On the Plate: Alberta Milk
Canada's 100 Best Restaurants  |  Bits 'N Bites
Restaurant Spotlight: Whitehorn Bistro (Lake Louise)
Chef Profile: Colin Metcalfe (Eighty-Eight Brewing, Calgary)
Featured Recipe: Twisted Fork's Cheesecake
Meet a Dairy Farmer: Henk & Karen Pierik (Pleasant Hill Farms, Central Alberta)
Featured Partner: Alberta Milk

On the Plate: Alberta Milk

June is Dairy Month, and here in Alberta, we can help but love our local dairy producers and products!  Producing the highest quality milk, cheeses, yogurts, and more, Alberta dairy farmers are the backbone of ensuring quality dairy products on your table. 

Alberta currently represents about 8% of all Canadian dairy cows, and only 5% of Canada's dairy farms, yet they produce closer to 9% of Canadian milk (8.2 million litres in 2019).  While there has been a decline in the number of Alberta farms over the last 20 years, the average herd size has been growing, with dairy cows being consolidated into larger operations.

Canadian dairy farmers make a living from the land and are therefore naturally committed to sustainability and the environment, from the land and animals they tend to, to the water and air we all share.  Included in their commitment to protecting the environment, they have four pillars of sustainability: net-zero emissions by 2050, renewable energy sources like biodigesters (they convert methane in manure into reuseable energy), embracing improved technology, and working with partners in sustainability like Tree Canada and Ducks Unlimited.  You can learn more about dairy farmers and the environment here.

So for the month of June, let's celebrate the incredible dairy farmers and dairy processors who work tirelessly to make sure their cattle, land, and community are taken care of.  Need some ideas of how to celebrate them?

  • Learn more about Dairy farming either online or by visiting a dairy farm near you 
  • Try a new recipe using your favourite dairy products (see Twisted Fork's cheesecake below!)
  • Grab some ice cream from great spots like the Historic Markerville Creamery, Big Moo (Sylvan Lake), or the Little Red Ice Cream Wagon (Vegreville)
  • Follow Hanna Says Moo on social media!
  • Check out these Breakfast on the Dairy Farm events
Canadians want products made in a more responsible way, such as Canadian milk which is subject to high quality standards from animal care to the environment. By selecting products with the Dairy Farmers of Canada seal, it’s easy to identify products that are made with 100% Canadian milk and milk ingredients. 

Products bearing the Dairy Farmers of Canada logo are made with 100% Canadian milk and milk ingredients. The logo lets Canadian shoppers know that the purchase of a product directly supports Canadian dairy farmers and Canadian dairy processors.

Dairy & Milk FAQs

Q: Why is milk white?
: While milk is primarily composed of water (approx 87%), which is a colourless liquid; there are other components of milk (fat, protein, lactose, minerals and vitamins) that influence the colour of milk. The fat and protein molecules in the milk reflect light at a wavelength that makes the liquid appear white.  If we were to remove some of the fat from the milk (like in skim milk), it would give the milk a different colour because of the wavelengths the light is reflecting back to our eyes. That is why skim milk has a bluish tinge.

Q: What happens to milk after it leaves the farm?
: Milk is transported from the farm to the processor in special stainless steel insulated tankers (big trucks).  The person who operates the truck is the first check to making sure the milk is of the highest standard before they pick it up. They have to be a certified milk grader and will not pick up milk that doesn’t meet our high standards. Once they give the milk the thumbs up, they go into the barn and secure a hose to the tank where the milk is kept and pump it into the truck. All milk in Alberta is pooled. That means one truck will have a few farms worth of milk!

When the truck is full, the grader delivers the raw milk to the closest processing plant, then the milk continues on to your local grocery store. Did you know this all happens in about a week? Then, 2 days later, the truck starts his route over again.

Q: How do I know if my milk or milk products are from Alberta?
: Alberta Milk represents Alberta’s dairy farmers, not our processing sector. So unfortunately, there isn’t an Alberta-only product list we can provide you as we do not manage processing of milk. 

  1. The most effective way is to contact the individual processor regarding the details about each of their products. Please remember that companies like Saputo may have their headquarters in Quebec (or another province), but they have local processing plants in Alberta in which use Alberta milk. You can find a list of processors here.
  2. Each dairy product has a processing identification number. If you look up the number, it will tell you where that product was processed.
  3. Review Alberta Agriculture’s Processing Directory.

Q: Are there artificial growth hormones in milk?
: No. The administration of artificial growth hormones, such as bovine somatotropin (bST), to dairy cows is not permitted in Canada.

Q: Why are dairy cows so skinny?
 Cattle come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are bred for different traits.  Beef animals are stockier and thicker because they are primarily used for meat and dairy animals are used to produce milk. Although beef cattle also produce milk, they don’t produce it on the same scale as dairy cattle. Dairy cows focus their calories into milk production, whereas beef cattle convert their calories more into muscle, so what they look like is really dependent on what their job is, how they are bred as well as their genetic make up. (It’s like expecting a pug and a greyhound to be equal because they are both dogs.)

Q: What are the pasteurization standards in Alberta?
: Pasteurization is the process of heating milk up to destroy harmful bacteria. In Alberta, these standards for milk are set by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry through the Dairy Industry Regulation. This document sets the rules and foundation for the dairy industry in Alberta. Learn more about raw milk and why it could pose concerns to your health. There are different types of pasteurization depending on the different products.

Q: How are Alberta dairy cows treated?
: Under proAction, all farms are undergoing an animal welfare assessment program, based on the requirements in the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Dairy Cattle. This assessment demonstrates that dairy farmers meet high standards. As suggested above, the Code of Practice was published in 2009, under the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC), with extensive industry and stakeholder input. It reflects current and leading dairy management practices.

