“Happy cows give great milk” — Fantello certified for animal wellness

A Greener World doesn’t hand out certifications willy-nilly, and their thumbs-up comes highly rated.

An Enumclaw creamery recently received top honors for its sustainable farming practices.

According to A Greener World press release sent out Jan. 30, Fantello Creamery has been awarded the nonprofit’s Certified Animal Welfare certificate, which guarantees to consumers that the farm’s animals are raised outdoors on pastures or ranges for their entire lives, and that Fantello practices stringent sustainable farming practices.

For Fantello, that means using rotational grazing — moving the cattle to different spots on a pasture to allow other areas to rest — plus a forage-based diet (very little grain), and a longer calf weaning period, among others.

These were all practices Fantello was following for years, if not since the farm started in the early 1900s, so it was a no-brainer to apply for the certification.

A lot of this is for the cows — “happy cows give great milk; great milk makes great cheese,” Fantello said — but it’s also about the future.

“I always said, I want to always give back to the next generation, as good or better as I received it from my grandma,” he continued.

A Greener World’s (AGW) label on a product isn’t just another “greenwashed” marketing ploy, as so many can be; according to Consumer Reports, AGW is rated “excellent” due to its high standards and because the nonprofit audits its certified farms at least annually, and inspections are not always announced. AGW’s Director of Communications and Outreach Katie Amos added that AGW is the only “excellent” food label for animal welfare and verification.

“Anybody can say whatever they want about what their product is, but when you’re actually having somebody looking over their shoulder… that’s what the customer wants to know,” Fantello said.

The number of farms who have received AGW certification Washington is small — Fantello is currently the only cow dairy farmer with such a distinction, but other certified farms include Alluvial Farms in Everson; April Joy Farm and Greene Jungle Farm, both Ridgefield; Harmony Fields in Bow; Hercules Farm in Tenino; Lost Peacock Creamery in Olympia; Sasquatch Family Farms in Toledo; Trout Lake Abbey in Trout Lake; and Windy N Ranch in Ellensburg.

Fantello products (like its Filomena soft cheese, which won second place in the 2022 American Cheese Society contest) can be bought around Washington, mainly at farmers markets like ones at Queen Anne in Seattle, Ballard, University District, and Madrona; Fantello added that he plans to apply for the Enumclaw market for the coming season.

“Our farmer’s markets is where we want to directly hand over our product to our customer,” he said. “That’s where we do best.”

For more information or to shop online, head to fantellocreamery.com.