What is ‘non-standardised’ milk?

‘Non-standardised’ basically means that no Cream has been skimmed off the top of the Milk. Or, to put it another way, all the natural goodness that the Cows produce has been left in.

Why would cream be removed from Milk? Well, Cream is valuable; it is always more expensive than Milk. This is because Cream makes up only a small percentage of Milk.

The ‘Standard’ percentage of Cream that must be present for Milk to legally be called ‘Whole Milk’ in the UK is 3.6%. Ayrshire Cows produce Milk that contains between 4.5% and 4.9% Cream. This varies with the season: more in Summer when the cows are in the Pasture and less in Winter when the Cows are in the Byre eating Silage. Removing this seasonal variation was actualy given as an argument for standardisation. In actuality though, it was purely for the convenience of the industry rather than the consumer. For one thing, labels detailing fat percentage need not be changed if the fat percentage remains constant. We think that removing this seasonality is a bad thing in principle, further disconnecting the consumer and producer.

By standardising Milk, Big Dairy get to sell you the same thing twice, even skimming off the top of blue-top ‘whole’ milk. Standardisation is also why red-top ‘skimmed’ milk exists in the first place – they get to remove all but 0.5% of the Cream! No-one asked for Milk to be less healthy, less tasty and more like chalky water, but under the myth of ‘fat is bad’ the concept was pushed on an unsuspecting public. All fats are not the same. It turns out that the healthiest type of Milk is Whole Milk. This is in part because their are some Vitamins that are non-water-soluble and can only be absorbed by the body when dissolved in fat. Vitamins A, C, E and K all fall under this heading.

Non-standardised Milk, like our Gold Standard Milk and our Whole Milk, contains all the Cream that our Cows produce, just as nature intended.

What does ‘Batch Pasteurised’ mean?

Pasteurisation is the process of heating Milk to destroy any harmful bacteria that may be present before bottling / packaging takes place. In Scotland, it is illegal to sell Milk to the general public that has not been pasteurised. The only way that a Farm can sell raw milk in Scotland is if they are selling it to a commercial operation that is in possession of the relevant HACCP certification that will pasteurise the Milk themselves as part of their production processes. Ice-cream makers, for example, pastuerise Milk as part of their production process, as do yoghurt-makers. Batch-pasteurised Milk means that the Milk has been heated at lower temperature (68°) for a longer time (5 mins) to retain the most Organic flavour and so as not to destroy any proteins. Batch pasteurisation is so-called because the Milk is processed in batches. At Mossgiel this means 900L at a time being heated by one of our two pasteurisers which work in tandem, shuttling heat back and forth between them throughout the day in a very heat efficient manner.

The conventional method of pasteurisation – ‘continuous-flow pasteurisation’ – heats the Milk to a much higher temperature for a shorter period of time. This destroys a protein called lactoferrin. It also affects the taste of the Milk. Pasteurisation is not a process that adds anything to the Milk, rather it is a process that takes things away. If it is done correctly then all it takes away is any bad bacteria that may be there. If it is done incorrectly, it can also take away some of the goodness of the milk and also some of its lovely taste. Continuous flow pasteurisation is one of these things that has happened due to the production of food becoming ever more industrialised. A change that was introduced in the name of ease for the producers rather than benefit for the consumers.

Changing back to smaller scale production has health and taste benefits in this instance. It is one of these cases where the old-fashioned way of doing things is better than what has been used more recently.

What is the difference between ‘Pasture Fed’ and ‘Grass Fed’?

What is the difference between ‘Pasture Fed’ and ‘Grass Fed’?

Mossgiel Organic Farm - Flowers In The Pasture
Pasture Fed – The Grass, The Whole Grass and nothing but The Grass!

‘Grass Fed’ means at some point the animal has eaten some grass, whereas ‘Pasture Fed’ means that all the animal has eaten is grass. No cereals or other non-grass feed.

‘Pasture Fed’ is therefore better than ‘Grass Fed’.

The marvellous Cows at Mossgiel Organic Farm are Pasture Fed 🙂 Of course they are! Just as nature intended. This diet makes for tastier Milk from the Cows (and also tastier Rosé Veal from the year-old bullocks).

