Why are we posting about humane cheese on a vegan site? Because we are so thrilled to discover a small, slaughter-free dairy farm that is dedicated to providing a wonderful life to their cows, treating their cows as family pets, never slaughtering them – male or female – and who ships the cheese they make for sale! Because we feel that if you are able to explain why you support this cheese, it is a way to get people for whom going vegan seems too extreme to still think about the issues and realize there are better ways.
Gita Nigari Farm, also known as “the yoga farm”, is a farm based on the tenets of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. As such, they are imbued with the philosophy of Ahimsa, as well as the Hindu reverence for cows. As they say, front and center on their sites, they are the first slaughter free dairy in the USA – no cows or bulls are either killed or exploited to produce their dairy products, and “our cows and bulls are protected for their entire lives!”
Well, when we heard about this, we had to reach out to them, and try their products. Again, while not vegan, if more farms operated like the Gita Nigari Yoga Farm, the concerns about animal welfare would be raised in our collective conscience, and one of the primary reasons that people go vegan – over concerns for animal welfare – would start to be addressed on a wider basis.
Put another way – the Gita Nigari Farm serves as an example of how a dairy farm can, and should be run. The more people who know about it, the more people can demand nothing less of dairy farms. And we consider that a win for the animals.
The Gita Nigari Yoga farm produces and sells humane sharp cheddar cheese, baby Swiss cheese, paneer (a mild Indian cheese), ghee (clarified butter), buttermilk, and carob milk.
At the time of this writing, the price for the cheese is $12.00 per pound, and they will ship across the United States. The shipping price for up to three pounds is a flat rate of $10.00, via the USPS. They accept Paypal.
Yes, it’s more costly than the cheese you can buy at the supermarket. So yes, it’s likely not going to be something you eat daily; but as a treat – and to support a farm that actually reveres their cows and cossets them, we say it’s worth a splurge of support every now and then!
Of course, by “slaughter-free” we aren’t just referring to what happens at the end of life for these cows and bulls. As most of you probably already know, part of the slaughter cycle at most dairy farms is slaughter of newborn calves, and the harvesting of rennet from their stomachs, which is then used in cheese production. As Gita Nagari farm is a slaughter-free dairy, they use vegetarian rennet (for you non-vegans reading this, always check the ingredients on cheese, if it doesn’t specifically say “vegetable rennet”, that cheese is almost certainly not even vegetarian).
Here is the unboxing of our order of Gita Nigari Yoga Farm humane, slaughter-free cheese:
The package arrived via USPS. We had been provided by email with a tracking number as soon as the package left the farm.
The cheese was packaged really well, being double-wrapped, and they had included an ice pack (by the time it arrived to us, the ice pack had melted, but it had done its job – the cheese was still fine when it arrived):
The cheese itself, in the package:
We ordered three pounds of cheese – two of the sharp cheddar, and one of the swiss:
Don’t you love their label?:
So, how does it taste? It tastes like a wonderful cheese, made with love, respect, and a dash of good karma.