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Milk in glass bottles in best

Screen capture/Dahl's Sunrise Dairy ad

We've all seen the commercials: "If you're not drinking farm fresh, all natural, Dahl's Sunrise Dairy milk then you've forgotten what milk tastes like." Dahl's Sunrise Dairy, located in Babbitt, Minn., is committed to providing healthy, environmentally friendly milk to the Twin Ports and surrounding communities.

But isn't all milk healthy? How can milk be environmentally friendly? Let's take a deeper look.

Wayne Dahl founded Dahl's in 1994. He was working for another small dairy company in the early 1990s and decided it was time to start his own company. As the owner of a small business he wears many hats and has to be very adaptable. "I aid in the processing of the milk, sales, marketing, delivering and even mechanic," he said. Dahl partners with other small, local family-owned farms in Cook, Cherry and Meadowlands for all of his milk.

Dahl's Sunrise Dairy milk is produced locally and is rBST-free. What the heck is rBST? Also known as recombinant bovine somatotropin, it's a synthetic growth hormone that increases milk production in lactating dairy cattle. The added hormone causes cows to eat and drink more in order to produce the additional milk. Although rBST is currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration as "safe for human consumption," there are increasing concern about health and safety for humans and animals. rBST is currently not allowed on the market in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel and all European Unions.

In addition to being hormone-free, Dahl's milk is tested in their lab in Babbitt to ensure all the milk is antibiotic-free. If a cow has been administered an antibiotic, the milk is withheld until the antibiotics have the cleared the cow's system. Because it is analyzed in Dahl's lab, only antibiotic-free milk is accepted to be bottled and sold.

The milk is also bottled in reusable half-gallon glass bottles. This way of packaging eliminates plastic jugs and caps and plastic-lined cardboard milk cartons which can end up in the landfill and take unknown amounts of time to decompose.

Milk produced and bottled with this process is not just healthier and environmentally superior, it tastes better. "Milk tastes better in glass, stays colder and using glass bottles is better than recycling. It is calculated by the manufacturer of the glass bottles that each bottle can be used many times over," Dahl said.

As an added bonus Dahl's Sunrise Dairy will deliver to your door. The delivery area stretches from Ely to Grand Rapids, Duluth and south to Esko-Carlton. A great benefit is that you don't have to be home to receive the delivery; all the driver needs is access to a quality cooler or a refrigerator. The minimum weekly order is 3 1/2 gallons.

True sustainability is a balance between a healthy economy, environment and community. Choosing Dahl's Sunrise Dairy meets this balance by keeping our dollar in the community, by producing a healthier and more eco-friendly product and by supporting local business and farms.

If you would like an opportunity to try Dahl's milk you can find it in several Twin Ports businesses and restaurants. The Whole Foods Coop, Duluth Grill and Positively Third Street Bakery all serve or use the milk in recipes. For more information or to set up delivery, call (218) 827-9999 or email

Cara Overland

Cara Overland is the board vice president of Sustainable Twin Ports, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. She is trained in The Natural Step, a science and systems based sustainability framework.