Health, Local foods, Product info, Today on the Farm

HOW IT’S MADE: ‘Legendairy’ milk!

Hansen_Dairy_milk_filling
Brad Hansen and Hannah Nelson bottle half-gallons of whole milk at the Hansen’s Dairy farm creamery in Hudson, Iowa.

It’s June Dairy Month, and here at Hansen’s Dairy, we are celebrating all of our fresh dairy products! Each week in June we will post a new segment in our “How It’s Made” series. This week we are featuring our genuine, nutritious and delicious milk!

In February of this year, we celebrated the 15th anniversary of processing our own milk on the farm. We have been so blessed to live in an area where the community supports us local food producers. With the low milk prices of the dairy industry today, many small dairy farmers are going out of business. We are fortunate that we have been able to support five owner families and employ another 25 people while living this dream of ours.

Hansen_Dairy_milking_cows
Blake Hansen preps cows for milking at Hansen’s Dairy farm in Hudson, Iowa.

We currently milk about 130 purebred Holsteins twice a day. Our cows are born and raised on our farm and are never treated with growth hormones. The milk is processed three times a week and distributed to dozens of places in Eastern Iowa.

Here are a few things that make our milk different from many other brands of milk on the shelf:

  • Hansen’s Dairy produces creamline (non-homogenized) milk, so the cream rises to the top. Homogenization breaks up the fat globules of milk so that the particles are uniformly sized and won’t separate. Since Hansen’s milk is non-homogenized, that means that the cream rises to the top. It should be shaken before being served. Unlike pasteurization (heating the milk to kill bacteria), homogenization is not required to sell milk. We choose not to homogenize to keep the milk in its most natural state. Some people who have trouble digesting milk have told us that they don’t have a problem with our milk, which we attribute to the non-homogenization. If that’s you, maybe you should give it a try!
  • Our milk is extremely fresh. The milk a cow gives on the morning of a processing day is pasteurized, delivered to our retail stores, and could be bought and served at your table that night.
  • Our milk is “single source,” which means it comes only from our closed herd of cows. At larger processing plants, many different farms’ milk is being blended together. You can tour our farm and see exactly where the cows live, what they eat and how they are milked. And then you know exactly what goes into the jug!

So how is it processed?

Check out the video below for actual footage of processing milk in our creamery.

We process whole, 1% and skim milk into gallons and half-gallons three times each week.

The first step in the process is to send the milk through the cream separator, which clarifies the milk and also removes some of the fat.

Hansen_Dairy_cream_separator
Cream is collected from the milk separator and bottled as heavy whipping cream, and is also used to make butter and ice cream at Hansen’s Dairy creamery in Hudson, Iowa.

The cream that is collected from the separator is later packaged as heavy whipping cream in quarts and gallons or used to make our butter and ice cream.

The next step is to pasteurize the milk. This process heats the milk to at least 165 degrees for 15 seconds to eliminate any bacteria.

Hansen_Dairy_milk_pasteurized
Brad Hansen operates the pasteurizer at the Hansen’s Dairy creamery in Hudson, Iowa.

After being pasteurized, the milk is ready to be bottled. Labels are placed on the empty jugs. The jugs travel on the conveyor belt to the carousel where milk fills the jug. Another machine stamps the sell-by date on the jug.

The cap is then put in place and sealed. The full jug travels down the conveyor belt and into the cooler.  There the milk will be stacked in crates and put on the delivery truck. Hansen’s milk is delivered to our own retail stores and other grocery stores, restaurants, coffee shops, daycares and retirement homes in Eastern Iowa.

Hansen_Dairy_skim_milk_filling
Gallons of skim milk are bottled at Hansen’s Dairy creamery in Hudson, Iowa.

Enjoy your Hansen’s milk, and remember to shake well before serving!

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Health

The Whole Story: Are full-fat dairy products actually good for you?

By Disa Cornish

hansenbutterOne of my favorite snacks growing up was one my dad would make. And his mom, my grandma, served it with dinner in the trailer at the lake in Okoboji. A bread and butter sandwich. With “tooth butter” – butter thick enough to leave tooth marks when you took a bite. Sometimes we’d shake things up and sprinkle a little sugar on it for fun. Or a couple of pickle slices. But bread and butter was usually enough.

Then I grew up and learned about “eating healthy” and “cholesterol” and “low-fat” and other things that were part of a balanced and nutritious diet. Bread and butter sandwiches were not on the list. Nor was the 2% milk we always drank for dinner. Skim all the way.

