My Milk

November 7, 2009

toy cows and milk jug 

The Dark Days are coming – by which I mean the Dark Days Challenge where my family will eat one meal a week made of SOLE food (sustainable, organic, local, ethical).  The challenge begins November 15th.  My local year-round farmer’s market (which doesn’t have a website or I would link you right to it) will be seeing even more of our business as we try to fill in gaps in our own stocks.

One item we now buy routinely from this market is milk.  We buy Kilgus milk made by the cows on a farm in Central Illinois.  I e-mailed the owners to get a bit more information than I could glean from their pamphlet – and Jenna Kilgus was very forthcoming.  She made clear they are not an organic farm.  They are grain farmers and the grain is not grown organically.  That grain also is fed to the cows, so not organic.  However, the animals do graze on “natural pasture” from April to November, so that is good news.  Also, the cows are not given any growth hormone (rBST) and that, to me, is very important.  Another plus, the milk is non-homogenized, which means the fat particles that are in the milk are not broken down by the homogenization process and so will not pass so easily through intestinal walls.  Apparently there is some evidence that non-homogenized milk helps keep cholesterol levels down.  The milk is pasteurized, but not ultra-pasteurized, which maintains vitamins and enzymes. 

Oh, and by the way, this milk is tasty.  We buy the skim milk and the kids and I go through two gallons a week. 

I have a few other milk alternatives. I can buy organic milk at the bigger grocery store.  I have done so on occasion and when I do I try to choose one with the closest distribution center.  But it isn’t local.

I can buy more “conventional” milk distributed by Prairie Farms.  This has some plusses.  It is a co-op of over 700 farms and the main headquarters is in Central Illinois.  The milk and milk products (butter, yogurt, ice cream) are local, but not organic.  There is no indication that there is anything particularly “natural” about their products, other than the milk comes from cows.  So, I assume the worse – that they are given hormones and graze minimally.

Finally, there is a milk cooperative nearby that produces organic milk.  I did look into it but I couldn’t make times for pick-up, periods out of town, and the money work with our lifestyle. 

So, for the time being we will settle for natural and local but not organic milk.  Life is full of compromises.



  1. […] – the local, ethical, non-hormone enhanced but not organic Kilgus milk (this milk has led to more hits on my blog than anything […]

  2. […] love the taste of fresh butter.  And I love that the cream is from my favorite dairy and is minimally processed, and most of all, hormone-free.  My husband does 90% of the family […]

  3. […] olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dressing (not SOLEful I’m afraid).  The kids had their Kilgus milk, and DH and I had wine from the local monks (what they call a […]

  4. Hi,

    Sorry I know I said I’d respond back to this posting a while back – but I slacked.

    Here is the scoop on the smell.

    Apparently cream and 1/2 and 1/2 may have a slight sulfur smell to it – it depends on your senses as to how “slight” the smell is *grin*. Anyway – because Kilgus has a higher fat content in their creams and 1/2 and 1/2 the pasteurization process will generate a scent to the product. This is considered normal.

    I’ve adjusted to the smell and the product is really good. 🙂

  5. […] – or the oil, salt and pepper or my daughter’s Catalina salad dressing.  The kids drank milk (local, hormone-free) and my husband and I had wine by the local monks.  It was, in theory, a […]

  6. […] My husband and I took about 10 minutes to clean and dump everything in the crockpot along with a 1/2 cup of Kickapoo Creek wine (local – a Christmas present from me for my husband – along with a gift certificate to a butcher shop/deli that features local meats and cheeses (and wine) (one of the three places I can buy our favorite hormone-free milk). […]

  7. Hi, I bought some of Kilgus’ cream & half/half the other day and when I opened it, it smelled like sulfur or rotten eggs. Did you have the same? is it normal? I’ll try to call them tomorrow – but I was hoping that since you had gotten some of their product you might know.

    and sorry for the odd question. 😉

    • No – I don’t think that is normal. Check the date on the bottles – – I once bought “old” milk – it lasted quite awhile, but the owner of the store warned me it was old (the new delivery hadn’t come in yet) and offered to refund my money if it was bad.

      Generally, my milk from Kilgus has been scentless – I hope you get satisfaction.

      • cheers.

        i don’t think it was old. bought it at the farmer’s market (chicago) and then another one at Gene’s sausage shop to see if they had some how improperly stored it.

        but, I will talk with them. I just wanted to confirm with some one else out there. Since I was hitting 2 for 0 – and well, everyone seems to love their product! 🙂

        btw – great site. I will need to back track on some of your postings since I found you via my google search for Kilgus.

      • thanks – I hope you enjoy it as you delve in deeper.

  8. […] brought home a pint of heavy cream from the sustainable, ethical local, natural (nearly organic) dairy – – as close as we can get, so I’m calling it good.  This morning I made butter with […]

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