I'm a Wisconsin boy, born and bred; I never met a dairy product I didn't like. My wife and son both drink skim milk but the lowest I would ever go was 2%. I felt, as many do, that skim was just blue water, even if it was healthier. However, recently something happened that changed my mind. That something was Blue Marble Dairy. Related Articles Fabulous Beer Bread Recipes Delicious Butterscotch Recipes - Nut Rolls and Banana Butterscotch Bread Buy Banana Bread: Best Staple Food in your Kitchen Low Cal Cooking and Baking with Splenda A Dairy with Determination Nick Kirch took over the farm from his parents and, in 1995, fulfilled a dream by building his own bottling plant and becoming Blue Marble Dairy. When you meet Nick, you see why. You can see the relationship he has with his land and animals, a rare commodity these days. You hear him explain why he never built a milking parlor on to his barn; he feels milking his cows in their stalls is less stressful and it allows him to be more hands on with the animals. You watch one of his pigs, Wilbur, following him everywhere and learn that Wilbur figured out how to climb the fence like a ladder to get out of his pen. Instead of making the fence higher, Nick just decided to let Wilbur roam the farm. When he looks out over his fields, you can tell that Nick is proud of what he's done with it; you can see it in eyes. I asked Nick about the philosophy behind Blue Marble. "I started Blue Marble to bring the farmer and the consumer back together," said Nick. "I think we've lost that over the years. We need to get to know each other. We're all on the planet together and we need to sustain the Earth and make it a better place." Quality First Nick also decided to build his own dairy on his farm because of bovine growth hormone (BGH). "Some of the larger milk processors told me that people didn't care about BGH, they just want cheap food. That struck me the wrong way. I didn't think that was true. I also think BGH is hard on the cows, and it shortens their productive life. I believe people have the right to decide what they do and don't eat," stated Nick. His concern for the animals also means that Blue Marble's cows are grass fed using rotational grazing. That means the 65 cows on the farm are moved to a different field almost every day so there's always fresh growth to eat. The end result is milk that has been recognized time and again for exceptionally high standards. In fact, less than 10% of the milk produced in the United States meets Blue Marble's quality standards. Old-Fashioned Taste and Packaging Blue Marble is one of only a few microdairies that produce liquid milk products. Most micro-dairies produce cheese and a good number of those only milk goats. Blue Marble uses no additives and produces cream line milk; milk that is pasteurized, using a longer, low temperature method, but is not homogenized. This allows the fat molecules to remain intact, producing milk and cream with a higher fat content and a fresher, sweeter, straight-from-the-holding-cooler taste. Ads by Google Blue Marble is available only in glass bottles. Nick explains, "The reason I went to glass bottles is because I truly believe glass is better. It keeps things colder and it's returnable. Glass bottles are a lot more expensive (and a big pain for me), but it's what I believe in." Aside from producing and bottling high-quality products, the other big hurdle for any microdairy is how to get it from the farm to the customer's front door. Once again Nick decided the best way was to do it himself. Delivering the Best Blue Marble Express, formerly Artisan Foods Delivered, launched in 2005. Nick explains what's available. "You can order all our Blue Marble products, plus Sugar River Dairy Yogurt, Local Choice Farm Market meats, or Brad B's honey, and we'll deliver it to your home." In addition, you can order cheese from Brunkow, Mill Creek, or Klondike cheese companies, Hawkwind and Clem's Mustards, eggs, pickles, maple syrup, Tomato Mountain products, and 11 different kinds of jam from The Summer Kitchen. Ordering is simple. Items are listed on the Blue Marble Express website www.artisanfoodsdelivered.com. Customers complete delivery and order information and, on the next delivery date for the area, one of Blue Marble's trucks will deliver to a cooler outside the customer's home. Blue Marble supplies coolers for a refundable deposit. There is also a small deposit on the glass bottles. Blue Marble charges a small delivery charge of $2.50 for orders from $35 to $99 and for orders over $100 delivery is free. Customers are invoiced when they receive delivery. Expanding the Convenience Nick Kirch is not someone who stands still. He talked about other plans in the works. "We are looking into working with Natural Farms in Madison to expand our delivery product line. People are asking for products we don't carry or can't afford to keep in stock. We already have a relationship with them on some of our hard-to-get products. So we have talked about setting up some sort of a system where consumers could get both our companies' products delivered. We're also talking about setting up a pickup site in Madison for people who want to save a little money, perhaps 10% to 20%, along with savings on the delivery charge." Once upon a time, the milkman was a fixture on the American scene; an icon for a time gone by when service was the top priority and you knew the person delivering your milk by his first name. You knew that what you were getting was as fresh as possible. Nick Kirch is determined to live up to that standard and a whole lot more by overseeing everything from the cow in the field to your front door.