But in the last few years I’ve heard some rumblings about fat being – gasp! – good for you. Specifically, animal fats like dairy. We’ve rounded up some research findings and medical evidence for why full-fat dairy products like butter and whole milk are actually better for you than their low-fat alternatives like margarine and skim milk.

  • Some vitamins are fat soluble – they are absorbed with fat. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are all fat soluble. If you don’t eat enough fat, your body won’t be able to absorb those vitamins properly. Deficiencies in these vitamins can cause problems in the brain and the body.
  • Hansen-Whole_MilkEating higher fat dairy products may actually help you keep the pounds off. A 2013 study of men in rural Sweden found that men who didn’t eat butter and drank low-fat milk at the beginning of the study were more likely to become obese. Men who ate more whipped cream, butter, and whole milk at the beginning of the study were less likely to become obese. And, in another review of European studies, consuming dairy was linked to lower risk of obesity.
  • Eating margarine instead of butter may increase your risk for heart disease. All the way back in 1997, the Framingham study in Massachusetts found that people who ate margarine instead of butter had an increased chance of developing coronary heart disease over 10 years. In other words, eating margarine raised their risk of having a heart attack. People who ate butter had no change in their risk.
  • Real food is better for you than fake food. The more food is processed and changed from its original form, the more important vitamins and minerals are lost. Butter and whole milk are whole foods, unchanged and left just the way nature intended.

So…think about it. If you’re a margarine person, maybe think about switching it up from time to time and adding butter to your family’s table. If you’re a skim milk person, consider drinking a glass of 1% or whole milk once in a while. But the bottom line is that you shouldn’t be afraid of a little whipped cream or butter now and then. It’s the sugar and processing that should make you stop and think!

Sources:

“Butter is Back” by Mark Bittman; published in the New York Times online on March 25, 2014. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/26/opinion/bittman-butter-is-back.html?_r=0

“7 Reasons Why Butter is Good for You” by Kris Gunnars; published online at http://authoritynutrition.com/7-reasons-why-butter-is-good-for-you/

“A Different Kind of Love: Fat and Me” by Jennifer McLagan; published online at http://leitesculinaria.com/66559/writings-why-animal-fat-is-good.html

“The Full-Fat Paradox: Whole Milk May Keep Us Lean” by Allison Aubrey; February 12, 2014 story on National Public Radio online at http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/02/12/275376259/the-full-fat-paradox-whole-milk-may-keep-us-lean

Cooking with the Hansens, Family, For kids, Health

Our Favorite Dairy Snacks – for June Dairy Month!

In honor of Dairy Month, we decided to show you a few of our favorite easy to make dairy snacks!

Smoothies: A great way to beat that nasty Iowa heat. Combine yogurt, milk, ice cubes and your favorite fruits and blend to make a tasty, refreshing treat! For an extra-thick smoothie with added calcium, include a spoonful of milk powder. For addition protein, toss in a spoonful of peanut butter with a banana and vanilla yogurt – yum yum!

Ice Pops: A great snack for kids on the go! Mix leftover smoothies from the above recipe or 100% fruit juice, yogurt and fruit like raspberries, strawberries or blueberries. Pour into ice cube trays and pop in the freezer for a sweet, frozen snack!

Parfaits: Parfaits are easily made by layering yogurt, fresh fruit and granola or chopped nuts. Looking for something a little different? Use cottage cheese in place of the yogurt!          Image (photo from blueprintforbeauty.com)

Mini Pizzas: A tasty, filling snack. Simply spread pizza sauce onto a whole grain English muffin and top with a small handful of shredded mozzarella cheese. For a heartier pizza, add lean hamburger, Canadian bacon and green peppers or mushrooms. Pop it in the oven for 3-5 minutes and enjoy your yummy, cheesy snack!

Fruit Pinwheels: Spread cream cheese and/or protein-packed peanut butter onto soft, whole grain tortillas. Add small pieces of fresh fruit, then roll and slice.

Quesadillas: Pack whole grain tortillas with shredded cheese, beans, corn, tomatoes and onions. You can also add cooked, cubed beef, pork or chicken. Heat in the microwave until cheese is melted. Serve with sour cream and salsa.                                                                                                                      Image (photo from babble.com)

Fruit Kebabs: Layer fruits like berries, melon and pineapple on a kebab stick. Serve with yogurt or a dip such as softened cream cheese with a touch of drizzled honey and a drop of vanilla.

Whole Grain Waffle Sticks: Transform messy whole grain waffles into an easy-to-eat handheld snack by slicing them into small rectangles. Serve with softened cream cheese and fruit spread.

