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Grass-fed Facts


Longer average lifespan

Ecologically Responsible
More Nutrition
Pesticide and Herbicide free
herd and pasture
Omega 3
A difference you can see!
A cow

Our Cows, Our Friends

     Cows are ruminants! The optimum food for these animals and their four compartment stomachs is  a mixture of forages. That is because their stomachs work in tandem with bacteria, fungi, and protists to provide nutrients essential for their health. When "Bessy" eats corn or grain, her rumen produces acid which kills off some of the flora needed to feed her. While her production will increase, her milk's quality will decrease through dilution and reduced forage intakeFeed additives like baking soda are essential when cows are fed concentrates, to buffer the acid, maintain a healthy Ph and manage the symptoms of acidosis.

   So many of the ills cows suffer from in confinement are solved when they are back on grass.  Stress on feet and legs is reduced when off of the concrete. Milk quality is improved and as the cows are not pushed for quantity, stress is reduced by fewer milking's, proper diet, and cleaner environment. This in turn reduces the incidence of mastitis, a leading cause for the use of antibiotics on the farm. As an added plus, Maid-N-Meadows' cows are milked seasonally to insure that when our girls are making milk they are receiving the most nourishing food possible. Making milk is hard work and we are happy the girls get a winter vacation.

      Worldwide, the average lifespan for a dairy cow is roughly 2.4 lactations, which is about 3 to 4 years old! Cows with access to grass are reported to live much longer. Maid-N-Meadows' oldest cow, Seven, is 12 and going strong! (Pictured above, center)


Learn more about our practices!

Ecologically Responsible

Carbon Sequestration

     The global carbon cycle is a natural process that transfers carbon between the land, oceans, and atmosphere. Humans have disrupted this cycle by increasing carbon dioxide and other gases in the atmosphere, mostly through the burning of fossil fuels. Plants remove carbon from the air during photosynthesis and deposits a portion in the soil in the form of fresh plant matter. The roots of the plant largely mirror the growth. The more plant above ground, the more there is below! When plants are grazed down the plant will reduce its root length, leaving carbon behind. As the plant regrows, it then reuses the dead root/carbon material to grow new roots and leaves. This cycle of die-off and regrowth increases soil fertility as it sequesters more and more carbon. Disturbing the soil through tilliage releases carbon.

        Grazing lands are of great importance in that they help mitigate part of the global atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions. It has been estimated that up to 110 million metric tons of carbon could be successfully sequestered in America's farmed pastures. As a plus, well managed pastures typically sequester more carbon than natural ecosystems.

         Returning to a grass based production system reduces carbon emissions doubly as fossil fuels are not burned to grow grain and carbon is not released during the tilling process.

Reduced Fossil Fuels

    It's pretty obvious how grass based meat and milk production reduces fossil fuels. The role of the tractor is cut to a minimum! Only hay is needed to be harvested to maintain the herd over the winter. 

       The tractor is hemmed in by weeds as no ground is needing to be tilled or sprayed with herbicide. No seeds are needing to be planted and no crops need cultivating. There is no harvesting to be done, which means no blowers, baggers, choppers, or harvest trucks are running. Further down this line of thinking still is the distribution factor. Grain is not trucked across the country, running through feed mills and mixers and then trucked to farms. Grass is pretty simple and the cows do all the fertilizing.

Improved Air and Water Quality

     Ever smell a dairy from a "mile away"?  Not too many years ago, USDA researchers did a modeling study that evaluated how different management systems on a typical 250-acre Pennsylvania dairy farm would affect the environment. They found that getting cows out of confinement and onto the pasture, reduced ammonia emissions by 30%. This is due to the fact that waste is not being held in pools which exhausts gases even more than normal in the summer. Now that is "a breath of fresh air!"  

           Run off is a real issue in large agricultural operations. Locally our community struggles with its main water source, Barren River Lake, developing a blue-green algal bloom almost annually. Some of these kinds of algae can at times produce toxins that are harmful to fish, people, and other animals who come in contact with it. A major contributing factor is

  excessive nutrients which flow to the lake in run-off. Because fertilizers fuel these algaes, reducing their use can go a long way towards solving the problem.     

           USDA researchers found that soil erosion in a pasture based dairy dropped by 87%. And phosphorous run off dropped as well. Not using pesticides or herbicides also keeps those chemicals from ever reaching the water supply where consequences are far reaching.


Milking With The Seasons

      No! That block on the left is not butter! It is cheese made from grain fed cows without the food coloring annatto added. Notice the pale yellow on right. It can not be confused with the orange color of annatto colored cheeses, which is precisely why annatto came into use. Cheesemakers wanted their cheese to have a uniform color because consumers preferred the yellow (summer grass) cheese,  to the white (winter hay and sileage) cheese.  The same is true of butter. Both have more vitamins and beta carotene when the cows are grazing live grass. In fact, it is the beta carotene that is responsible for the natural yellow color.

         We don't produce white or dyed cheese. Milking seasonally makes the best cheese for people, but it also is the best nutrition for the cows. When the girls' bodies are making milk, they are under demand to produce protein and fat. Only the best nutrition will do and hay is no substitute. Maid-N-Meadows is committed to promoting and protecting their health, while also making the best product possible.

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Grass Is Good For You!

        We are what we eat, eats and you can't get blood from a turnip! Cows with access to grass have the ability to make milk with 50% more vitamin E than conventional milk. Grazing cows also can have as much as 75% more beta carotene, which is essential for the body to make vitamin A. Studies have also shown that iron levels and the antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthine, are  significantly higher. Cows can't do this without access to grass. The more fertile our soils, the more nutrient dense the forages, the better health of the animals, the healthier the final product will be.

     More than one study is finding that children who partake in farm direct, unpasteurized milk, have statistically lower rates of asthma and allergies. The current theory to explain this hypothesizes that raw milk protects children by "favorably stimulating their immune systems throughout life, particularly early on". 

      Maid-N-Meadows  "Deli Collection" cheeses are made from unpasteurized milk and never heated above 102 degrees Farenheit. Coincidentally this is the normal body temperature of the cow herself. Because additional bacteria are added to create the flavor profile of the various cheeses, the bacteria profile of the end product is not the same as raw milk in its original form. But this age old process also works against any unwanted bacteria as well, which is the reason why raw milk cheese is aged for a minimum of 60 days.

      Aged raw milk cheese is a delightful compromise between raw milk from an unknown source and pasteurized milk, which has no beneficial bacteria at all.

More Omega-3!

        Research now shows a link between a cows who eat a diet of forages, rich in omega-3 fatty acid, carry 62% more omega-3 in their milk. Ironically, compared to grain-based operations, pasture based cows on average had 25% less omega-6 fatty acids in their milk. This is great news if one is looking to reduce the average American diet that typically consists of a high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.   



Natural CLA

      A study done by Utah State University showed that cows on grass produced about 5 times the CLA as the very same cows did on concentrated feeds. While it took 22 days on grass to achieve peak CLA levels, it only took 4 days back on grain and conserved forages to drop back to pre pasture levels. Sustained access to pasture is key.

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