Friday, July 19, 2013

Why Raw Milk

1.  More live cultures for my gut (which is very happy right now, thank you).

2.  I trust small farmers to keep it clean.

3.  I come from farmers and I grew up dipping milk out of the tank in the milkhouse to drink.  I can smell the milkhouse, taste the metal rim of the dipper, and feel the wet concrete floor.



Raw milk is terrifically expensive ($5 a half gallon around here), so I buy local pasteurized milk ($2-something a half gallon) for cooking and we just use the raw milk for uncooked applications, mainly drinking and pouring on granola.  I figure if I'm going to heat the milk anyway in cooking, I might as well save money and use the milk that's already pasteurized.  I'm so pleased I finally figured out this frugral, hybrid approach.

I can acquire both milks in glass jugs, which tastes better and pleases me because the container can be reused.  I can acquire the raw milk in two different locations, blocks from my house, so I appreciate not making a car trip outside the city to lug it home.  To be sure to keep the jugs going back to the right places, I made little "raw" tags.  It was a fun way to practice my (lack of) embroidery skills.



Occasionally, the raw milk tastes odd, so I think the cows must have been grazing on something odd.  I'm often drinking kefir anyway or using yogurt with my granola, but a particularly snifty child has complained about the raw milk sometimes.

Whatever.  We are getting good bacteria, supporting our local farmers, and fighting the good fight.  Because let's not pretend that raw milk is not political.  I know it's controversial and we've been drinking this milk for months while I worked up my nerve to say so.

19 comments:

Hazel said...

I'd love to drink more raw milk but there's no source near me at the moment.
We sometimes buy some from a farm shop near my brother when we visit him, but he's on the south coast. (I know that's not far by continental (contigent?) US standards, but it involves the infamous M25 motorway around London which is a bit of a nightmare!)

Eva Girl said...

We were buying raw milk for the last 3 years for my youngest. He had severe asthma after he stopped nursing, but as soon as we switched to raw milk the allergy/wheezing disappeared! Now we're trying a variety of milks: almond, coconut, oat, etc. We still like the raw milk - but it is expensive!

Nanna Chel said...

It is incredibly expensive here in Australia too. It can be bought in some Health Food Shops but under another name and with a label on it saying that it is not for human consumption. It is called 'Cleopatra's Milk' and apparently is for having a bath in. LOL!

Theresa said...

Raw milk is illegal to buy and sell here in Canada. It has been in the news the last couple years due to one farmer in Ontario selling it in spite of the law.

Funny...seems EVERYTHING else is allowed in this country EXCEPT buying and selling raw milk. Go figure.

Zoë said...

I wish so bad we could sell our milk raw. We looked into doing it but with a larger herd, it's very difficult. We haven't given up yet but it will probably be years til it happens. We need to get some of these ridiculous laws changed or else buy a pasteurizer which costs a fortune expensive!

Keep drinking it raw/pasteurized! In my opinion, the homogenized stuff is much like poison :)

Oh, and yes, the cows are probably eating more wild garlic or something during those times that it tastes funky. I grew up on milk from a single cow (my uncle's) and in the spring, you could taste the garlic. So nasty. I think us kids complained so bad that during the particularly terrible flavored times, my mom bought milk at the store.

The larger the herd of cows, the less likely it is that those flavors come through just because some cows wouldn't eat much garlic and others would so the flavor would be watered down.

(Makes me wonder what my babies thought of my milk sometimes! I know that Jada reacted to horseradish once...would not nurse for about 8 hours until it was through my system. Guess I ate too much on my shrimp that Christmas!)

Sorry for the long comment. I could go on and on about milk... :)

Sew Blessed Maw said...

How interesting.. We don't have access to raw milk in my area [that I am aware of?].
But, I was really interested in Eva Girls comment, about her little boy having asthma and it helping him.. I battle severe asthma all the time, wonder would this help?
Why would it be so much more expensive? looks to me , like it would be cheaper?? Just curious.

