Doing something out of the ordinary for someone he loved is the story behind a unique dairy operation.
David Spencer, of Monteview, markets A2 beta casein raw milk to 14 area stores because it turned his wife’s life around.
“I have always pretty much been in the dairy business,” Spencer said. “My wife is a distance runner who developed, what she assumed, was lactose intolerance. A friend strongly suggested Michelle’s problem could be linked to a milk protein and not to lactose and she was right.”
Milk is typically 87 percent water and 13 percent solids including proteins, carbohydrates and fats. The carbohydrate is a sugar known as lactose. Some people experience bloating, gas and diarrhea after consuming milk with the inability to fully digest lactose being blamed.
With Spencer’s wife, a change in one milk protein changed her life.
“She started drinking A2 milk and her symptoms went away,” he said.
Most cows in the United States have the A1 beta casein protein in their milk; A1 beta casein and A2 beta casein differ by only one amino acid.
Dairy breeds from the Channel Islands such as Guernseys and Jerseys typically exhibit the A2 characteristic. With DNA testing it’s possible to find Holsteins and other dairy breeds that produce A2 milk.
“Ninety percent of my Guernseys and 25 percent of my Holsteins produce A2 milk,” he said.
Following his wife’s success story, Spencer researched the idea of marketing raw A2 beta casein milk to farmer’s markets and retailers. Two years ago the dream became a reality.
“We deliver milk from Driggs to Pocatello,” he said. “We package our milk in returnable glass half gallon containers.”
The Guernsey breed is noted for having a higher fat content in the milk, making the A2 milk more flavorful.
“All our cows have access to grass pasture,” he said. “It makes a difference with the flavor.”
Spencer has grown his cow herd from 10 animals, 13 years ago to 500 head today. Eighty of his animals exhibit the A2 factor.
Paradise Grove’s raw milk is nonhomogenized and unpasteurized and meets specifications of the Idaho Department of Agriculture. His cows produce 800 pounds of milk each week. Milk not marketed in bottles is sold bulk to a local cheese plant.
Spencer was raised in Rigby and moved to Monteview nine years ago. The Spencers have six children.
“I’ve always wanted to live in Monteview ever since I can remember,” he said. “We love it here.”
The dairy is located at 718 East 2700 North in Monteview. The telephone number is 208-657-2201. Paradise Grove Dairy has a Facebook page with more information.