Friday, February 12, 2010

First in a Series of Brand Name Favorites: I Tackle the Toughest Category

(c) photo copyright Carrie Boyko 2010
Favorite Cheeses at My House
Dairy products....ahhh! I'm certainly no Vegan; I love love love cheese! Real cheese made out of real milk. The thing that makes this category so tough is that among all food categories, dairy products have the fewest diversities. With the exception of yogurt, which can come in so many different forms, most organic dairy products are very similar to their traditional counterparts. Well, except for the base product: milk.

Have you tasted organic milk? The difference in flavor cannot be denied. Even my own family, before they 'bought in' to the idea of changing all our tried and true favorite brands, were immediately on board with the milk. Surprisingly, organic milk tastes richer than in its conventional form. And no, I don't have a clue why.

My guess is the lack of toxins allows the true flavor to come through. All I can say is you absolutely have to try it. Need more convincing? Read this Milk Lover's Interview I did some time ago, for another opinion. We've found the same surprising information you'll read in this interview.

After telling you I would share my favorite brands in many product categories, this one category is going to disappoint you in some ways. I'll do what I can:

  • Organic Valley seems to run more sales and has a wider availability of all the dairy products: sour cream, cream cheese, and some other items that not all brands offer.
  • I also like their website for printing coupons. Who doesn't like to get $1 off a carton of milk?
  • While the flavor of mozzarella cheese seems to be consistent among brands, I like the heavier shred of Whole Foods Markets' mozarella. The only problem here is that they don't seem to keep it in stock reliably. :( 
  • I'm a big fan of sharp cheddar, but have only found it at Whole Foods (8 oz. package) and in slices from Applegate Farms. Mild and medium cheddar just don't do the trick for me. Picky, I guess.
  • One final addition to my dairy list will wrap this up: Pepper Jack slices by Applegate Farms make a truly zippy grilled cheese sandwich, especially when made with pumpernickel or rye bread. Not very traditional, I know. If you like a little extra punch, try this option and see what fun a grilled cheese sandwich can be with a little creativity.
So, there you have it--my favorite dairy products from the organic brands available to me. I'll close by saying that when it comes to milk, we have no preference. When given the choice, we usually choose the least expensive, or store brand when available. I hope this list will get you thinking about trying organic dairy products. The antibiotics, chemical fertilizers, and growth hormones in traditionally produced dairy products have been accused in the growing earlier puberty concerns among pediatricians. Consider your kids when you think about this important decision. Of all the organic products you might wish to invest in, dairy is at the top of the list in terms of importance to your family's health. 

I'll leave you with a favorite family recipe for homemade pizza, which uses--as you might have guessed--a luscious bag of mozzarella cheese. More good news; it only takes 20 minutes to prepare. Here's your answer to dinner in a hurry. Let me know what you think.
(c) photo copyright Carrie Boyko 2009
Organic Sweet Pepper Pizza

Want to learn more about dairy product issues? Here's a good start:

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