Originally Posted by ThereseReich
But in reality, is Claravale also "100% pasture grazed" too, so its quality is just about the same as Organic Pastures?
Claravale moved recently, so maybe they have more pasture access at the new place, but it used to be that their cows only had seasonal pasture (late winter/early spring) because they didn't have irrigation water (and you can't keep pastures green in CA through the summer and fall without that). They fed hay and grain when I spoke with them years ago. I don't think Organic Pastures feeds large amounts of grain, but I don't know how much. They used to have pictures of their grain storage on their website. They may have reduced the amount of grain due to demand for 100% grassfed milk, but in reality, keeping a year-round dairy herd in CA on grass only is close to impossible, given the metabolism of the modern dairy cow. I'm not saying it's a bad thing for them to supplement with some grain (I have to do that with my own cow to keep her from getting too skinny, she gets a few pounds per day), but I wish they were more upfront about it on their labels and website. I would be very surprised if they have succeeded in getting their herd completely off grain, especially considering that so much of it is Holstein. A little bit of grain as a supplement for an animal that is mostly forage-fed (meaning pasture or hay) is a very different thing than confinement dairy cows eating so much grain and soy that it messes up their digestive systems and makes them sick. I believe that "100% pasture grazed" means the cows are on pasture 100% of the time, not that 100% of their nutrition comes from that pasture.
I think both OP and Claravale produce wonderful, healthy milk. It would be lower in CLA than that from 100% grassfed cows, but it's still great milk. Claravale is not certified organic, I think they say they don't feed any GMOs though.
Seasonal, grass-only dairying can be done in areas where the pasture grows fast and lush all spring and summer, but that's a rare situation in CA, partly because our soil here doesn't get as much of a winter rest (no truly dormant season of freezing temps and snow cover, in most of the state). Neither OP nor Claravale are seasonal dairies in that sense.