You may not have known that the vast majority of milk and milk products in North America are made from the milk of the venerable Holstein cow. Dairy farmers choose Holsteins partly because they tend to produce more milk than other breeds.
Recent studies are revealing that Holstein cows are more likely to produce milk with the at least one A1 beta casein protein (see the table below from an article from the Canadian Dairy Network).
Table 2: Estimated Beta Casein Genotype Frequencies by Breed
According to the article, “studies suggest around 25% of people are sensitive to one of the proteins that are released upon the digestion of A1 milk.”
Some research has found that A2 milk, which is more prevalent from heritage breeds, performs better. Much more research is needed, since many of the studies that have been conducted are by a company that markets A2 milk, but mounting evidence implies health benefits from A2 milk. Check out this article from Mother Jones for more on the topic.
Here at the Kootenay Co-op we are fortunate to have abundant A2 options!
Our two True Local dairies, Jerseyland Organics and Kootenay Meadows both milk heritage breeds! Jerseyland supplies us with organic raw milk cheeses, non-homogenized yogurt and sour cream from their beautiful herd of grass-fed Jersey cows. Kootenay Meadows supplies us with organic glass bottled milk, raw alpine-style cheeses, and butter seasonally. The well-loved cows at Kootenay Meadows are a mix of heritage breeds but predominately Jerseys and Jersey crosses.
If chocolate milk is more to your taste, the Kootenay Co-op also offers a chocolate milk from Happy Planet Creamery that is sourced from heritage breeds. Happy Planet says their milk comes from Jerseys, Jersey crosses, Brown Swiss and Guernseys, breeds “known for their superbly creamy and flavourful milk full of healthful benefits. Their milk has a higher percentage of butterfat, calcium, beta carotene, omega 3s and A2 protein than modern domestic breeds like Holsteins.”