Is it hard to sleep at night knowing that you switched to a milk substitute that doesn’t allow plants to roam freely? A new company that makes macadamia milk thoughtfully sourced from “free-range trees” is here to help you out. Chicago-based Milkadamia only gets its nuts from an Australian farm that uses “holistic” techniques to “minimize human intervention.” This, apparently, justifies describing its trees as being free-range, or allowed to move around relatively at will. The phrase appears in several places on cartons of Milkadamia’s four different flavors. It also seems to have been trademarked, alongside the motto “Moo is moot.”
On the side panel, the label explains further that the milk comes from “trees supporting life, not trees on life support,” meaning they don’t use irrigation. In an interview with Quartz, Milkadamia CEO Jim Richards basically says the concept is an “oxymoron” that should be read as an almond-industry joke. Almond-milk producers, you see, have gotten heat for the crop’s overabundant water use — the reliance on aquifers in particular. “The only way those trees are kept alive,” Richards tells Quartz, “is from water that’s being pumped from under the ground to them.” Drain an underground aquifer, he adds, and it “will never fill up again.” Milkadamia alleviates this buyer’s remorse: Your loved ones can now drink milk that’s not just vegan, but also sourced from plants that get to find their water organically, like they yearn to do.
Milkadamia’s products immediately conjure up another hilarious trend: All these new bottled waters with labels claiming they’re “gluten-free” or “organic” (but not both … yet; a definite squandered opportunity!). An alarming number of Americans want these waters, which in the case of the “gluten-free” kind require absolutely nothing special at all. But Milkadamia could have a problem on its hands: It’s already up to 5,000 retail locations, and needs enough nuts to stock Walmart’s shelves with its milk alternatives by early 2018. The temptation to start factory-farming trees will be real.