For additional recipes and to learn more about dairy foods, dairy farms and healthy eating, check out these websites:

  • Midwestdairy.com
  • Dairyfarmingtoday.org
  • 3aday.org
  • Nutrientrichfoods.org

Leave your favorite dairy recipes in the comments below!

Farm animals, For kids, Health, Product info, Quiz

Test Your Knowledge of Hansen’s Dairy!

This month, Hudson’s 4th grade class visited Hansen’s Dairy for an educational field trip. To test their listening skills, we put together this 20-question quiz.

Have YOU visited the Hansen’s farm lately? Want to test your knowledge about Hansen’s Farm Fresh Dairy? Give the quiz below a shot!

Or, if you’re curious to learn more about Hansen’s Dairy and their products, call 319-939-2187 to schedule a tour of the farm and creamery!

Hansen’s Farm Fresh Dairy Quiz  

1)      How much water does a cow drink in a day?

1 gallon                 20 gallons            40 gallons

2)      About how much food does a cow eat in a day?

90 lbs                             120 lbs                  140 lbs

3)      What is a baby kangaroo called?

Joey                              Kid                          Bobby

4)      Do male kangaroos have pouches?

Yes                 No

5)      What’s in the silos?

Corn silage                  Milk                       Beans

6)      About how much does a full grown dairy cow weigh?

1,000 lbs                       1,400 lbs               2,000 lbs

7)      What breed of cows do the Hansens have?

Holsteins     Guernseys          Angus

8)      How many times a day do the Hansens milk their cows?

Once                             Twice                    3 Times

9)      Where did the original wallabies come from?

New Zealand                      France                  United States

10)   How many stomachs does a cow have?

One                               Two                       Four

11)   Are cows herbivores or carnivores?

Herbivores                  Carnivores

12)   How long is a cow’s gestation period?

4 months                     9 months             12 months

13)   About how many gallons of milk does a cow produce each day?

10 gallons                    20 gallons            30 gallons

14)   At what temperature does the milk come out of the cow?

80 degrees                  101 degrees       202 degrees

15)   How big are calves when they’re born?

40-60 lbs                      80-100 lbs            120-140 lbs

16)   What is a young female cow called?

Heifer                           Guilt                      Filly

17)   What do the Hansen’s do with their bull calves?

Sell them                     Milk them           Keep them as pets

18)   What does pasteurization do?

Adds flavor                                 Removes the fat              Kills bacteria

19)   Which dairy product do the Hansen’s NOT produce?

Butter                           Cheese Curds                    Yogurt

20) How many teats (“spigots”) does an udder have?

3                              4                              5

Answers:

1) 40 gallons           2) 90 pounds                    3) Joey                  4) No

5) Corn Silage          6)  1,400                       7) Holsteins             8) Twice

9) New Zealand           10) Four                       11) Herbivores           12) 9 months

13) 10 gallons          14) 101 degrees           15) 80-100 pounds        16) Heifer

17) Sell them           18) Kills bacteria             19) Yogurt            20) 4

Health, Product info, Your questions

Raw milk vs. Pasteurized milk…

There is a global debate about raw milk happening. In several countries, including the U.S., there are serious conversations taking place about whether people should drink, and especially whether they should be able to purchase, raw milk. The point of this post is not to advocate for or against either side. The purpose is to provide you with information and to let you know our policies and why we have them.

Here is raw milk going through the pasteurizer in the Hansen creamery. Our milk is pasteurized at 165 degrees for 15 seconds.
Here is raw milk going through the pasteurizer in the Hansen creamery. Our milk is heated to a temperature of at least 161 degrees for 15 seconds.

First, a few definitions. Pasteurization involves heating milk (or any food or liquid) to a certain temperature and then immediately cooling it to slow the growth of microbes and bacteria. This keeps the product from going bad as quickly as it might otherwise. High temperature, short time (HTST) pasteurization, which is what we use at Hansen’s, kills 99.999% of viable micro-organisms in the milk (like yeasts, molds, bacteria, and pathogens). Just a reminder – although we DO pasteurize our milk, we do not homogenize it (shake that jug, folks!).

When people talk about “raw milk” they mean milk that has not been pasteurized or homogenized. Until the 1890s, everyone drank raw milk because pasteurization wasn’t common practice yet. Pasteurization became widely practiced after the development of germ theory and the discovery of bacteria. It was thought that some diseases common in cows were transmitted to humans in raw milk. Since not every farmer’s milk could be tested, it was considered safer to pasteurize all of the milk.

Some people believe that pasteurization damages nutrients in the milk (such as calcium) and kills “good” bacteria that are beneficial to the digestive tract and our immune systems. The argument for raw milk is that these good bacteria help maintain a healthy balance in our bodies and make our immune systems stronger.

