Aug 16, 2023
The Cream of the Crop: Kalona SuperNatural Buttermilk
We’re so excited to have finally released our Buttermilk Biscuits into the world! They’re the culmination of tons of work across all departments at Cappello’s, and manufactured and packaged entirely in-house at our beloved facility in Denver, CO. But it gets better. We’re proudly sourcing organic buttermilk from Kalona SuperNatural, a collective of 60 family farms in Kalona, Iowa all united by one ideology: regenerative and organic agriculture!
Kalona SuperNatural knows each and every farmer they work with. They visit their land and know their families, and invest in the lives of their producers. In turn, the producers invest in the integrity of the land and the health of the animals they raise. They are a living example of a holistic approach to farming, one that acknowledges and respects every part of the production process: the land, farmers, communities, soil, plants, and the animals that provide the precious milk that provides their living.
Farming the way nature intended.
Regenerative agriculture is a living systems approach to farming modeled after indigenous practices that focuses on making sure the soil is healthy and full of nutrients, and that plants and animals can thrive where our food is grown. It’s a climate smart solution that supports water usage and captures carbon. Kalona SuperNatural is a glowing example of these ideas in practice, and they’ve been doing it that way for a long, long time. They aim to give back to the land more than they take, which is our deep source of inspiration for our role in the food system here at Cappello’s. The fact that they’ve actually grown their top soil depths is a testament to the effectiveness of these practices.
...it’s about sustaining small family farms and rural communities for generations to come.
As if we didn’t sing the praises of Kalona SuperNatural enough, they’re also Land to Market verified. This organization was formed to sustain family dairy farms. Being Land to Market Regenerative verified means that these farms not only meet the requirements for a regenerative farm, but they are committed to continually improving soil fertility, capturing carbon, restoring the natural water cycle, and increasing biodiversity. This is not just about checking boxes, it’s about sustaining small family farms and rural communities for generations to come.
A herd of cows in Kalona, Iowa.
Farms older than your great-grandparents.
Kalona SuperNatural was officially founded in 2005 because the local co-op was pulling out of milk buying, and these farmers needed to find demand. While 2005 marks their official founding date, some of these farms have been around for 100 years, never using herbicides or pesticides. They were organic way before “organic” was a thing. And “regenerative farming” was just the way they did things the whole time.
These farms couldn’t be further away from the way our country mass produces dairy today. Herds of up to 40 cows roam and graze in pastures full of native prairie grasses, grazing and fertilizing as they go along. The herds are predominantly grass fed, giving the cows access to pasture during grass growing season and prioritizing the health of the cow, while being fed stored grasses and hay in non-grass growing seasons. As opposed to traditional dairy farms— cows crammed into dusty, over-crowded pens, fed with only milk in mind, treated like milk-machines rather than living, breathing, intelligent beings.
Milk: not just a vehicle for calcium.
Conventional dairy cows have an average lifespan of 4-6 years, being pumped full of heavy grains and antibiotics; whatever it takes to maximize milk production. This method may produce more milk in total, but the nutrition of the milk suffers. Grains are to cows as chocolate is to humans— they're only okay in moderation. Could a human survive and thrive on a diet only of chocolate? That’s a rhetorical question, my sweet-toothed friends. Of course they couldn’t. In contrast, Kalona SuperNatural’s grass-fed cows produce milk for an average of 10 years in a low stress environment, but often live longer than that! This results in more nutritious milk chocked full of Vitamins A & K and CO3 omega fatty acids. Oh, it also just tastes better.
Grains are to cows as chocolate is to humans— they're only okay in moderation.
On top of the nutritional benefits Kalona SuperNatural sees by farming this way, they also pasteurize their milk at the lowest temperature allowed by law. This allows the milk to maintain its natural proteins and probiotics that traditional pasteurization processes destroy. Yes, we said probiotics— those little micro-organisms that improve digestion and gut health in humans that we’re only used to getting from cultured dairy products like yogurt. Who knew milk could be so nutritious? We’ve been led to believe that milk is only good for one thing: calcium. But it can be so much more than that. At this point, you may be asking yourself: why isn’t dairy produced this way everywhere?
Our vision for the future of our food system.
We believe these practices ought to be implemented in every aspect of our food production. Imagine how our landscape would change for the better; instead of dusty fields filled with countless rows of one crop, living food forests full of harmonious biodiversity. Instead of industrial dairy farms, lush pastures of native prairie grasses grazed by free-roaming cows— perhaps the two would be one in the same. All of our farmland could be transformed from monocropped deserts to carbon capturing paradises, producing all the food we need while mitigating the impact humans have on the planet. And you can only imagine how communities would evolve alongside these practices to support this vision.
This may feel like a dream today, but we are here to do our part to move this closer to reality. By supporting farms like Kalona SuperNatural, we are supporting a thriving food system for future generations. After all, our children deserve to inherit a system that will feed and sustain their children’s children. And If that’s not a breath of fresh air, we don’t know what is!