Pasture-fed also means GM-free. Cows that only eat grass do not therefore eat any other type of animal feed. There are more than one million tonnes of GM animal feed imported into the UK each year; genetically modified soya beans and the like. Despite it being illegal for GM crops to be grown in the UK, there is no requirement for farmers who use GM animal feed to declare this on the packaging further down the supply chain. The only way for you to be absolutely sure that now GM food has passed your lips is to buy Organic. The Organic regulations specifically prohibit the use of GM animal feed as well as the production of GM crops.

Another consequence of feeding Cows the diet that nature intended for them is that they are much calmer and more chilled out. One of the things that doesn’t happen at Mossgiel Farm is the practice of de-horning the Cows. This is actually something that we are actively campaigning to stop. Some Farmers have remarked to not take the horns of the Cattle is irresponsible and dangerous, putting our workers in harms way. It turns out though that Cattle are much less worked up if they are not full of cereals! Think of giving a toddler a Mars bar – same idea. This means that it is quite possible to manage a herd of Cows with horns safely and humanely.

Scottish Rural Awards 2020 Finalist

Mossgiel Organic Farm: Finalist - ‘Most Sustainable Rural Business Award’, Finalist - ‘Best Countryside Digital Innovators'

Mossgiel Organic Farm – Finalists in the Scottish Rural Awards 2020 – Twice!!

Finalist – ‘Most Sustainable Rural Business Award’

Finalist – ‘Best Countryside Digital Innovators’

We were unbelievably grateful and delighted to be in the running for the Scottish Rural Awards 2020 and are even more excited to be in the finals! It is fantastic that Organic Dairy Farming is once again in the spotlight and it is great that all our campaigning is being recognised.

It has been a busy time since last awards night – never a dull moment! We’ve expanded the team and even built a new Dairy to cope with the increased demand. Onwards and upwards!

Last year we won the Agriculture Award, so fingers crossed for April. The night is set to be compèred by the one and only Jim Smith, so it should be a good laugh in any case! There is also word that there may be some whisky on the tables: that would have pleased a certain former tenant of Mossgiel…

O Whisky! soul o’ plays and pranks!
Accept a bardie’s gratfu’ thanks!
When wanting thee, what tuneless cranks
Are my poor verses!
Thou comes-they rattle in their ranks,
At ither’s a-s!

Robert Burns“Scotch Drink”

You can see the full list of awards and finalists here.

Mossgiel has eliminated single-use plastic packaging

A mountain of plastic milk jugs

Single-use Plastic? No Thanks!

Mossgiel is the first Dairy in the UK to completely stop using single-use plastic packaging.

All milk that leaves our farm gates does so in re-usable containers. During 2017/18, over 14.7 billion litres of milk were produced in the UK (1). This is a HUGE number! This results in an astronomical number of plastic bottles being manufactured, consumed and put in the bin. We believe that this model is hugely wasteful in terms of resources, we also believe that it is also completely un-necessary!

When it comes to delivering milk, as far as the environment is concerned, the old-fashioned way really is best. Remember the milkmen of yesteryear, delivering their locally-sourced product in re-usable glass packaging on their electric milk floats? Years ahead of their time…

Single-use plastic packaging is clogging up our oceans and entering our food chain. Despite the best efforts of many councils, not all plastic packaging even gets recycled. Plastic takes a very long time to break down, and even when it does it does not biodegrade, ending up as ‘micro-plastics’. These tiny particles are finding there way into the food chain with unknown consequences on animal and human health.

Back To Glass - Stop Using SIngle-Use Plastic

We can all learn to do things differently, to change our actions. The recent move away from single use plastic straws is a good example of this. A small change with a big impact. Let’s make Milk jugs next! It is not good enough to recycle them when we can re-use our milk packaging instead. This is not some airy-fairy good idea, decades from fruition, still in the development stage. This is a right-here, right-now technology. A simple, proven technology, able to be implemented today. We can do this! We must do this…

Whole, Semi-skimmed, Cream, Gold Standard in re-usable glass bottles
Whole, Semi-skimmed, Cream, Gold Standard

Glass Bottles.

