We’re super excited to announce that Walden is introducing local, certified organic and 100% grass-fed whole milk to our shares.

Available As a Recurring Add-on Now!

We’re thrilled to be partnering with dairy operator Tom McGrath of Worcester, New York and two of his neighbors for this launch. Tom runs a small, 45 cow dairy farm with his wife and 4 kids, and with your support, we’re bringing his certified organic and 100% grass-fed A2 whole milk to our member community! Milk is avaialble now through the share preferences on your Member Page.

TomMcGrath family
TomMcGrath Milking

How it Works.

Milk is available as a recurring add-on from your member page. Just go to YOUR SHARE –> PREFERENCES and scroll down to recurring add-ons. When you order your milk, you’ll be set up to receive milk on a recurring basis starting with your next share. We’ll be working closely with Tom to expand his operations! If your needs change, you can always update your share preferences from your member page. Our milk will be sold in 1/2 gallon jugs. We currently have a maximum order quantity of four ½ gallon jugs to ensure our team can properly support all of our members.

Why order milk from Walden?

When you order milk from Walden, you are supporting local dairy production and the growth of small industrious farms. Planning is critical (especially on small farms), and your recurring add-on addition will allow Walden (and Tom) to ensure we’re ready for everyone who wants the highest quality, best tasting milk you can find. Our members’ financial commitments will allow Tom and his neighbors to truly break free from the current milk co-op system which has left many dairy farms struggling or out of business. This is local at work!

Do I need to shake my milk?

Yes! Please make sure to shake your milk before consuming. Our milk is “cream-topped”, so it’s important to shake and mix everything together!

Why A2 Milk?

This minimally processed, cream-top milk contains a protein called beta casein. All milk contains this protein, and it can be classified as either A1 or A2 depending on the cow’s genetics. A2 beta casein is the same protein that human’s produce naturally, so it’s closer to what we are used to drinking at an early age. A2 milk also contains significantly less BCM-7, an opioid associated with digestive problems and other health risks. Whether a cow produces A1 or A2 milk is based on the genetics of the cow. Every cow in our partner farmer’s herds has been tested and confirmed to produce 100% A2 milk!

Tom has personally found this milk much easier to digest and we hope you find this as well!

Why a plastic jug?

We strive to be a learning organization and to make the most responsible choices possible with the information we have. It has become a common belief that glass is superior to plastic when minimizing impact on the planet. In many cases this is true. However, in a recent study, glass bottles ranked the worst in a life cycle assessment that examined milk production. There are a variety of reasons for this that span production, transportation, reuse, and end of life recycling.

Firstly, common desert sand cannot be used to create glass. Rare earth minerals are required that are being harvested faster than they can be produced by nature. We currently use around 50 billion tons of sand every year mined from mountains and rivers. Large amounts of fossil fuels are needed for the furnaces used in production to melt and form glass products. Glass is also much heavier than plastic and requires greater volumes of fossil fuels to transport. It takes a little less than a liter of gasoline to make ~1kg of glass. The reuse of glass for milk requires significant water and energy use as well as the use of caustic chemicals adding a significant environmental toll.

Finally, only about 33% of glass in the United States is recycled. Aside from the difficulties in getting people to properly prepare their glass for recycling, broken glass is a huge problem. With milk specifically, returned bottles must go through a rigorous washing process before reuse that requires caustic chemicals.  In small batch washing, these chemicals can be discarded every cycle creating both a safety and environmental hazard. This washing process also requires large amounts of water and energy (to heat the water).

Unfortunately, most glass is simply crushed and used for landfill cover since it’s easier and cheaper to process. Glass discarded in a landfill can take up to 1 million years or more to decompose. While there are many problems with glass, plastic is not without its own downsides. Only about 9% of waste plastic in the United States makes it through the recycling process. However, there are ways our members can help us reduce the amount of packing material that makes it into a landfill. Our plastic jugs can be washed and reused in your home in all kinds of creative ways. You can also check online to learn how to properly prepare materials for recycling and see what requirements your state has for processing.

We are always trying to further minimize our impact on the planet, and we hope to improve our packaging practices over time as we do recognize the problems with plastic. Our partners are not currently set up to package milk in recyclable cardboard cartons (which is the case for many small processors), but we will be doing more work on the feasibility of this. In the fall, your milk will arrive in a recyclable ½ gallon plastic jug.

How will my milk be delivered?

Your milk will be delivered in your normal share bag and kept cold by our reusable dry ice pouch. Don’t worry, it’ll be kept separate enough from your other items to stay cold without freezing.

Why not 1% or 2%?

Natural whole milk includes some of the most complex of all natural fats, containing nearly 400 different types of fatty acids. Your body needs healthy fats to function! Multiple studies have shown that whole milk can help lower your risk of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions related to increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. We believe that drinking milk in its natural form is not only tastier, but healthier too!

Whole milk also uses less energy in production as the fat doesn’t need to be separated. This yields less waste, and lets you keep all those healthy natural complex fats!

What does it mean when we say "minimally processed"?

The milk industry has worked very hard to standardize fluid milk. To achieve this, they put the milk through an array of man-made mechanical processes including separation, homogenization, and ultra-filtration. We believe milk is best left as close to natural as possible, which is a belief that Tom shares and practices through his processing methods.

There are 3 main pasteurization methods used on milk:

  • LTVP Low Temperature Vat Pasteurized
    The milk is slowly heated to the FDA’s minimum required temperature of 145 degrees F.
  • HTST High Temperature Short Time
    The milk is heated to 161 degrees F.
  • UHT Ultra High Temperature
    The milk is heated to 280 degrees F.

Almost all of the milk on grocery store shelves is processed using HTST or UHT as it gives the milk a longer shelf life. Unfortunately for grocery store shoppers, the trade-off for longer shelf life also means that large amounts of nutrients are killed off. Tom utilizes LTVP and firmly believes it’s beneficial for the preservation of nutrients in his milk.

Tom’s milk is not homogenized. When milk is homogenized, it is shot through a screen at high pressures to break up the fat. However, other particles (like vitamins D and A) are broken up as well. The nutrients from the milk become harder to absorb and overall makes the milk less healthy to consume.

Thank you for helping us make local work! 

Adding milk to our shares means a lot to us! Not only is milk a product members have been asking about for years, but milk is another way for our community of Walden members to contribute to our regional agricultural renaissance. We believe in supporting small industrious farmers, and we can’t wait to grow with Tom and continue expanding our partner network. 

TomMcGrath cows
TomMcGrath cows2
TomMcGrath family2