Purpose Built

Fond du Lac Farms' was designed from the ground up to be a raw milk facility. Every decision was made with the thought of our cows’ comfort and cleanliness in mind.

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Why the Brown Swiss?

At Fond du Lac Farms we place a high priority on what we feed our cattle. We believe that what we feed our girls directly affects the quality of the milk they produce.

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Jul 17 2014

What are the benefits to drinking raw milk?

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Raw milk is a unique, complete food. Raw milk contains all essential enzymes, whereas less than 10% remain in pasteurized milk. Often, people who would consider themselves "Lactose Intolerant" are able to enjoy raw milk because it contains "lactase." Lactase is one of the enzymes that is destroyed during the pasteurization process. This peculiar enzyme helps with pre-digestion of the milk in your stomach. This means that your body can more readily utilize all the nutrients available in raw milk. Protein is 100% available as well as all 22 amino acids, including 8 that are essential. All 18 fatty acids are metabolically available; Vitamins are 100% available, whereas in milk that is pasteurized they are significantly altered. Minerals are all 100% metabolically available. Calcium is altered by heat during pasteurization and the loss can be as much as 50% or more.

Is Raw milk dangerous?

No food is 100% safe. Raw milk is no more, or less, dangerous than any other unprocessed food. The potential pathogens that may occur in raw milk are the same as those which can occur in other foods such as leafy green produce, beef, chicken, pork, seafood, as well as pasteurized and processed dairy products. There is nothing about raw milk that would make it more or less likely to contain these organisms.

Fond du Lac Farms is licensed by the State of Arizona to produce Grade A Raw milk for consumption. We are regularly inspected by the Arizona Department of Agriculture for milk quality, cleanliness, and pathogens. We feel this partnership helps to ensure a clean, quality and healthy product.

When asked whether unpasteurized milk is safe for human consumption during a California Supreme Court hearing, Dr. Beals, a board certified pathologist, responded with the following: “my opinion is that it is, and historically it’s been shown clearly that it is. Pasteurization was only introduced in about 1900. And the history of human consumption of milk goes well back before recorded history. And, as a matter of fact, in recorded history we know that the domestication of animals for the purpose of providing fluid milk for human consumption is present in almost all civilizations around the world. And recorded history and historians have well documented the fact that this consumption of milk was in fact very advantageous to civilization. If a food is unsafe for consumption, it is very quickly eliminated from the diet of cultures. And in fact history shows that the consumption of milk from domestic animals has persisted throughout history, and on the basis of that, I don't believe that there's any argument but that the consumption of fresh milk is in fact safe, confers competitive advantage to those that drink it."

How long will Raw milk last?

Raw milk should last approximately two weeks. Raw milk is a perishable food. However, this doesn't mean it will sour quickly. Instead, it changes and degrades quickly. Even if it does not sour, after a couple weeks the cream will become very thick and will not mix back together with the nonfat. The vitamins will degrade along with the enzymes which will change consistency and flavor. Raw milk is best when consumed within the first week. Just like with any other raw product, FRESH IS BEST!!!!

What does Fond du Lac Farms feed its cows?

Our cows are fed naturally grown and non-GMO dried pasture grass. They are not fed corn, soy, or any other grain byproduct.

Are Fond du Lac Farms' cows grazed on pasture?

Fond du Lac Farms is a traditionally operated dairy. It is not possible to "naturally" graze cattle in the desert for a number of reasons:

Contrary to what you may have heard or have seen in pictures, total year-round pasture feeding is not normal or natural for dairy cattle. It is not the way DAIRY cattle have historically been managed. What would be typical is for a cow to have access to pasture ONLY during a natural growing season, while still receiving supplemental feed. We are located in the desert and one of the hottest and driest areas in the country which is why we bring in natural and organic hay predominantly from local Arizona farmers. Year-round pasture feeding of DAIRY cattle would require artificial creation of a year-round pasture by intensive flood irrigation, which requires a lot of water, a limited resource in Arizona. That being said, we feel we would be doing a disservice to our state, nation and world by unnecissarily wasting such an important resource.

A couple important agricultural facts:

  1. Hay is dried Pasture
  2. Grain is grass seed.
  3. Dairy cattle are different than beef cattle, and thus require a different diet

These feeds (hay, grain, pasture) are completely natural and important feeds for dairy cattle. This of course, is dependent on the availability of these resources. All of these components have historically been a part of a dairy cows' diet. When pasture is cut, dried out and put in a bale, it is called HAY. When a pasture matures and is not cut it develops seeds, or GRAIN. When this occurs the nutrition within the leaves and stems decreases and the nutrition within the SEEDS/GRAIN increases.

