We go through two to three gallons of milk at our house.
After reading about what cows have been eating these days I feel like I now need to choose between shipping cold milk many miles combined with ultra-pasteurization or buying from a local farm which does not pasture its cows. Of course the easiest choice is avoiding Horizon milk after reading the Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan (more on that another time).
One good choice seems to be Natural by Nature. They pledge to use milk from grass-fed, pastured cows and they do not use the regular high-temperature pasteurization. They are here in Pennsylvania, but Pennsylvania is a big state. Their products are available at the East-End Coop and they have other things besides milk.
Another choice which works for me if I can time it right is Brunton Dairy Milk. They were featured in an article in Pittsburgh Magazine (which is not available online, sorry). Then another article ran in the Post-Gazette.
Their cows are fed hay (and corn and soy and vitamins) and kept in milking barns. Sounds awful, right? But you have to try this milk. It is the most amazing stuff I have ever tried. It is skim, but it tastes like whole. Or at least 2%. Perhaps they are not skimming it? Who knows, I have not done a calorie analysis. But they are in Beaver County, and it is a single family-owned operation. The problem is that I buy their products at Murray Avenue Kosher (and it costs an arm and a leg) and for some reason tha store does not keep to a regular supply date. I thought it was Fridays, but I showed up yesterday and there was no skim. No gallons either. I don't know where else close by to get Brunton's milk.
Then there are the second tier milks. Turner Dairy (local and pledging hormone free). Schneider's jumped on the band wagon after that. Of course, neither of these are available at Giant Eagle. That would be too convenient. Another milk I've never seen anywhere is Marburger Dairy milk. Marlene Parrish mentions it in her column.
A milk I can find at Giant Eagle is Mountainside Farms. And it is less expensive ($2.50 per half gallon right now).
I don't know what "ultra-pure" means, though. It is in New York which is not too far. Pledged anti-biotic free which sounds good to me. Not ultra-pasteurized.
And what about raw milk? Haven't seen it, but I am curious about it.
Hmmm. If only I had Michael Pollan to follow each bottle of milk to its source. Or maybe there is no best option. I see a lot of dairy farm field trips in my 2 year old's and my future.