Ways to Support Organic Dairy

In light of the decision by Danone, the owner of the Horizon Organic brand, to terminate contracts with 89 organic dairies in the Northeast, including 14 farms in Maine, there is an increased need to support local, organic dairy by consumers. 

Organic dairy farms are the backbone of many of Maine’s rural communities. These farms are fixtures in the economy, supporting local businesses and contributing significantly to the tax base, while also providing tremendous environmental benefits through the open space and wildlife habitat they support. Their regeneratively managed fields sequester carbon, and, of course, these farms supply milk free of synthetic pesticides, herbicides and growth hormones, making them a critical part of a healthy food system. 

However, the dairy system in the Northeast has been and continues to be at risk of collapse. While critically important to the region, organic dairies historically have not been treated as such. There are currently 61 certified organic cow and goat dairies in Maine. Many, but not all, of the certified organic dairy producers wholesale their milk to dairy processors.

Buy organic dairy from Maine at the grocery store.

With the exit of Horizon Organic from the Maine dairy market there are two large processors, Organic Valley and Stonyfield, which support local, organic dairies. To determine the origin source of milk sold by large processors, look at the code printed on the container; find out more about where to look here. The code “23” indicates that milk is from Maine. 

Purchase organic dairy directly from local farmers.

You can also find milk from local, organic producers at farm stands and food stores across the state — just look for the MOFGA certified organic logo. Here are some MOFGA-certified organic dairies that sell products directly to consumers or through local stores.

Cook with local, organic dairy products in your kitchen.

If you need some new-to-you dairy recipes, Roberta Bailey shared these recipes featuring dairy in her Harvest Kitchen column a few years ago. 

Find all MOFGA-certified organic dairies using our online searchable database.

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