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Home / Dan's Dairy Diary / What to do About Whey?

What to do About Whey?

We are now into our seventh year of producing cheese made 100% from our delicious Jersey cow milk. We plan to use about 500,000 pounds of milk to produce 65,000 pounds of cheese in 2016. We use almost all (99%) of that cheese in both of our restaurants and retail sales for our Guests to take home and enjoy. We do sell some cheese to one of our business neighbors – Yellow Springs Brewery. Young’s cheese and some crackers go very well with their craft beer.

As you might know, when we make cheese (the curds) the by-product created is whey. Whey could also be called a co-product when making cheese. For every 100 pounds of milk we get about 12-13 pounds of curds – the cheese, in other words. The curds are mainly casein protein that is in all milk, plus calcium and other minerals.

What’s left over – the other 87-88 pounds – is mainly water with the whey. Whey is another protein that is in all milk. In large commercial type production facilities, the whey is dried (the water removed) and then the whey powder is used in many different foods – baked goods, crackers, breads, nutritional supplements and animal feed to name a few.

Since we’re a small operation as far as cheese production goes, the investment in the equipment and energy used in drying whey is prohibitively expensive

Instead, we collect our whey and spread it on our crop fields – thereby ‘recycling’ the whey back into the crops that one way or another, create the food that our cows eat! It’s one of the ways (or is that wheys?) Young’s is able to recycle and use some of our waste to benefit our farm and the environment.

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