Margo said...

Sew Blessed, I'm not exactly sure why it's more expensive, except that it's considered a nonstandard way to handle milk for the public. Probably considered a niche market. Almost all raw milk that I have heard of is organic as well, which takes more attention and skill. Maybe Zoe can answer this question better than I!

Zoë said...

Sew Blessed,

More expensive for the reasons Margo said and also because it costs the dairy farmer to have a license to sell raw milk.

As for the asthma, I really don't know much about it other than this: raw local honey is supposed to be good for asthma because the bees are gathering the local pollens/nectars and making honey out of it and therefor the honey has bits of those same allergens which people battle with. I'm thinking it's sort of like a natural way to immunize yourself. It's like shots for polio and chicken pox...you get a tiny bit of the virus in your system so your body learns how to battle it. Know what I mean? Maybe if the cows are eating a local diet the same would be true? It's just a guess.

Rebecca said...

Another thought on the allergy link: the Pollan article that Margo made reference to earlier says that decreased gut flora has been linked to auto immune/allergic diseases.

jenny_o said...

Very interesting about the asthma link.

It's good to hear that you are feeling better, Margo!

Anonymous said...

We buy raw milk for $3.50 a gallon near East Pete. JKH

AmyK said...

Raw milk tastes so much better! We sometimes get it from the farm my husband grew up on, although we buy processed milk as well since we are an hour and a half away from the farm. I even gave it to my kids once they started drinking milk at a year. No qualms since we know and trust the farm it comes from!

Polly said...

I wish I had access to raw milk! A friend used to sell hers from the farm, but she moved to another state. Nowhere to find it here now, as far as I know--it's all so underground-ish anyhow. And I know people who know people but still don't know of any raw milk farmers.

We do buy local milk, also in the reusable glass jars, that are delivered to our house every thursday. I love it! They have all sorts of milks, and I'm working up my courage to use the whole, non-homogenized, cream-on-top milk. So far I haven't tried it yet (have only been dwelling in the world of 2%), but maybe today....

Margo said...

Polly, I know people in your state and IT IS HARD to get raw milk! Also, how fun is that to get your milk delivered to your house?! I think you should have a vintage milk box on your porch just for this purpose :)

Polly said...

Now that's a good idea. Right now we use a plastic crate--not charming.

I had a good friend in law school who used to work for a certain farm lobbying firm (before law school). Part of her job was lobby in our state legislature against raw milk! There's big money behind the anti-raw milk lobby, and not many people realize that it's not poison. Anyhow, I digress.....

Sometimes I think about getting a cow; we do, after all, live on a farm. But the milkman is terribly convenient, even if he delivers the pasteurized stuff, and I don't have to feed him....

Margo said...

Oh my, wouldn't a cow give way more milk than you'd want? You could learn to make cheese, I suppose. . . but what if the cow went dry, too? It's all very old-fashioned, I'm sure, and not related to our super-convenient gallons at the grocery store (or on the steps, if you're Polly!).

Beth in the City said...

I drank raw milk as a child and I remember the times of funky garlic! It came from a single cow - I didn't realize this would also affect it so I've learned something from the comments. I loved seeing the rich cream rise to the top and watching my mom make butter milk.

Lisa said...

I'm commenting on a two year old post here, but I just bought some raw milk today - so excited! - and am/was planning to make yogurt, but it seems it's not so simple.... I came upon instructions online which say you should heat it to a lower temperature (of course, but I didn't think of that before when I saw the "raw milk now sold here!" sign. It tends to be runnier, and sometimes it curdles on you. It cost me eight dollars! I think I'm going to end up heating it like regular, and chalk this up to experience. I don't drink milk - never liked it! Now I'm quite deflated.

Margo said...

oh Lisa, I'm sorry to hear that! EIGHT DOLLARS - wow. I have always used pasteurized milk to make yogurt because I'm going to heat it up again anyway. We just use raw milk for drinking so we can preserve all its friendly beasties.

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