Dairy Entries: Where To Get Farm-To-Home Milk In Mumbai
Purveyors of milk in India have a long history of adding surprising substances to our daily glass of dairy. Anyone who has childhood memories of their grandmother staring down the milkman with a trusty lactometre by her side can attest to this. Flash forward to 2016 and very little has changed. India is the largest producer of milk in the world. We make 146 million tonnes of the stuff every year, accounting for 18.5 per cent of the world’s total production, according to the Economic Survey of 2015-16. But a whopping 68 per cent of what makes its way to our breakfast tables is tainted. If you’re lucky, the additive will be just plain ol’ water. If you’re not, your mug might contain detergent or white paint, common adulterants used to bulk up quantities, or hydrogen peroxide, used to extend shelf life.
Turning to box milk may not shield you from the hormones routinely used in the dairy industry to increase yield. The milk in these containers is subjected to ultra-high temperature pasteurisation to extend its longevity, a process that some studies say alters milk’s basic components, rendering it difficult to digest and leading to a rise in lactose intolerance and autoimmune disease. Cheese and yoghurt makers call it ‘dead milk’ and shun it because of its lack of beneficial cultures and enzymes.
Recognising that the denizens of the city want to know what’s in their milk and how the animals that produce it are being treated, a bunch of new dairy farms have pioneered farm-to-home supply. Their milk, they state, is antibiotic and free of hormones. If, for some reason, cows are being treated with antibiotics, they are quarantined so that the drugs are not passed on into the milk. Most of these farms will give you a free sample before you decide to buy. In this round-up, we review the offerings of five companies that bring additive-free milk to your doorstep.
The only one on the list with a fully organic label, Bliss Fresh was started by a group of friends with a background in banking, with Rajesh Singh at the helm. Bliss Fresh, which was launched in 2013, is in the process of being certified as an organic farm by the Bureau Veritas Group. Their farm in Shahapur has 400 free-range Holstein Friesian cows that feed on green grass fodder and mixed grain grown on site to ensure that it’s free of pesticides, fertilisers and other chemicals.
Tasting notes Bliss Fresh’s pasteurised milk has 3.5 per cent fat. It has a slightly thinner texture than the other brands and a pleasantly clean flavour. If overly rich milk is not to your taste, then this is for you.
How much Rs30 for a half-litre gable top carton. Buy it here or get it at select Nature’s Basket outlets. Ghee and dahi are slated to be added to the product range by the end of the year.
LALGOON MILK FARMS
A new player in the market, Lalgoon Milk Farms started supplying milk to Mumbai’s residents in June. The farm is named after the village in Satara where it’s located. Mangal Gupta began Lalgoon Farms in 2010 when he started out growing pesticide-free exotic vegetables, which are sold under the brand Exotica Greens. He began farming Holstein Friesian cattle in 2012 to supply milk to friends and family and the response was so good that he decided to expand the enterprise. Lalgoon promotes hygienically produced raw milk because Gupta believes heavy pasteurisation destroys beneficial bacteria, enzymes and natural vitamins. Their website has meticulous instructions on the right way to boil raw milk to retain its nutritional content.
Tasting notes Lalgoon’s raw milk, which is the only kind they sell, has upwards of 3.8 per cent fat. The milk has the faint aroma of stables and smells and tastes closest to what we drank as children.
How much Rs 65 per litre. Buy it here or call 84540 67778 or 84540 67779 to subscribe. There are plans to expand the brand’s repertoire to include ghee and paneer.
Five years ago, a group of bankers from the city started a farm under the banner Farm Connect with the idea of retailing quality dairy products. The enterprise evolved into the fresh milk brand Nutoras. Their herd of cows are cross-breeds of Indian and Holstein Friesian, Irish Moiled and Red Danish cattle, which co-founder Dhananjay Singh believes makes them hardier and more suited to local climatic conditions. Apart from grazing free, the cows are fed high protein Lucerne grass and corn, both of which are organically grown on the farm in Wai and the surrounding village in Satara. “We wanted to be more than just a commercial enterprise.” said Singh. “We wanted to make an impact and engage with the community around us.” Nutoras buys some of its fodder from the villagers in the area and supplies them with manure from the farm.
Tasting notes Nutoras only sells pasteurised and homogenised milk, of which the fat percentage (that varies according to the season) ranges from 4.3 per cent in winter to 4.7 per cent in summer. Singh said the high percentage of fat is no reason to be wary. “Milk is actually best drunk whole,” he said. “Skimming milk means we absorb less fat-soluble nutrients like vitamins A and E.” Perhaps the tastiest of the bottles we tried, the milk is thick and has a pleasing sweet-salty flavour that helps elevate a cup of chai or coffee.
How much Rs70 a litre. Nutoras offers 15-day, 30-day and 90-day subscription plans. Buy it here or at select Nature’s Basket outlets and Haiko Supermarket in Powai. Greek yoghurt and free-range eggs are scheduled to be added to the brand’s products, which currently include cow milk paneer, ghee, rasgullas and Mathura peda and milk cake.
PRIDE OF COWS
Among the earliest companies to start supplying fresh milk directly to homes in the city, Pride of Cows appeared on our radar when their PET bottles started popping up at food fairs in Mumbai a few years ago. Parag Milk Foods, the company that owns the Go and Gowardhan brands of milk and dairy products, started the premium milk company in 2010. Their herd of Holstein Friesian cows live on a diet of high quality alfalfa, pennisetum, greens, soya and bran at their fully automated 26-acre farm in Manchar near Pune.
Tasting notes Pride of Cows sells only one variant of pasteurised and homogenised milk, which contains 3.5 per cent fat and has a thick, creamy texture and a mellow, slightly sweet flavour.
How much Rs80 a litre. The company offers daily, alternate-day, and thrice-a-week delivery options. Subscribe here.
The Sarda family of Nashik already had a school, a mall and a line of Ayurvedic medicine when they decided to get into the dairy business four years ago. “They saw the abysmal quality of milk in this country and decided to fill a gap,” said Jaidev Mishra, marketing consultant for Sarda Farms. Their 50-acre farm in the village of Shenith in Igatpuri is home to 1,200 Holstein Friesian cows that roam free and are fed a specially formulated diet of dry and green fodder and sugarcane. The Sarda Farms website offers customers farm visits to watch their cows get pampered with showers and massages as they listen to Bach and Mozart.
Tasting notes Sarda Farms covers all bases with its four variants of milk: raw; pasteurised; pasteurised and homogenised; and skim. Their non-skimmed varieties have upwards of 3.5 per cent fat and the skimmed, less than 0.5 per cent fat. The thick, smooth milk is starkly different from that of mass-market packet brands, which are watery in comparison.
Price Rs90 per litre for a monthly subscription plan; Rs77 per litre for a three-to-six month subscription; and Rs75 per litre for a yearly plan. Subscribe here or call 1800 233 6455. Sarda Farms also sells ghee and dahi at Foodhall in Lower Parel and via their website.