Plant Info

The Bottling Plant
This is where all the milk gets processed and put into the glass bottles for your drinking enjoyment.

Different types of milk:

  • Creamline Whole:  The only process that is done to this milk is our low temperature pasteurization.  There is nothing added to or removed from this milk. The Butterfat content is 3.9%-4.1% depending on the cows’ diet at the time.
  • 2% Reduced Fat:  This milk is 50% Whole and 50% Skim milk giving it 1.8%-2.1% Butterfat content.  Vitamins A & D are added and it then goes through our low temperature pasteurization process.
  • Fat Free Skim:  This milk has had all Butterfat content removed.  We add Vitamins A & D and then it goes through our low temperature pasteurization process.
  • Rich and Creamy Chocolate:  This made from our Whole milk.  We add 1.5 lbs of Forbes Chocolate Powder /w pure Vanilla and 5 lbs of Certified Organic Cane Sugar per 10 gallons of milk.  It is thoroughly mixed and put through our low temperature pasteurization process.
  • Heavy Cream:  This is the Cream that is removed from our Skim and 2% Milks.  Its Butterfat content is 38%-42%.  There is nothing added or removed from it.  Its’ only process is our low temperature pasteurization.
  • Half and Half Creamer:  This is made of 1/3 Heavy Cream and 2/3 Whole Milk resulting in the Butterfat content being 11%-12.5%.  There is nothing added or removed and it goes through our low temperature pasteurization process.
  • Cultured Buttermilk:  This is made from our 2% Milk.  We add Vitamins A & D and it goes through our pasteurization process.  It is then cooled to 75 degrees F.  We then add the Live Buttermilk Culture and stir thoroughly.  It then incubates at 75 degrees for 14-16 hours and then cooled and bottled.
  • Fat Free Strawberry Milk:  This is made from our Skim Milk with Vitamins A & D added.  We add .8 lbs of Forbes Strawberry Flavored Powder and 5 lbs of Pure Cane Sugar per 10 gallons of milk.  It is stirred thoroughly and then goes through our low temperature pasteurization process.
  • Orange Creme:  This is made from our Skim Milk with Vitamins A & D added.  We add .8 lbs of Forbes Orange Flavored Powder and 5 lbs of Pure Cane Sugar per 10 gallons of milk.  It is stirred thoroughly and then goes through our low temperature pasteurization process.
  • Moo-Cacino:  This is made from our Whole Milk.  We add 1 lb of Forbes “Mocha” powder and 5.5 lbs of Pure Cane Sugar per 10 gallons of milk.  It is stirred thoroughly and then goes though our low temperature pasteurization process.
  • Egg Nog (Seasonal):  Recipe: 40 gal whole milk, 4 gal heavy cream, 5 gal (pre-mixed eggs, nutmeg, etc.), 4 lbs dry solids and stabilizers (to keep it mixed), and 50 lbs pure cane sugar (oh yeah!).  It is of course stirred thoroughly and goes through our low temperature pasteurization process.
  • Plain Yogurt Smoothie (Blueberry, Raspberry, & Strawberry):  This is made from our 2% milk with Vitamins A & D added.  We add 2 lbs. of Organic Powered Milk (to help keep the yogurt from separating) per 50 gal. of milk.  We then heat the milk to 180 degrees and hold for 30 mins.  The milk is then cooled to exactly 106 degrees and the live Yogurt culture is added.  It is stirred thoroughly and left to incubate at 106 degrees for 5-8 hours.  It is then cooled and the fruit (if not Plain) is added.  It is then bottled for your enjoyment.

Why do we Low Temperature Pasteurize?

Raw milk cannot be bottled and sold in the state of Michigan. Pasteurization is required by law, and we use Low Temperature Vat Pasteurization. Milk contains beneficial bacteria and enzymes which aid digestion. These beneficials are needed to help our bodies stay healthy. The hotter you heat the milk, the more damage is done. All large processors, including organic dairies, use Ultra High Pasteurization because it is faster. At Shetler Dairy, we do everything we can to keep the milk as close to the natural state as possible.

The Equipment that is used and how:

  • Bottle Washer

How our returnable bottles are cleaned:

  • We run our bottles through this handy, dandy bottle washer (click the pictures on the left for larger views).
  • How does the bottle washer work?
  1. The bottles are placed on the intake conveyor;
  2. They are then turned upside down and rinsed out by pressurized spray jets;
  3. The bottles are then turned back up and submerged in a 140 degree Caustic solution;
  4. The bottles remain submerged as they travel along the bottom of the bottle washer (allowing them to soak as the Caustic cleans them inside and out);
  5. At the back of the washer, the bottles are turned upside down again allowing the Caustic solution to drain out;
  6. The bottles are then pressure washed inside and out with a 140 degree Chlorine solution (bottles remain upside down);
  7. A fresh water rinse  is then sprayed up into the bottles to remove any remaining chlorine or caustic;
  8. A final sanitizing rinse (200 ppm Chlorine solution) is sprayed up into the bottles;
  9. The bottles are then pushed out of the washer and turn up right onto the stainless steel conveyor that takes the bottles into the bottling room and they are ready to be filled with milk.
  • Do the bottles always come clean the first time around?  99% yes.  There is a person that places the bottles onto the intake conveyor.  She also watches all clean bottles coming out as a final inspection.
  • What is the Caustic solution?  Caustic is basically a liquid form of lye.  It is very corrosive to dirt, grease, grime, and biological matter.  In other words, if you get some on you, it will start to eat though your skin immediately.  So rest assured that our bottles are free of any contaminates after they visit the Caustic solution.

Why we don’t Homogenize our milk:

Real milk contains cream particles and when allowed to sit, the cream rises to the top. In its natural state, your body can digest the cream and use the fat for energy and the nutrients your body needs. Homogenization breaks down the cream particles to the same size as milk particles. Therefore, the fat is absorbed through your stomach lining and sent directly to the arteries. So just say “no” to homogenization! For more information visit www.westonprice.org.

Why do we bottle our milk?:

  • Health:  One of the main reasons that we started to process our own milk was to offer a healthy alternative to the mainstream milk products that are produced by huge corporations that inject their cows with hormones to make them give more milk.  It is hard to believe, but almost all milk that is processed by these big companies have rBHT (bovine growth hormone) or many of the other hormones that are used on cows and some level of antibiotics in it.
  • Our cows do not get injected with hormones of any kind and when our cows get sick, we use Vitamins instead of antibiotics to nurse them back to health.  So we are producing milk without all the “junk” in it and we wanted to be able to offer it to folks in Kalkaska and the surrounding areas.
  • Economical:  Well, simply put, If we weren’t bottling our own milk, we would have lost the family farm by now.  Yes, it’s sad but true.  Small family farms are a thing of the past, they are something you don’t see or here about anymore.  20 years ago in Kalkaska County there were 18 small family dairy farms.  Today there are 2, including ours.  Why you might ask?  Well, there’s no money in it.  Any supplies that farmers need to purchase to keep their farms up and operating (fuel, seeds, fertilizers, grain, etc.) have had price increases to keep up with inflation of our economy.  Milk prices however, are roughly the same as they were in 1973.  Sure the price of milk went up in 2004, but if you think that the farmers saw any of that money…. Guess again.
  • After everything else is said and done, We just really love doing what we do.  We love farming, processing the milk, and knowing that our customers are getting a healthy product.  When customers come out to the farm or when we see people buying our milk from stores and they come up to us and thank us for what we are doing… That really makes all the long hours and hard work worthwhile.