A fifth-generation Finnish family keeping a dairy farm in Menahga, Minnesota only breeds cows that produce A2 milk.
Joel Hendrickson and his wife Amanda own a 310 acre farm in Menahga, Minnesota. Ten Finns Creamery started bottling and selling locally produced whole milk in December. The name of the company is inspired by their 10 children: Zach, 14; Maddie, 12; Julia, 11; Lucy, 9; twins Lily and Maria, 8; Lane, 6; Nora, 4; Finn, 2 and Emma, 1.
For years, there has been talk and writing of some people being hypersensitive to dairy products. If dairy products cause you stomach pains, you can search for lactose-free products or skip dairy products altogether. But lactose is not necessarily the problem, just a little-known protein called A1 can be the culprit. Some people have trouble digesting lactose, the sugar in milk. When the body is unable to break down lactose, people with lactose hypersensitivity have swelling, flatulence, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems. Some researchers claim that while sugar is the cause of the symptoms, it is actually an A1 protein.
But can the consumption of dairy products without A1 protein change the tolerance of human to milk?
In 2016, a small group study published in Nutrition Journal, funded by The A2 Milk Company, found that people who drank milk containing both A1 and A2 protein for two weeks had more indigestion and more inflammation than those who drank milk containing only A2 protein. And although both milk had the same amount of lactose, A2 milk seemed to reduce the symptoms in people with lactose hypersensitivity.
Ten Finns Creamery’s website (www.tenfinnscreamery.com) states: “We know the high nutritional value of dairy products for our children and adults everywhere. We also know that ordinary milk is not for everyone, so we moved to A2 cows.”
Located in Minnesota, Ten Finns Creamery is a family owned business. The children of the family help in feeding, milking and taking care of the cows. Joel bought cows and built dairy cattle as early as in high school. In 2009, he rented a barn and farmland from Curtis Hasbargen, a former member of the Menahga School Board. The Hendricksons bought their property in 2013. Their website states: “We have established Ten Finns Creamery to teach our little ones the value of honest work and the importance of providing high quality, natural and nutritious products that make people feel good.”
The 140 cows on the farm are not only numbered, but all cows have names.
The A1 and A2 proteins in milk are a relatively recent discovery. After learning that there was a potential market for A2 milk, the Hendricksons began selecting bulls with the A2 gene and bred all their cows to A2 bulls in 2014.
A couple of years ago, they did DNA tests on all their cows. Sixty percent of the cows were A2, so they stopped using the A1 cows and bought the A2 cows only from stock farmers or sellers.
In the spring of 2019, the Hendricksons began to build their own dairy. It was reviewed and approved by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture in mid-December.
The Hendricksons hope people with milk sensitivities can enjoy creamy, real milk without worry. Ten Finns Dairy Milk is currently only available at local stores in Minnesota, but the best way to get Ten Finns A2 milk to the shops near you is to ask the store manager to order milk from Ten Finns Creamery in Minnesota. Soon, A2 butter will also be available in stores that the dairy will soon be making.