Mossgiel Organic Milk can be delivered in good old-fashioned 1 pint bottles. These are great for residential use and for commercial re-sale. They are also the perfect size for making a fantastic protein shake, where the non-homogenised cream not only makes it taste great, but also helps Vitamin absorption.

5 litre re-usable tub, saving 2.5 x 2L single-use plastic jugs every time it is used
Re-USE is better than re-cycle!

Re-usable Tubs.

Mossgiel Organic Milk can also be delivered in 3 litre, 5 litre or 20 litre tubs.

When you are involved in the food industry using Milk, 1 pint bottles are likely going to be too small. That is why we can deliver our Organic Milk in more commercial-friendly sizes. The tubs, while made of plastic, work in exactly the same way as the bottles do. They are used then the empty tubs are picked up by our drivers when they make the next delivery to be sterilised and then used again.

Re-use beats Recycle
Reduce – Reuse – Recycle

Re-use beats Recycle.

Reusing packaging is 20 times more efficient than recycling packaging.

(1) Statista

Milk In Commercial Quantities: Re-usable Tubs

5 litre re-usable tub

Re-usable Tubs

Mossgiel Organic Milk can also be delivered in 3 litre, 5 litre or 20 litre tubs. Once emptied, these are then rinsed out and picked up by the delivery driver to be re-sterilised and used again. Zero single-use plastic waste. Genius. Our 3 and 5-litre re-usable tubs are mainly used by restaurants, cafes and coffee shops and our 20-litre tubs usually go to ice-cream makers.

Here at the Farm, we are fond of saying that if you care about the environment, then the last thing that you should be doing is re-cycling! Re-use beats re-cycle every time. That being said, it is also important that packaging is as practical as possible. To that end, we offer our Milk in a variety of sizes of containers:

2-Litre Re-usable Glass Bottles

Our 2-litre re-usable glass bottles have proved a hit not only with coffee shops that want to take advantage of fridge door space, but also with retailers. Customers have got into the the habit of buying milk in 2-litre containers and some people prefer this size to the traditional pints.

5-Litre Re-usable Plastic Tubs

Our 5-litre round tubs are our most popular commercial size as they can be fitted with a pouring lid to make them easier to decant.

20-Litre Re-usable Plastic Tubs

These are the containers of choice for people who use a lot of milk at once. They are easier to lift and carry than the Churns.

50-Litre Re-usable Metal Churns

Yes, Milk can still be delivered in churns! These are what sit inside our Milk dispensing machines in Locavore, Roots, Fruits and Flowers and Dandy’s Delicatessen. They are also the size of choice for Ice Cream makers, who go through a LOT of Milk!

Are these quantities too large for your needs? Mossgiel can also deliver Organic Milk in good old-fashioned 1 pint glass bottles.

What is non-homogenised?

Non-Homogenised Milk

Mossgiel Organic Milk is ALWAYS ‘non-homogenised’, that’s a fancy way of saying – ‘not highly processed’ or ‘as nature intended’.

During the journey from cow to your fridge, BIG DAIRY wants to make sure the milk always looks nice and white – from the first drop out of your plastic bottle to the very last.  This looks lovely on a supermarket shelf and is designed to make you buy more, but it really does ruin the lovely, natural flavour of nature’s original superfood.

During the process from cow to bottle, milk is forced through a ‘homogeniser’ unit at MASSIVE pressure – just like if you were trying to squeeze milk through your car windscreen washer jets.  This breaks up all the tasty cream into microscopic particles, so the cream doesn’t float to the top and cause family disagreements as to who is getting the ‘best bit’ at porridge time.

At Mossgiel Organic Farm, we prefer our milk the way nature intended: cream intact and not broken. Baristas prefer our milk in large part for this reason. Because our cream is in its natural form, it is able to take on the flavour of their coffee better. Baristas tend to take an awful lot of trouble sourcing their coffee beans. Why would you want to pair an excellent bean with a sub-standard milk? It makes much more sense to pair a premium bean with a premium milk that can cope with all that flavour.

