The Way Milk Used to Taste
By Noel Daniel
The soft lowing of cattle and the fresh smell of country air complete that down-home, farmland feeling. Nestled in the rolling countryside south of Turlock is Top Line Milk Company, a sprawling dairy surrounded by nature and self-tended fields of winter grass. And they offer one of the freshest glasses of milk in the county.
“We let the consumer decide if they want a less processed, less cooked, more natural milk,” said Owner and Operator Paul van Warmerdam. “People who investigate and who are interested in their food, they drink our milk.”
Wait, you might be asking—less cooked? Don’t worry, the milk is completely safe. Instead of being pasteurized for two seconds at 280 degrees F, Top Line Milk vat pasteurizes their milk at 145 degrees F for thirty minutes for maximum taste and maximum freshness.
“OUR MILK BASICALLY COMES OUT OF THE COW, LIGHTLY HEATED AND BOTTLED FRESH,” SAID VAN WARMERDAM WITH A LAUGH. “AND IT’S REALLY GOOD.”
In fact, that’s just what makes Top Line Milk products different—the way they process. They’re a third-generation family farm that started bottling their own milk almost a year ago. Their process was born from the movement for less processed food, seeing as the Low & Slow™ milk method produces milk that’s as close to “raw” as can be sold on the market.
You might not realize it, but raw milk has a surprising heft of benefits. It not only contains proteins that can be denatured by the high heat of pasteurization, it also contains beneficial bacteria—probiotics—that help you digest foods.
“We have parents and kids coming up to us all the time and saying they can drink our milk and their stomachs don’t get upset,” said van Warmerdam. “They don’t have the intolerant issues that they would with normally-processed milk.”
Van Warmerdam is glad that others get to enjoy milk where they might otherwise have been intolerant to it— especially for kids. Milk is a “nutritional powerpack” for developing bodies, and so Top Line only sells their milk whole, with all the cream and fat.
“EVERYBODY SHOULD BE DRINKING WHOLE MILK,” SAID VAN WARMERDAM. “HOWEVER IT COMES OUT OF THE COW NATURALLY, THAT’S HOW IT GOES INTO THE BOTTLES.”
And Top Line Milk are the masters when it comes to cream. Not only is their milk non-separated and standardized, it’s also not homogenized. That means the milk they put out is old-fashioned, cream-on-the-top milk that naturally separates and is perfect for dipping farm-fresh fruits in. Some consumers have used the milk to make yogurts and cheeses, but you don’t need to get fancy. If you’re just looking for a fresh and satisfying glass of milk, all you have to do is “Shake & Enjoy.”
“Our kids grew up on raw milk,” said van Warmerdam. “I still drink my milk raw. It just tastes so doggone good. My kid’s friends would come over, and the first thing they’d want to do was drink our milk.”
Hankering for a tall glass of that classically good newcomer to the milk stage? You can pick up Top Line milk’s products at Village Fresh Market in Turlock, O’Briens and Cornucopia in Modesto, or you can visit their site for more locations: www.toplinemilk.com/where-to-buy.