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Life is too short to eat bad food! Sharing great recipes, farm life, stories and photography from our Northern California dairy farm.

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September 27, 2010

Is All Milk At The Grocery Store Local To You?

Last week when I was at my Healthy Cooking Group meeting, the subject came up about buying local milk and what dairy products are local to our area.  For us here, in northern California, most of the milk bought at the grocery store is local to our area.

For instance, our milk, here on the ranch, is picked up once a day by our Cooperative, DFA (Dairy Farmers Of America). DFA then markets the milk to a number of different processors such as, Sunnyside, Berkeley Farms & LePrino Cheese. DFA also owns a cheese plant in Hughson, CA. Each processor packages the milk into their own label......many different labels, same milk.

I added  a tool called "Find Out Where Your Milk Is From"on my side bar to the right under "Favorite Sites"that I came across a while back that lets you know where the dairy product you're buying is processed.  This will work for dairy products nation wide.

The less milk has to travel, the better, in my opinion.  Luckily for us here in California, there are quite a few dairies and most of the milk found at the store is local to us......from Sunnyside, Lucerne, Clover, Redwood and many more.  A question came up, "Is Horizon Milk local?"  I wasn't sure of the answer, but had to find out.  Dominic thought  the  milk was from Idaho but wasn't 100% sure so I googled it and according to Wikipedia:

" Horizon produces organic milk on a 4,000-cow dairy in Idaho and a 500-cow dairy in Maryland. The company and also purchases organic milk from smaller dairies."

This peaked my curiosity so when I went grocery shopping this morning, I snapped a photo of Horizon milk and punched the code in when I got home.

The Horizon code is 4134.  This milk was processed at Darigold Inc. in Portland Oregon, which means they use milk from surrounding Oregon dairies.  Now we know!

Here are some of the products in my fridge:
Product code is 06-94.  The first two digits in the product code refers to the state and 06 is the code for CA.  The remaining number is the plant number.  The codes can look different from one company to the next.  Some use a dash in between the two numbers, some use a back slash and some, like Horizon don't use anything between the two numbers. 

Lucerne butter: 06/94.

Kirkland butter:  06/94.

All of this butter is processed at the same plant; California Dairies Inc. in Turlock, CA.

Sour cream that I purchased at CostCo:  06-26 processed at Super Store Industries, Turlock, CA.

I bought this box of single serving bottles of Nesquik chocolate milk, figuring this would cut down on any given visit to Starbucks with the kids. I would just bring a bottle along instead of buying Starbuck's chocolate milk.

Nesquik's code:  18-1901 processed at the Nestle plant in Indiana.  Nestle tried for almost two years to build a processing plant in northern CA, which would have been great for us local dairy producers because they would have bought our milk.  I don't know the exact details but the California regulations were too restrictive and costly for Nestle to deal with so they decided on Indiana instead.

So, when you're curious about where your milk and dairy products are processed, you can use the link on the right hand column of this blog.

If you find something interesting in your fridge, let me know!

My original post on this subject was posted back in March.

Happy Monday!

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Unknown said...

Isn't it funny how people assume organic products are better for the environment. Our milk goes to a Dean's plant in Louisville, KY. Which is just over an hour away.

I have toured that Nestle plant!

Katie said...

Great education! I did this back in March when you posted about and now just had our son bring the milk carton to me to show him. Our milk is from Cass Clay in Fargo, ND but there is a receiving site in our home town and I live a mile from a 1200 cow dairy. It is local!

Genesis said...

what?! kirkland isnt made in WA? i seriously assumed everything smacked with the Kirkland brand is made here in WA. ignorance is bliss.

Unknown said...

@Genesis, I believe Kirkland products are local to your region. If you are in WA, your products are from there too. I'm in central ca and our Costco carries products popular to our region, not found in other locations.

k. said...

My Kirkland milk comes from Colorado, and I'm in Maryland.

Annie said...

Love this information & have a fun fact to add :)
I'm working at the DFA Hughson plant and we're not making cheese anymore (used to do a lot of shredded cheese for Pizza Hut and I think Taco Bell but haven't made for much longer than I've been here!).
Our main fluid products are condensed skim milk and cream that go into all sorts of products.. Ice cream, cheese, sour cream, etc. We even make a pre-mix for It's It ice cream!
In addition to fluid product, we process different kinds of powdered milk, a great majority of which are exported... Morocco, Peru, Mexico, Chile (but are also shipped within the US!)
Happy milk drinking :)

Anonymous said...

This is great info.. thanks for sharing Nancy! Alice

Leah Beyer said...

Just did the same thing over on my blog, Beyer Beware. What a great tool for people to learn where their food comes from!