Bianca Modenese S.C.A.
The Co-operative Agricola Bianca Modenese is a relatively young business in parmisan cheese. It's members are three farms within the same family and 5 generations of dedicated breeding, exclusively with the meat and dairy production of the Vacca Bianca Modenese (White Cow of Modena).
The production of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese started in the final decades of the nineteenth century when preservatives and refrigerators didn't exist. Its long curing process compensated for the lack of preservation methods. At that time, Parmigiano Reggiano was produced exclusively with milk from two breeds of cows: the Vacca Bianca Modenese which was found in the provinces of Modena, Bologna, Ferrara and Mantua, and the Vacca Rossa Reggiana (Red Cow of Reggio), typical of the area of Reggio Emilia.
The Vacca Bianca Modenese was a very efficient breed because it had a triple function: helping in the fields with light work, providing milk and producing a very good quality of meat. The period of greatest expansion for this breed took place between 1927 and 1944. The number of the Vacca Bianca began its decline after World War II partly due to the war itself, because many were killed by soldiers to survive from starving. Another factor being that the Vacca Bianca Modenese was not a suitable breed with the introduction of the first automatic milking technologies.
The demand for milk grew with the economic boom in the 60s and even though the Vacca Bianca produced a high quality milk, its yield was much less than other foreign breeds, such as the Friesian which also cost less for the farmer who received government subsidies for buying foreign breeds.
The Vacca Bianca's numbers fell from 255,000 heads at the beginning of 1900 to only 800 animals counted in 2005.
The Vacca Bianca Modenese started its comeback in the early 2000s due to production costs and changing tastes in food with consumers paying more attention to what they eat. The Vacca Bianca produces a higher quality of milk than the Friesian and other breeds which produce higher yields.
The Vacca Bianca's milk has an optimal fat and protein ratio of 1:1 and has in its DNA the K-Casein B gene. This protein is very important for making Parmigiano Reggiano.
Another factor in favor of the Vacca Bianca, is that this breed has a lifespan of 7 to 10 years while the Friesian's life span is around 3 years. The Vacca Bianca Modenese also has a better resistance to the local climate which is warm and humid. This climate is very difficult on the Friesian which is more suited to the cooler climates of Northern Europe.
The Co-operative Agricola Bianca Modenese has always focused on quality instead of relying on foreign breeds that produce more milk at lower prices. While preserving the traditions of Modena, the co-operative takes a more humane approach to farming by keeping a smaller heard of about 250 cows so that they can be better monitored. The Vacca Bianca are fed with fodder rich in natural enzymes grown by the co-operative.
This passage directly from their fields to their cow's milk, ensures that their Parmigiano Reggiano is 100% made from the Vacca Bianca and not from a mixture of milk from different breeds, which sometimes occurs in the production of cheese and other dairy products. With this philosophy the Agricola Bianca Modenese have won many awards among farmers producing milk with higher protein values.