There are many reasons
our milk tastes as delicious and rich as it does! Many people think it's just the
glass bottle, and while our signature glass bottles certainly protect the flavor
of our milk, it really is much more than that. In fact it all starts at the farm...
Milk Quality At the Farm
We start with the highest quality milk available:
- Family Farms and The Oberweis Farmer’s Pledge:
Our small-herd family farmers make certain commitments to Oberweis Dairy and
our customers that ultimately produce the highest quality milk available. Click
here to read the Oberweis Farmer’s
After the Farm
- Measurable Quality: We measure somatic cell
counts (SCC) and pay our farmers a substantial premium to achieve low somatic cell
counts. An important measurement of the quality of raw milk, low somatic cell counts
indicate a healthy cow. State laws allow 750,000 SCC/ml in raw milk. Oberweis milk
can only have a maximum of 250,000 SCC/ml, and most of our producers are in the
100,000 – 150,000 range.
- No Artificial Hormones: The use of the bovine
growth hormone (rBGH) is NOT permitted on Oberweis farms, just as on organic farms.
Most of our farmers would never even consider using rBGH on the cows because it
tends to make the cow more susceptible to infections. This is inconsistent with
the great care they provide for their herds. We pay our farmers a substantial premium
not to use rBGH.
- Humane Treatment of Cows: Our small-herd
family farmers know their cows by name and treat them accordingly. Their farms are
designed to maximize the comfort of the cows rather than the cows’ milk production.
By focusing on their animals’ comfort, our farmers have happier and healthier cows
that produce higher quality milk.
After the milk leaves our farms, we do everything possible to protect the incredible
quality milk our farmers provide as we bottle it and make it available to your family:
As you can see, it’s not just the glass bottle that makes Oberweis milk taste so
delicious! Along with our family farmers, we take care at every step in the process
to ensure you’re drinking Simply the Best® milk!
- Freshness. How many dairies do you know
where you can purchase the milk directly from the dairy (rather than an intermediary
such as a grocery store)? By purchasing Oberweis milk through our stores or through
home delivery, you know you are purchasing fresh milk, and that we have carefully
handled your milk prior to your purchase.
The expiration date on milk tells consumers approximately when the milk was pasteurized,
but it doesn’t say anything as to how much time elapsed between milking and pasteurization.
At Oberweis, we pick milk up from our farms every single day of the year. Unlike
many larger dairies, we don’t have any facilities between the farm and our dairy
plant, so our milk moves immediately from the farm to our plant where it is pasteurized
and bottled very quickly.
Our milk is so fresh that it can be leaving our dairy plant on its way to your home
literally the very same day the cow was milked! Now that’s fresh!
- Gentle Pasteurization: Oberweis milk is
gently pasteurized, as fresh milk was meant to be. We gently heat the milk to make
it safe to drink for your family, while retaining its delicious flavor and nutrients.
Other milk – including nearly all organic milk – is pasteurized using UHT (ultra-high
temperature) pasteurization which can extend the shelf life for months but destroys
many of the beneficial nutrients in milk. UHT milk in the right packaging (aseptic
packaging similar to a juice box) doesn’t even need to be in the refrigerator! Yuck!
Our customers want truly fresh milk that’s safe to drink, retains the nutritional
value of milk, and won’t sit on a shelf for weeks or months before they enjoy it!
- Glass Bottle. Glass bottles are terrific
containers to protect Oberweis milk. When our milk in a glass bottle is exposed
to room temperature (hopefully for only a very short time), the glass bottle (unlike
plastic) insulates the milk from the taste-altering effects of heat. By keeping
the milk colder for more time than plastic or cardboard, the flavor is preserved
and shelf life is maximized.
In addition, cardboard and most plastic (although not the bottles we use for quarts
and 12 ounce milks) give an unpleasant flavor to the milk which gets worse with
time. Glass protects the flavor of the terrific milk our farmers provide!
Lastly, our reusable glass bottles are environmentally friendly as the waste created
is simply a recyclable cap rather than an entire plastic bottle.
Oberweis Dairy is proud to have our milk certified as Kosher by the Chicago Rabbinical
Council. For a complete listing of our Kosher Oberweis products, please click here (requires Acrobat
Is Oberweis Milk Organic?
Many customers have asked if Oberweis milk is organic. We are not certified as USDA
organic, and we would like to explain why we considered and chose not to pursue
this certification. We believe our milk embodies the qualities desired by most consumers
seeking organic products even more than organic milk itself. The legal definition
of organic milk has several requirements and if those requirements are met, the
milk is organic – completely irrespective of what else may happen with the milk.
We are proud of the aspects of our process that set Oberweis apart including:
Our customers agree with our longtime slogan...our milk
is Simply the Best®.
- Family Farms. Oberweis Dairy has established
business and collegial relationships with a number of family farms ... many are
multigenerational. Rather than purchasing comingled milk from a cooperative of high-output
farms, we pay a premium to families who care about producing milk as a way of life.
Our milk is taken from their farms to our plant every day rather than being held
at an interim location. (Read our Farmers
- Humane Animal Treatment. We joke that "happy
cows give the best milk," but it’s really a true statement. The quality of raw milk
improves measurably when a cow is not stressed, and we start with the very best
raw milk available. Therefore, it stands to reason that – based on the measurable
quality of milk – Oberweis cows experience lower stress.
In addition, our farmers sign a commitment to provide milk from cows treated humanely
(instead of cramped, confined living conditions in a barn and never seeing the light
of day). For example, when an animal is sick, treatment may include medication,
although the milk is discarded until our tests show that it is free of antibiotics.
We test for antibiotics before accepting each load of raw milk, and our farmers
contractually protect our milk supply from antibiotics. Our farmers pledge to NEVER
Organic certification requires that milk be discarded for 12 months after antibiotic
use. This has the unfortunate side effect of making a sick cow such a financial
burden to a farm that it must frequently be killed. When this happens, organic farmers
generally milk the sick cow (and sell her milk to be bottled as organic) as she
gets sicker and sicker and as the quality of her milk deteriorates. She is slaughtered
once her milk approaches legal limits.
- Fresh, Not UHT. In addition, most organic
milk is ultra-pasteurized (UHT), which is allowable by the standard for organic
milk. During the UHT process, milk is heated to an ultra-high temperature to extend
the shelf life for months, likely destroying many valuable nutrients in the process.
Oberweis milk is pasteurized as fresh milk has been for generations. We gently heat
the milk to the lowest acceptable temperature to kill bacteria but retain taste
and nutrients. Our milk is so fresh that it frequently goes from cow to your milkbox
in 24 hours!
- Glass Bottles. Organic milk is not generally
provided in glass bottles. This affects both the taste of the milk and care of the
environment. Oberweis is committed to providing the best product from our farms
to your families.
Our customers oppose rBGH Recombinant Growth Hormone. The family farmers who supply
our milk have pledged not to treat their cows with rBGH*.
*The FDA states "No
significant difference has been shown between milk derived from rBGH-treated and
non-rBGH treated cows."