Former Dairy Farm Trades Cows For Plant-Based Milk
Former Dairy Farm Trades Cows For Plant-Based Milk
Written by: Kat Gal
What will happen to dairy farmers if the world goes vegan?
It’s a valid question from those who are concerned about farmers and those who are looking for excuses to not get on the plant-based bandwagon. The outlook is not so sad, as it turns out. Once you read the story of Henry Schwartz, a dairy farmer turned plant milk producer, you will realize that the future is bright. Dairy farmers and dairy lovers alike can find joy, health AND success in the plant-food craze.
The Story Of Henry Schwartz
It is safe to say that Henry Schwartz was meant to be a dairy farmer. From age 6, he had worked on weekends and vacations learning the ins and outs of the family dairy business.
It all began with his grandfather who bought a herd of cows in Manhattan back in the early 1900’s. Manhattan wasn’t a place for cows, even back then, so he crossed the Williamsburg Bridge, eventually settling in Elmhurst, a neighborhood in Queens. His sons, Schwartz’s father and an uncle followed him into the business bottling milk. Their milk, Elmhurst Dairy, gained popularity, finding its way across NYC from schools to Starbucks by the 21st century.
Can you imagine someone like Schwartz with a well-known dairy business and family tradition working in dairy deciding to go plant-based?
The truth is that the milk mustache is not as cool as it used to be. The American milk consumption is on a major decline. Being plant-based, vegan and vegetarian is not only healthy, but trendy, with 6% of American being vegan and even more plant-based, near-vegan, vegetarian and veg-curious.
Seeing current trends, Schwartz had decided it was time for a new direction: getting out of dairy and getting into plants.
The New Business
Elmhurst Dairy has turned into Elmhurst Milked, replacing cow milk with plant-based alternatives. Nuts, oats and rice are being ‘milked’ (hence the name) by the process of separating the protein from the fiber and extracting liquid from the plants while still retaining protein to create delicious products.
This proprietary cold-water mechanical extraction process was invented by Cheryl Mitchell, a food scientist whose career in plant-milk began in the 1970’s, creating Rice Dream rice milk.
Mitchell wasn’t raised by vegans either. In fact, she is the daughter of Bill Mitchell, a food chemist who invented Cool Whip, Pop Rocks and Tang. After her Ph.D., Mitchell got interested in food, carbs and metabolism from a natural processing perspective.
Working with Imagine Foods on Rice Dream was a fantastic opportunity, yet she was not satisfied. She wanted to maximize the nutrients in raw ingredients, making plant-based foods even healthier and full of nutrients.
The Big Shift
In 2001 she was able to buy her own research facility where she developed a remarkable extraction process over the next five years, creating plant-based milk where the protein is not lost, the texture is perfect and the taste is even more delicious. Most commercial almond milk has only 1 gram of protein, while the process developed by Mitchell creates almond milk that has 5 grams of protein. Her peanut milk even contains 6 grams. That is close to the 8 grams found in cow’s milk.
Success didn’t come right away, the economic collapse in 2008 placed some unwanted roadblocks. Partnering with Schwartz in 2015 changed everything – for both of them. Working with Elmhurst’s sister company, Steuben Foods, they started ‘milking’ almonds using Mitchell’s technology and soon added other plants, including walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, brown rice, oats and peanuts for variety and sustainability. Milking peanuts has even excited American peanut farmers and the National Peanut Board.
Elmhurst Milked has debuted with four plant-based milk products in January 2017 and have been gaining popularity quickly. They are currently working with other companies to develop other plant-based ‘milk’ products, including plant-based yogurts and cheeses.
Schwartz and Mitchell both believe that it is time to reevaluate our past and present and start creating new food traditions with natural and plant-based food that can create a better and healthier future.
This sounds like a win for all: their business, their customers, the cows and the environment. Of course, the National Milk Producers Federations are less happy, opposing the use of the word ‘milk’ for any plant-based beverages. They strongly believe that plant-milks are not equal and for a consistent package of nutrition, you need ‘real’ milk (as in cow’s milk).
Mitchell argues the need for cow’s milk. Each Elmhurst Milked product offers an abundance of nutritional benefits. Better yet, instead of a one-size-fits all approach, each of their offerings provides different benefits.
Nut milks are filled with iron, potassium and calcium whereas oat and rice milk provide a necessary boost of fiber. Those with different food allergies, intolerances, health concerns and picky taste buds can navigate easily and find what they need. Each product has a distinct flavor too to allow variety throughout the week. Not to mention the minimal environmental footprint of most of these products. Peanut milk, for example, is supporting 7,000 farmers growing 3.5 tons of peanuts in the U.S. in a year. The possibilities in plant-milk are endless; besides the ideas already mentioned, there are also pumpkin seeds, pistachios, hemp seeds and so on. Plants provide the diversity our bodies and taste-buds crave.
There are radical shifts in the food industry and food technology. Not only plant-milks, but all plant-based foods provide a new way to maximize nutrition, eliminate food waste and protect the environment.
If you think you will lose by giving up dairy, think again. Imagine how much you will gain by switching to a diversity of plant-based foods. Your taste buds will be entertained and your body will be happy too.
Join The Movement!
We are certainly excited to be on the plant-based train. All of our Organifi products are vegan, plant-based, organic, dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free, GMO-free, healthy and delicious. The diversity of our products bring you different health benefits and satisfy your cravings each part of the day.
Organifi Gold, for example, can calm your body, ease your mind, help your healthy response to inflammation and detoxify your body. Mixed with a cup of hot water or plant-milk, Organifi Gold turns into the most delicious fairy tale bringing your good sleep and healing on the cellular level.
Why don’t you jump on the plant-based health train with us? If a dairy farmer can make the switch from cows to plants, you can certainly include more plant-foods in your diet. Start with a delicious glass of Organifi.
What is your favorite plant-based milk on the market? What plant-milk will you mix your next cup of Organifi Gold with? Share away in the comments below. Let’s Organifi, plantify and healthify our lives together one sip at a time.
And remember, we’re in this together.
Kat Gál is a multi-passionate writer, world traveler, nomad, runner, and cat-person. She is a lifelong learner who lives outside of her comfort zones stretching her boundaries and discovering beauty around the world. She is a Certified Holistic Health and Life Coach who encourages others to embrace their unique authentic selves, follow their heart and find their own version of freedom in life.
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