What is whole milk?

We would say that it depends who you speak to! If you’re speaking to us then whole milk means exactly what you would expect – all of the milk that our awesome herd of Ayrshire Cows produce (pasteurised, of course). Ayrshire Cows produce between 4.5% & 4.9% cream, depending on what time of the year it is. At the height of summer they produce more cream than in the depths of winter because in the winter months they are in the barn eating the silage that has been cut in the summer. Milk is a seasonal product! In these days of highly industrialised Milk flooding the shelves, this is an idea that seems to have been forgotten.

Speaking about highly processed milk, what passes for whole milk in the supermarkets  usually only means about 3.6% cream. This is the minimum level that the current regulations require to be called ‘whole milk’, so that is the level that industrialised milk is standardised to.

Why is whole milk standardised?

Because cream is worth more than milk. It is more expensive. If ‘big dairy’ can get away with quite literally ‘creaming off the top’ with even ‘whole milk’ then it means that they can sell the cream as well. So, the reason is pretty simple – money. Whoever asked for semi-skimmed or, even worse, skimmed milk anyway? No-one that we know! We would argue that the cream in Milk is really healthy and the idea that ‘all fats are bad’ is complete nutritional nonsense.

This standardisation has led to the belief that Milk is somehow exactly the same all year round, which is also clearly nonsense. It leads people away from having a connection with their food and where it comes from. It is good to note though that an increasing number of people are becoming wise to this and beginning to ask far more searching questions about the provenance of what they put in their bodies: where it comes from, how it is produced, the environmental impact.

Mossgiel Farm nominated for Scottish Rural Awards 2020

Mossgiel Organic Farm Nominated for Scottish Rural Awards 2020

Mossgiel Organic Farm nominated for Scottish Rural Awards 2020

We are delighted to announce that we have been nominated for the Scottish Rural Awards 2020!! 🙂

A massive thanks thanks to all at the Farm who continue to make everything possible and, of course, to our wonderful supporters who are helping change the face of Scottish Dairy!

Good luck to all the other nominees too – some awesome stories out there!

Winner – Person of the Year

Winner of the Slow Food Awards Person of the Year 2019

A lovely end to the year with Bryce becoming the Winner of the Slow Food Awards Person of the Year 2019.

The Slow Food movement promotes food that is produced with an emphasis on quality, not profit.

‘Slow Food is for everyone who eats food,’ said Fred Berkmiller, Chef Proprietor of L’Escargot Blue which won Best Restaurant.

‘I consider slow food to be my grandmother’s thinking,’ he said. ‘People have the right to know where their food is coming from, what it’s been fed with. They want to know what they’re putting inside their body.’

 

There was even a lovely write-up in Scottish Field, which you can read here, which said;

“Bryce Cunningham of Mossgiel Farm, winner of the Agriculture category at the Scottish Rural Awards 2019, won Person of the Year at the Slow Food Awards for his sustainable practices.

Mossgiel was the first diary in Scotland to eliminate single use plastic.

‘We’ve managed to create food products in a slow, natural and organic way to bring our passion for food to the cities of Scotland,’ Cunningham said. ‘I believe in low processed foods and foods that are natural, foods we would have eaten 500 years ago. Supermarkets are chasing profits, not health benefits.’ “

Slow Food Person of the Year 2019

It’s great that the slow food movement is gathering strength with each passing year. We certainly notice it, talking to all the wonderful people who own businesses that we supply. It seems that provenance is becoming more and more important to people and we think that this is a very encouraging trend. This move towards slow food – real food – and away from overly industrialised, processed food can only be a good thing, bringing people closer to nature and the seasons. Milk is a seasonal food, for example, and we know that this is something that has been lost from most people’s awareness. When the Cows are in the pasture in the height of summer they produce a richer milk than when they are in the byre in the depths of winter (4.9% cream in the summer, 4.5% cream in the winter). Decades ago, this was viewed as a problem. Today, we think that this is something to be embraced and celebrated.