For more FAQs: Alberta Milk

Alberta restaurants rank among the top for Canada's 100 Best

Canada's 100 Best released their list of top restaurants across the country, and Alberta was right in the mix, representing 11 of the 100Best list, and 5 of the top 20 Best New Restaurants (including Calgary's Major Tom, which took home the title of Canada's Best New Restaurant).  Keep an eye on the participating establishments for Alberta on the Plate - three of these restaurants will be joining this year's Dine Around program!

Top Alberta restaurant honours went to River Café, coming in at #10 on the overall list, with Major Tom ranking at #12, D.O.P. at #18, and #22 Shokunin rounding out the top 25 performers.

Canada's 100 Best - Alberta restaurants
10.    River Café
12.    Major Tom
18.    D.O.P.
22.    Shokunin
36.    Eight
63.    Nupo
72.    Ten Foot Henry
82.    Lulu Bar
86.    Jinbar
87.    Orchard
98.    Foreign Concept

Canada's Best New Restaurants (20) - Alberta restaurants
1. Major Tom
7. Eight
10. Nupo
17. Jinbar
18. Orchard

As their first post-pandemic list, Canada's 100 Best changed a few of their rules, to broaden the class of restaurants they recognize, as well as to assess restaurant quality based on takeout.  Additionally, as there was no 2021 list, this year's class included restaurants that opened over the last two calendar years instead of just one.
Learn more...

Bits 'N Bites

Alberta Breweries win big at Canadian Brewing Awards

Calgary was host to the Canadian Brewing Awards in May, where 18 Alberta breweries took home awards and honourable mentions. Alberta top winners were The Establishment (Calgary) and Snake Lake Brewing (Sylvan Lake), each with 2 medals and an honourable mention. 
Learn more...
Alberta makes it easier for businesses to have dog-friendly patios
Alberta restaurants, bars and coffee shops no longer need approval from an Alberta Health Services public health inspector to welcome dogs on their patios. The change is effective immediately, so watch for more great places to bring your pooch, like Sauvage (Canmore), where there's even a tasting menu for pups!  Learn more...
Taste of Consort returns June 30 after two year hiatus
It’s Consort's outdoor party of the year! Food and beverage vendors, art show, live music & entertainment with local artists of all kinds. Taking place the last Friday night in June 5 PM - 8 PM plus afterparty by local businesses. It’s a night for everyone to enjoy!  Learn more...
Tickets on sale now for Lacombe Museum's Harvest Dinner
This August, the Lacombe Museum is hosting a locally sourced, farm-to-fork Harvest Dinner with guest chefs from local restaurants, featuring Blindman Brewing and Flying Cross Ranch! A summer night of delectable cuisine and good company as we raise a glass or two to celebrate all things Lacombe.

Whitehorn Bistro (Lake Louise)

1 Whitehorn Road, Lake Louise  |  403.522.1310  |

Rocky Mountain hospitality at the Lake Louise Ski Resort & Summer Gondola. Located at 6700’ (2042m), the Whitehorn Bistro proudly offers an Alpine-inspired menu nestled within the remodeled Lake Louise Ski Resort’s original gondola drive station.

Relentless in their search for locally grown flavours, the team at Whitehorn Bistro then incorporates contemporary Canadian dishes reinvented with a Rocky Mountain twist. Pair your dinner with carefully selected Western Canadian wines, regional craft beers or handcrafted cocktails; creatively infused with locally grown ingredients!


MEET A CHEF: Colin Metcalfe
(Eighty-Eight Brewing, Calgary)

Chef Colin Metcalfe was born and raised in Calgary and is extremely proud of it. He has worked in all types of kitchens from high end restaurants & hotels, franchises, independent bakeries, a mountaintop backcountry lodge & now a brewery with ’88 Brewing. It’s been such a fun career working in such a variety of different kitchens and competing in different competitions then having so many unique things to learn from in each one. Colin loves teaching people about different styles of cooking, discovering new ingredients and how to have fun in a kitchen creating new things.   Keep reading...

Twisted Fork's Cheesecake

Easy to make and packed full of local dairy products, you can't go wrong with this delicious recipe from St. Paul's Twisted Fork. Easily customizable with different flavourings, it will make the perfect dessert for Father's Day (or any other occasion)!  

Get the recipe

MEET A DAIRY FARMER: Henk & Karen Pierik
(Pleasant Hill Farms)

Photo: Dairy Duo, Facebook

Pleasant Hill Farms, a dairy farm run by the Pierik family, has about 400 milking cows in Central Alberta.  A second-generation farm, Henk and Karen have been farming with Henk’s parents since 2008, and have continued the tradition of top-quality animal care ever since.  While Henk was born and raised on the dairy farm, Karen came to it from pig farming.  Early on in their relationship, she came to help Henk with his chores one day, and she has been hooked ever since.  They are now raising their four boys on the farm, where they can learn amazing life lessons while taking care of their cows.

Dairy farming is more than just a job, it’s a lifestyle and a labour of love. Dairy farmers spend every day with their cows and are committed to the highest standards of animal care.  Canadian farmers have a strict set of guidelines to produce safe, high-quality milk, while working to protect the environment and improve animal care. 

Keep reading...


Alberta Milk is a non-profit organization that represents Alberta’s dairy producers.

They are a non-profit farmer-driven organization, guided by a board of directors and delegates, whom are all dairy farmers. They are solely funded by Alberta’s dairy farmers and all dairy farms are family-owned and operated. They support dairy farmers in their work to produce safe, nutritious food in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable way.

Learn more...
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