hatcher questions

Are you organic?

We are not USDA certified organic. Our milk carries an all natural label which means we don’t add anything artificial to our milk. In fact, we don’t add anything at all to our whole milk, our 2% butterfat milk, or our skim milk. See the Guiding Principles area for a full description of our on the farm management practices.

How is your milk different from any other milk?

The milk carrying the Hatcher Family Dairy Label is milk produced only from our own cows. A Hatcher is involved in every aspect of the operation from feeding the cows,to milking the cows, to processing the milk, to transporting the milk, to the marketing of the milk and to managing the store. If you purchase milk on the day we process, you could be drinking milk from one of our cows milked that very morning. We call that “farm fresh”. Some say our milk tastes different and better. We invite you to taste the difference. Also, what cows eat affects the taste and nutritional composition of the milk. The primary source of forage for our cows is grass. See the Guiding Principles page for more specific info on what our cows eat. Milk derived from high quality pasture can be higher in certain nutritional components such as CLA’s (conjugated linoleic acids), omega-3 fatty acids, flavenoids, and other antioxidants.

Other differences come from our pasteurization process. Please see below for a description of the two types of pasteurization and why we have chosen the one we use.

Do you give your cows hormones?

We choose not to supplement our cows with artificial bovine growth hormone, recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST).

Is this milk raw milk?

No, our milk is processed and pasteurized in accordance with Tennessee Department of Agriculture rules and regulations.

What pasteurization process do you use?

There are two types of pasteurization processes – batch and continuous flow. In the batch process , a large quantity of milk is held in a heated vat at 149 degrees farenheit. for 30 minutes, followed by quick cooling to about 39 degrees farenheit.

In the continuous flow process also known as HTST, for high temperature, short time, milk is forced between metal plates or through pipes heated on the outside by hot water. While flowing under pressure, The milk is brought to 172 degrees farenheit for 15 seconds and then rapidly cooled to about 37 degrees farenheit.. Before being chilled back it flows through a heat exchanger to pre-warm cold milk just entering the system. This is both very efficient from an energy standpoint, but also has a minimal effect on the flavor and quality of our milk since it is exposed to high heat for such a short period of time. The main purpose of the pasteurization process is to destroy any disease causing microbes. When man-made nutrients (often inferior to their natural form) must be added back in to replace those destroyed by heat, the flavor and the quality of the milk may have suffered.

Our milk is processed in a continuous flow system.

Do you use antibiotics?

Both Charlie Hatcher and Jennifer Hatcher are veterinarians. Our cows are like family members to us. If one of our cows falls ill, the latest treatment is provided to ensure the best possible outcome. The milk is discarded during treatment and after following recommended withdrawal times.

How is your whole milk different?

Our whole milk is “cream line”. That means the cream rises to the top just the way it should naturally. This milk is not homogenized. Homogenization is a mechanical process where milk is pushed through a piston and the fat globules are disrupted and dispersed thereby preventing cream separation. Some say our whole milk cream line takes them back to the good ole days.

What does the date stamped on the jugs of milk mean?

Milk is a perishable product.The date on the jug is the” best when sold by” date. If the milk is stored properly, that is less than 40 degrees farenheit continuously, the milk should be sold by the date stamped on the jug for best taste.

You’ll notice that because we are local and because of our pasteurization process, our milk will last longer in your fridge than some others.