count, the better the taste. Our low SCC counts are what make for a more flavorful latte, ice cream or cream cheese.
Strictest quality standards!
We are vigilant in our adherence to the strictest quality standards possible. On a monthly basis Hudson Valley Fresh voluntarily mandates additional testing of each cow via the Dairy Herd Information Association (DHIA) for the same SCC criteria. This information is on a national registry for public viewing.
Hay, hay, hay!
A varied diet makes happier cows and better tasting milk. Hudson Valley Fresh cows get fed a combination of alfalfa, oats, barley, soybeans, corn silage and lots and lots of hay – currently our farmers average about 65% forage! A diet rich in hay is better for a cow’s immune system [and acts as an incentive for the cow to chew her cud more – we count 32 chews per mouthful!] Hay and healthy chewing combined means more omega-3 fatty acids in the milk, and a better ratio between omega 3 and 6, providing a better overall quality cream.
More omega 3’s!
Omega 3’s are crucial for normal growth, brain function and development and are known to reduce inflammation and can lower the risk of heart disease as well as other chronic diseases. Low somatic cell counts [SCC] means more omega-3 fatty acids, because the cow’s immune system is not being stressed in the same way as cows with an SCC of 450,000- 600,000 cells per mL. Organic milks often advertise they use a synthetic Omega 3 additive, but at Hudson Valley Fresh, we don’t have to! By focusing on taking great care of the cows from the start, our cows produce more Omega 3’s all naturally, no synthetic additives necessary.
No rBST, rBGH, ever!
Hudson Valley Fresh never has and never will use artificial metabolic hormones like recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST) or recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) which have been approved for use since 1993 by the Food and Drug Administration. While the health implications for both humans and cows continue to be studied, Hudson Valley Fresh chose to avoid artificial growth hormones altogether and focus on good old-fashioned cow comfort and care to ensure the absolute highest quality of milk that is available on the market today.
We process all our milk in Kingston, NY, where our milk is never co-mingled with other farms. That ensures 100% source-ability and a consistent taste and more importantly, quality! We guarantee that Hudson Valley Fresh milk is from Hudson Valley Fresh farms, never milk bought out on the open market. What other dairy company can say that?
From our cows to your table in 3 days!
We believe fresh is best, so our milk arrives at local grocery stores within 3 days of leaving the farm, with strict quality control check points along the way. Milk, and more often, dairy-substitutes, can travel hundreds or even thousands of miles before arriving to your local grocery store. Hudson Valley Fresh is committed to decreasing food miles, or the amount of miles from the farm to you, to ensure our milk is the freshest available – locally produced, locally processed, locally sold!
We are NOT ultra-pasteurized!
For optimum flavor and quality, we do not ultra-pasteurize our milk. We pasteurize for only 20 seconds at 166 degrees. That’s in contrast to much of the industrial and more commonly, organic milks, which are ultra-pasteurized, meaning heated to 280F – changing not only the flavor of the milk but the nature of the protein. Milk with higher somatic cell counts or products that need to travel farther distances need to be ultra pasteurized to extend shelf life. Heating the milk at the higher temperature breaks down lipase and protease, undesirable enzymes which rise proportionally with the somatic cell count, but in our opinion, leaves the milk flavorless as many good proteins and enzymes are broken down as well! We stand by the difference in flavor of our fresher, minimally pasteurized products!
Our farmers have been collectively recognized as some of the best producers in the Northeast. They have received awards including the Northeast Dairy Herd Improvement Award, New England Green Pastures Award, and Conservation Farm of the Year Award. One of our farmers has even won the National Dairy Quality Award from the National Mastitis Council not once, not twice, but a total of six times, making him the only producer to ever do so. Can another milk company say that?
We meet the strictest standards of kosher law and are certified kosher by KOF-K Kosher Supervision, one of the foremost kosher certification agencies in the United States.
New York State Grown and Certified!
The New York State Grown & Certified program makes it easy for consumers to identify local, safely-handled, and environmentally responsible agricultural products. This voluntary program is a cooperative effort among producers, processors, wholesalers, retailers, restaurants, and the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets to meet consumer demand for high-quality food and agricultural products.