Q – What is Cedar Summit Farm?
A - Cedar Summit Farm is a fourth generation dairy farm owned and operated by the David and Florence Minar family of New Prague, Minnesota. We are working to preserve our farm for the fifth generation.
Q – Why is Cedar Summit Farm different?
A - Cedar Summit farm is an organic, 100% grass-fed dairy farm. We are the only on-farm creamery bottling organic,100% grass-fed milk in Minnesota.
Q – What does 100% grass-fed dairy mean?
A - We do not feed any grain to our herd. Winter feed is harvested forages. The rest of the year our herd grazes on green pasture.
Q – What are the benefits of 100% grass-fed dairy?
A - Higher levels of Omega 3 and CLA fatty acids are found in the milk and meat of 100% grass-fed animals. Information on grass fed benefits can be found at eatwild.com.
Q – How do your farming methods effect the environment?
A - All of our land is kept in a constant vegetative state, minimizing runoff of water, soil and nutrients into Sand Creek, which meanders through our farm. A collaborative study done on Sand Creek in the late 90’s documented that the water was cleaner when it left the farm then when it entered.
Q – Where are you located?
A - We are about 30 minutes South of the Twin Cities and 2 miles North of New Prague. Our address is 25830 Drexel Ave. New Prague, Minnesota 56071.
Q – How are your animals raised?
A - After birth the calves are allowed to be with their mothers and nurse for about 2 months. During this time the calves become accustomed to the routine of the dairy herd and are learning from their mothers how to act and what to eat. After weaning they are fed organic hay and allowed to graze on pastures (when in season) or harvested forages.
Before our conversion to a grazing system, Dave spent many sleepless nights assisting the cows with birthing. As a result of the constant exercise that our cows receive, they have excellent muscle tone. Now our cows give birth, in the pastures, with very little assistance.
Q – What do your cows eat?
A – Grass and legumes in the pastures during the summer and stored grass and legumes in the winter. The cow is an amazing forager. Many different forbs also grow in our pastures, especially at the forest edges. Many of these have medicinal qualities and a cow’s instincts will tell her which one she should nibble on. Our cows do not consume any grains. They have a forage diet 12 months a year; fresh pasture 7 months of the year and then stored forages during the late-fall thru early-spring months. Our herd’s milk production has dropped in half, but by not adding any grains to their diet we are maximizing the amount of CLA and Omega 3 that you consume thru their milk and meat. Even the smallest amount of grain can alter the amount of CLA and Omega 3 in the milk drastically. Visit eatwild.com for more information on CLA, Omega 3 and grass-fed animals.
Q – What kind of cows do you raise?
A - We raise a crossbred herd, a healthy mixture of breeds that are known for producing milk that is high in butter-fat and protein content, and for being great walkers and strong grazers. Many different breeds are used in our breeding program. They include Ayrshire, Jersey, Milking Shorthorn, Normande, and many European red breeds.
Q – How many cows do you have in your herd?
A – We generally have around 130 milking cows, in addition to young stock and steers.
Q – Where can I buy Cedar Summit beef and pork?
A - We invite you to visit our Farm Store in New Prague to purchase a variety of Cedar Summit Farm beef and pork cuts. We also sell our beef buy the half or quarter, and our pork by the whole or half. Visit our beef and pork pages for more information.
Q – How do you process your milk?
A – We use an HTST pasteurizer. That means that the milk is brought to a high temp (170F) for a short time then chilled. The milk is then sent to a cooling tank to be bottled (for whole milk) or it goes thru a separator to skim the cream from the milk and cooled again. Our 1% and 2% milks are a precise mixture of whole milk and skimmed milk. We do not homogenize and we do not add dry milk powder. Our cows are also not treated with rBGH.
Q – What does homogenization mean?
A – Milk is often homogenized, a treatment which prevents a cream layer from separating out of the milk. The milk is pumped at high pressures through a very small orifice, breaking up the fat globules. We DO NOT homogenize our milk, so make sure to shake it up. Not homogenizing also means that our cream will whip up like a dream – watch it carefully or you may end up with some straight-from-the-farm butter!
Q – Why is your milk more expensive than other organic milk?
A - Cows raised only on grass produce about half as much milk as cows fed grain.
Our family’s first priority is to deliver milk that is the healthiest and the highest quality. Breeding and feeding our herd for high production volumes does not meet our highest priority. The first foundation of our healthy milk starts with the quality of our pastures and this delivers high CLA and high Omega 3. The second foundation of our milk is the unique breeding of our cows that efficiently converts the pasture into high CLA, high Omega 3 and high A2 beta casein milk. We believe these unique priorities leave our customers with the highest value 100% grass-fed organic milk.
Q – If grass-fed is so expensive, why not feed some grain?
A - When grain is introduced into the diet, even the smallest amounts of grain, the levels of Omega 3 and CLA fatty acids plummet. More of this information can be found at eatwild.com.
Q – Does all of Cedar Summit milk come from Cedar Summit Farm?
A – Yes. We are a single-source creamery. All of the milk that we bottle comes from our herd.
Q – Do you have raw milk available?
A – At this time, we have made the decision not to offer raw milk.
Q – What are the percentages of fat content in your Whole Milk and Heavy Cream?
A – Whole milk averages about 4%; A little more in the winter and a little less in the summer. Heavy cream is about 40%
Q – Does your milk have added Vitamin A and D?
A – Vitamins A & D are carried in the fat of milk. As you skim the fat off for skim, 1% and 2%, vitamins are lost. We are required to add Vitamins A and D to our Skim, 1% and 2% milk. Our whole milk does not have these vitamins added. Vitamin D comes from the sun, and our cows get lots of sun!
Q – Any tricks to working with the cream at the top of the bottle?
A – Generally once you get the first glass of milk out of the bottle or carton, you should be able to shake the cream in! For the first glass, use a knife or small fork to make a whole in the cream, pour, enjoy and then shake away!
Q – What is the difference between glass bottles and cartons?
A – Our glass bottles can be returned to us and reused about 20 times. Anyone that sells our glass-bottled milk will take your returns and get them back to us for refilling. The glass bottles go thru a heavy cleaning and rinse before we put the next batch of milk in them. The milk is also kept colder in glass. We offer cartons as an alternative choice when buying our milk. The milk in the bottles and cartons are the same product – just different packaging.
Q – Why does my milk taste a little off before the date on the bottle/carton?
A – This happens a couple times a year when the cows transition from fresh pasture to stored, fermented grasses in fall then back again in spring. This is normal and can sometimes take a bit of getting used to but rest assured that the transition is only temporary and the milk is still healthy! It is still very important that you care for milk as perishable because we don’t homogenize, and we pasteurize at a lower temperature than most milk. Keep the milk in the coldest part of your refrigerator and bring a cooler with you to the store on warmer days.
Q – What does the date on the package mean?
A – The date on the bottle/carton is 16 days out from pasteurization. As long as the milk is kept cold and in the interior of your refrigerator, it should last you 2-3 days beyond that date!
Q – Where can I buy your milk?
A – Please see our Locator page for an updated listing of stores offering our products. Don’t forget, you can always come down and visit us in New Prague at the Farm Store. We offer all of our dairy and meat products for sale, as well as a wide variety of local and organic foods.