Springtime for Dairy Cows

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Spring has officially sprung, the cows have shed their winter coats and are very happily grazing the lush, GREEN hills.  The grasses they are consuming, contains a pigment and antioxidant known as beta-carotene, which is also most notably found in carrots.  Beta-carotene is dissolved into the cow’s fat stores after she chews her cud, which then in result forms globules in the milk produced.  The membranes surrounding these globules prevents the color from being released into the cow’s milk, hence why the milk in fluid form is still the white color we all recognize, however in the cheese making process these membranes are dissolved and release color into the cheese.  Our Nottingham Gouda in particular has this rich, buttery yellow color that will continue to deepen with age.  During the winter months, the cheeses will not have this rich, yellow color as there is no beta-carotene in the stored forages that the cows are consuming.  Naturally the milk, and in return cheese, during the winter months appears more white then that of the spring and summer months with the absence of this pigment.  Additionally, goat cheese will always appear bone white, the beta-carotene is broken down differently.  Instead of storing it as fat, goats convert it to Vitamin A which lacks color.  While all of our different cheeses may not be as yellow as the Nottingham Gouda, they are all just as delicious!  Come on out and enjoy this pretty spring weather with us at the Ag District Center.