Proponents of raw milk believe that if it has been “produced under sanitary and healthy conditions” it is safe and even healthy to drink (Campaign for Real Milk). An important point is that even people who advocate for raw milk believe that for it to be considered safe, the milk must come from cows that are “healthy (tested free of TB and undulant fever) and do not have any infections (such as mastitis).” Raw milk should come from cows fed grass, hay, silage, and only a little bit of grain; the cows should be milked in a clean area and the milk should be refrigerated right away.

There are three primary sources of contaminants in milk: from within the cow’s udder, from the outside of the udder, and from handling and storage equipment. Experts agree that if a cow is sick, there is bacteria in her milk. But in a healthy cow, the milk in her udder is virtually sterile. Even in healthy cows, some bacteria are present in different parts of the teats, and that bacteria can enter the milk. But it’s usually in very low levels in a healthy cow.

Why the debate? Well, you can see that raw milk has to come from pretty special cows and special farms. Most large scale, commercial dairy operations are not going to have the kind of conditions that were just described. Only 28 U.S. states allow the sale of raw milk. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration recommend not consuming raw milk. The CDC notes that 79% of disease outbreaks associated with dairy between 1998 and 2011 were due to raw milk or cheese.

Where do we stand at Hansen’s Farm Fresh Dairy? Well, first off, our cows are healthy and well-cared for. Our facilities are very clean. But we do not sell raw milk and we do not plan to sell raw milk. Most dairy farmers don’t want to put themselves at risk for liability. It’s also bad for the dairy industry as a whole, because if there was an outbreak of sick people, the media fallout would damage an industry that already has a shaky public perception. The problem is that it depends on the consumer to store and drink it safely. People can buy raw meat or eggs because the consumer can cook those foods properly to kill any bacteria. With raw milk, we don’t have safeguard. Unpredictable, unpreventable, uncontrollable things happen during milking time that can affect the bacteria content in the milk. For example: if the cow kicks off her machine, it becomes a vacuum cleaner for whatever is in the area. That’s why we drink pasteurized milk.

At Hansen’s Farm Fresh Dairy, we provide our customers with a high-quality product. Our cows are treated well and not given any hormones or antibiotics in their feed. We treat the milk as minimally as possible – very quick pasteurization and no homogenization – because we want it to be fresh, delicious, and healthy.

We don’t believe the health debate should be between pasteurized and raw milk. We believe it should be between pasteurization and homogenization. In other words, raw milk proponents blame pasteurization for everything. Maybe they should be blaming homogenization instead. Some people who claim to be lactose intolerant can drink our milk, and we think that’s because of the damage done to milk via homogenization. Read more about homogenization in our blog post about the topic.

Health

Lactose intolerance or milk allergy??

There is actually a lot of confusion between the terms “lactose intolerance” and a “milk allergy” or “dairy allergy.” So in this post we’re going to try to clear it all up for you. First, a couple of definitions.

An intolerance to a food or group of foods is a physical reaction that does not involve the immune system. Many food intolerances stem from something missing in the digestive tract to help a person break down that particular food. Or there might be a reaction that occurs when that food is being digested that is unpleasant to the eater.

So: In order to digest lactose, the carbohydrate in cow’s milk, the body uses an enzyme called lactase. If a person does not have enough lactase to break down the lactose, they will have a reaction (like diarrhea, abdominal pain, or gas). That is lactose intolerance.

An allergy, on the other hand, is something that involves an immune system response and/or the body releasing histamines (chemicals in the body that cause allergy symptoms like runny noses, sneezing, or a rash). When a person has an allergy to something, their body has an immune response and releases chemicals to “fight” that thing.

So: People who are allergic to milk are most likely allergic to one or more of the proteins found in milk. When their bodies try to digest these proteins their immune systems respond to the protein by trying to fight it off. Symptoms can range from the abdominal issues that might be felt with lactose intolerance to much more severe reactions like hives, a rash, vomiting, wheezing, and even anaphylactic shock.

Milk allergies are most common in early childhood (2 to 3% of infants) but for most kids the milk allergy goes away by age 3. It’s a pretty rare condition among adults.

The good news is that if you’re over age 3 and having gastrointestinal symptoms, you’re probably dealing with an intolerance and not an allergy. What’s even better is that a lot of people with lactose intolerance are able to drink Hansen’s milk because it’s less processed than most milk and non-homogenized.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milk_allergy

http://foodallergies.about.com/od/glossary/g/foodintolerance.htm

http://goaskalice.columbia.edu/milk-allergy-or-lactose-intolerance