Het Geertje Zoeterwoude Boederij Nederland

Milk, Yogurt and Cheese – Sustainable Dairy

When looking at a possible sustainable future I do see solar cells, wind mills, organic and local food, public transport for everyone and electric cars. What I am not able to imagine is that all of us are going vegan. And honestly I don’t believe this is necessary.

5 reasons why milk is unsustainable:

  1. Animal product therefore we have to sustain the animals (feed, water, space, energy)
  2. Animals and especially cows produce a lot of manure and methane
  3. Milk is sold at extremely low prices and therefore needs a large production (large farms = many cows) to be profitable
  4. From a nutrition perspective, milk is a luxury product
  5. Large milk production companies care more about profits than animal welfare

5 reasons why local and organic milk is making a difference:

  1. Animals are treated better
  2. They get a more sustainably produced diet
  3. Local milk has a lower carbon footprint
  4. Farms are usually smaller and more profitable
  5. Local and organic milk production supports local farmers which sustains local small businesses

+ Organic milk is GMO-free and antibiotics-free

I won’t tell you to switch from your dairy-free diet and include local and organic milk but I want to raise awareness that the problem with dairy lays not only in the cows methane production. The fact that milk has become such a cheap consumer product due to the industrialization of the product milk has pushed small and local farms out of business. Animal welfare and small and local farms are lost along the way. Everyone can help turn this around by drinking less milk and buy the milk you drink from organic and local production.

There is a very nice article by Sustainable Food Trust about introducing a fair price scheme for milk in the U.K. and I believe this to be a very good approach. Imagine being asked at the counter “Are you willing to pay a fair price for this milk and support local farmers and animal welfare?”. To answer with “no” might be seriously embarrassing.

Next I want to show you how I approach sustainable dairy and what magic I do with my local and organic milk.

Homemade and organic yogurt:

What you will need:

  • 1/2 – 1 liters (2-4 cups) Organic milk (preferably from a local farmer)
  • 2 -4 Tablespoons of organic yogurt for starters (preferably from a local farmer)
  • Vacuum Flask (mine holds 1.5 liters)
  1. pour the milk into a cooking pot
  2. cook the milk while measuring its temperature
  3. at around 83˚C  (180˚F) turn of the heat and take the pot with the milk off the stove
  4. let it cool down to around 43˚C (110˚F)
  5. add the yogurt to the vacuum flask
  6. once the milk has reached 43˚C pour it into the flask
  7. close the flask and let it stand for 8 hours or over night
  8. once the times up and the bacteria has done its work, pour the freshly made yogurt from the flask into a glass jar
  9. let it cool in the fridge for a few hours
  10. once it’s cooled down it is ready to eat

Homemade Yogurt

Homemade and organic vanilla ice-cream:

What you will need:

  • 1/2 – 1 liters (2-4 cups) Organic milk (preferably from a local farmer)
  • 100 gram Sugar (I use unrefined sugar)
  • Vanilla pod
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Ice-cream machine
  1. start cooking the milk
  2. once it started cooking add the sugar
  3. stop when you get the feeling that it has become too sweet
  4. cut the vanilla pod and use a knife to get out the seeds
  5. add both the seeds and the pod to the milk and sugar and steer
  6. add the egg yolk and steer again
  7. turn the heat off and remove the vanilla pod
  8. let it cool down and put the mixture in the fridge for at least 12 hours
  9. once it’s cooled down add the mixture to the ice-cream machine (follow the instructions for the machine)
  10. serve with strawberry and rhubarb marmalade

DIY ice cream


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