It Starts On A Farm: Part 3

Udder To Mouth

A level of commitment to their process (one which they have maintained for 100 years) has allowed Merrymead to be able to produce, bottle and distribute some of the freshest milk in the country.  Milk from Merrymead is on the shelves of stores and restaurants less than 24 hours from the time that it has been milked from their cows.  One of the key aspects of this fast turn around is that the philosophy of their farm starts with cleanliness.  They are consistently rated among the cleanest farms in the county.  When there is a base level of quality that surpasses the levels created by the governing bodies that control milk distribution, it allows for the process to be streamlined, faster and more efficient.

 

They surpass the quality regulations established nationally and even take things a bit further.  Most dairy producers will skim their whole milk to the 3.25% minimum butterfat content required by the USDA, but Merrymead does not skim its whole milk.  You will taste a difference in their whole milk because is it produced and delivered as nature intended.  They separate their processes of produces whipping creams, butters and other creams from the process of producing milk.  The skimming that other milk processors do on their whole milk allows them to increase the production of their other dairy products by using the butterfat from their “whole” milk, which creates a USDA regulated product, but not necessarily the most delicious one.

 

Of all the mill producers in the US, Merrymead is the only farm that gets milk from its own cows that places in the top 10 in the United States for milk quality.  It is for this reason that you will hear them declare their milk as the “best quality milk in the US.”  Somatic cell count (SCC) is an indicator of the quality of milk.  White blood cells, known as leukocytes, constitute the majority of somatic cells in question. The number of somatic cells increases in response to pathogenic bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus. The methods of determining Grade A milk quality are well established, and are based on the somatic cell count and the bacteria plate count. Generally, a lower somatic cell count indicates better animal health, while the bacteria plate count indicates improved equipment sanitation.

 

Without going into too many details, there are defined codes that are administered in order to controll the standard by which Grade A milk will be governed.  These levels are classified as “acceptable” by State and Federal legislation.  While it may be true that many products in the US are subject to similar standards and guidelines, one of the things that we do at the Co-op is to source and deliver products that exceed such legislation.  Merrymead Farm milk is one of these products.  Being awarded as top 10 quality in the entire US and being so close that we can take a farm tour and still make it home for dinner is a privilege that seems almost too good to be true.

 

An Award Winning Century Farm

Merrymead is a family owned and operated working dairy farm and farm market, located in Worcester Township at the heart of Montgomery County. Merrymead is one of Pennsylvania’s Century Farms and has been in the same family (the Rothenbergers) for over 100 years.

Merrymead has been awarded the State DHIA quality milk award every year since 2001 and have also received the platinum dairy quality award based on milk measures, protocols, and safeguards. The Platinum Award is distributed by the National Mastitis Council, a leading organization on milk quality in the United States.

 

It Starts On A Farm & It Has A Place In Your Co-op

We would love to continue to wax poetic on all of the amazing things we have learned about Merrymead Farm and their milk, but we’re sure that eventually you will simply stop reading.   We believe that Merrymead is the best milk producer in the nation and that you will taste the difference.  We continually search for the best products for you and your family.  We did not bring Merrymead to the Co-op in an effort to be “different” or “niche”.  Merrymead is a prime example of what it means to be Co-op Certified, and it cost the exact same amount as the milk we have carried at the Co-op for years.  When you try it and we hope you love it as much as we do.

 

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