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I want to share with you my favourite milk: and it comes from right here in Waterloo Region.
It’s Eby Manor Golden Guernsey of Waterloo. I have it on my cereal every morning, and I buy it at either Healthy Haven, Kitchener Farmers’ Market, or Vincenzo’s.
The owner, Jim Eby, is like a old-timey milkman delivering his delicious milk in “retro” glass bottles. What a great idea.
The guernsey cows are fed non-GMO feed and silage from the Eby farm: I love their milk and their approach to farming. The business is at once entrepreneurial at the same time it is capturing the essence of “real milk” and what a small community-based business can be — and should be, when it comes to our food.
Eby Manor raises a lovely herd of 60 or so milking Guernsey cows, just a few minutes from the St. Jacobs Market. Eby’s father switched to Guernsey cows in the 1960s, and the farm has been raising and milking them ever since.
We are used to Holstein milk, the cows who produce most of our drinking milk; however, Guernseys milk is quite different with more protein, vitamins and calcium.
The Eby’s dairy farm is something of a small-farm evolution if not revolution, too: it represents a loosening of the last 50 years of tightly controlled supply management which sees all milk go into a central pool — where not only is it homogenized in terms of processing, but it is homogenized in terms of flavour: all milk that we buy tastes the same and is mostly Holstein milk.
Guernsey milk is quite different. In fact, Eby’s Guernsey milk production, because it is not processed along with millions of litres of other milk, is in part responsible for helping along a Dairy Farmers of Ontario-initiative called “Project Farmgate.”
Note, though, that Eby Manor is not a “micro-dairy” where Eby can process his milk, so he sends it to an out-of-town dairy, Hewitt’s, for pasteurizing and bottling. What Eby Manor is, however, is a movement in a direction that consumers want more and more. They became Ontario’s first farm to sell under its own label milk from one herd and one kind of cow in nearly half a century: that’s how you have Eby Manor Golden Guernsey. And there are a few others around the province now as well.
“We wanted to expand what we were able to offer to the public,” Jim Eby says. “We started with two percent, which statistically is the most popular milk sold. We went with the 4.8 percent whole milk because we wanted to be able to offer something that no one else could offer.”
For that difference, you need either all Guernsey or Jersey cows to get enough butter fat, Eby explains. His Guernseys were up to that task.
“The milk is not standardized,” he explains, “which means the butter fat is not taken out and put back in to 4.8 (percent). It’s milk that is just pasteurized (according to our laws and health regulations) but which means the milk is the least processed it can be.”
Because it is natural, the butter fat will fluctuate, but Eby says the 4.8 percent is the minimum. Other whole milk in Ontario is about 3.25 percent milk fat. Eby also notes that because Guernsey milk has Beta Casein A2 protein, it may be more easily digested by people with milk intolerances.
If you haven’t done so yet, give this milk a try!