A high-quality producing dairy cow cannot thrive on green pasture alone. Even the best pasture will not contain the nutrients needed for a dairy cow to produce milk. Feeding hay and grain in the diet is feeding concentrated pasture. When pasture is dried into hay the nutritional value is tenfold. Dairy cattle need the best available feed to maintain their weight and stay metabolically sound. Just as you might go to a nutritionist, a nutritionist is hired to help us balance a ration to keep our herd physically fit. Dairy cattle need the highest nutritional valued feed. What they receive is labeled SUPREME and (as you can imagine!) is also the most expensive.

Historically, no dairy based culture has ever tried to create year round pastures to feed their cattle. It makes no sense with respect to cow nutrition, water usage, or energy input. Historically, farmers have worked the natural cycles, utilizing pasture if it was available. It is more typical that pasture hay and grain would be harvested and stored to feed cattle throughout the year. Dairy cattle must have a consistent diet EVERYDAY. They don't like change nor can their bodies easily adapt to feed changes. The bacterium in their stomachs helps to convert the feed into milk. This good bacterium is created through a consistent diet. When a cows' diet is disrupted or changed, corrections must be made gradually. Usually, over the course of two weeks (minimum) a nutritionally stressed cow will be susceptible to many infectious and metabolic diseases. The cow will suffer as will her production and milk quality. (For example, ketosis is a metabolic disease that can be caused by inadequate nutrition during lactation. If dextrose levels are not restored to a good balance within the cow, she could die very quickly.)

  • "ANIMAL HUSBANDRY" is what we do at Fond du Lac Farms.
  • We care for dairy cattle 365 days a year.
  • We will only feed the highest quality organic hay and non-GMO grains available to us.
  • We take great pride in both the health of our cows and our ability to care for them.

Is Fond du Lac farms Organic?

Fond du Lac Farms is not “certified organic” for two reasons: First, there is not an organic certification proprietary within the state of Arizona for dairies. Anyone claiming organic status in Arizona does not have anyone monitoring their production practices locally. Secondly, to pay thousands of dollars a year to the government for a piece of paper that essentially has no real value is not how we choose to do business. We do not want to be certified organic because we do not agree completely with the organic regulations, both with their strictness in some areas and their laxness in others. Nor do we want to be roped into other conventional certified organic dairies which can have some of the worst conditions and poorest quality milk on the market.

The term "organic" is like other good ideas that have been taken over by our government and large marketing groups to make more money. Rather than dairies meeting higher standards, organic standards have been made more lax so that dairies can meet them without altering their existing procedures.

At Fond du Lac Farms we have our own well defined ideas about how a farm should be managed. We do not need other dairies or committees or government to tell us how to do it.

With respect to organic status, what we have chosen to do is maintain our own standards independent of a certification process and simply let our customers know what those are. They are as follows:

  1. We feed our cows nothing but non-GMO hay
  2. We do not use GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms)
  3. We do not use hormone treatments
  4. We do not use prophylactic antibiotics on the milking herd
  5. We do not bottle milk from any other source other than our own
  6. We treat our cattle with dignity every day

What breed of cows does Fond du Lac Farms have?

We have registered Brown Swiss cattle. They are referred to as a "heritage breed" and are perhaps the oldest of all dairy breeds. Brown Swiss originated in the valleys and mountain slopes of Switzerland around 4000 B.C., according to some historians.

Brown Swiss cattle can be grayish, dark brown, tan or even almost white in color. Their hooves, muzzle and switch are usually black. They are often noted for their big floppy ears and docile temperament.

Brown Swiss can withstand both hot and cold climates and thrive in a variety of terrains and management systems. Their longevity, dairy strength and outstanding feet and legs make Brown Swiss cattle a great fit for any dairy farm.

Brown Swiss can yield large volumes of milk with high components, boasting an ideal fat to protein ratio for cheese making. A typical Brown Swiss will have a minimum 4% butterfat and 3.5%protein, but is usually higher. In contrast, Holsteins are typically around 3.5% butterfat and 3.2% protein. Brown Swiss milk is much richer than any milk you could ever buy in a store.

Although Brown Swiss are low maintenance, high producing, adaptable cows that live a long time and are a great fit for us as dairy producers, it's much more than that for us. It is highly personal. We truly are in love with these special creatures that the Lord has entrusted to us. Our animals know us and trust us. Words really can't sum up the feelings we have for them. While we can appreciate any breed of cattle, we have a special love for Brown Swiss.

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