Thursday, April 28, 2011

Raw Milk...A Trip to the Farm

One of the things that I like most about moving to the Pennsylvania countryside is the access to local farms. 

Ever since we moved here 5 years ago, I had my eye on a particular organic dairy farm near my new house. I found it on this website.  (Incidentally, this farm backs up to Kate's property. You know? That Kate? Kate Plus Eight? The farm was featured in the last episode of Jon & Kate Plus Eight! It's famous!)

So, yes, I do drink real milk, not white water as I like to call it.  I'm a huge advocate of raw milk.

WARNING: I'm going to climb onto my soapbox for a brief moment.

From the Real Milk's website:

Back in the 20s, Americans could buy fresh raw whole milk, real clabber and buttermilk, luscious naturally yellow butter, fresh farm cheeses and cream in various colors and thicknesses. Today's milk is accused of causing everything from allergies to heart disease to cancer, but when Americans could buy Real Milk, these diseases were rare. In fact, a supply of high-quality dairy products was considered vital to American security and the economic well being of the nation.
What's needed today is a return to humane, non-toxic, pasture-based dairying and small-scale traditional processing.
There are many, many, many, more reasons why you should drink raw milk.  It's super safe. I know my farmer by name. We have each other's cell phone numbers. I see him tap his own milk and drink it. I've tapped it for him and driven it over to his house.

When a dairy farmer drinks his own milk, you know it has to be safe.

Raw milk has enzymes in it that aids the digestion of the milk itself. These enzymes, among many other wonderful beneficial things, are destroyed in pasteurization.  You basically lose most of the health benefits of milk when it's pasteurized. That's why I like to call it white water.

So today I'm taking you on a trip to my local dairy farm.

Imagine yourself on a bumpy gravel driveway. Open the window, smell the manure.

Oh. Don't hit the chicken crossing the driveway!

There are the cows that just got milked returning back to the pasture (NOT the barn.)

Here is the milking parlor kept meticulously clean. It's inspected often by the State.

Raw milk is legal in Pennsylvania and State has a lot to say about how it's done.

This is the milk house where I bring my bottles and tap milk out of the tank on a honor system.

Yes. It's currently $6 per gallon. It's still cheaper than buying organic milk at the store. By several dollars in fact.

Plus, I get the health benefits. And the cream! Don't get me started about the cream.

Okay. Get me started about the cream.

Depending on the time of year, I get a full pint of cream off of each 1 gallon of milk.

Cream equals whipped cream, butter, or ice cream in our house.

Each customer gets the lesson on how to change the spigot thingie and keeping it all clean and washed out.

And then you just open it up and let it fill.

And fill.

Please ignore the scary purple hand.

It doesn't get any fresher than this.

It tastes like regular milk, but better.

The milk lasts about one week in the fridge.  Once it starts to sour you can smell it.  Unlike regular milk that spoils, you can actually bake with soured milk and not die!

I've actually left the milk on the counter at room temperature for several days to culture it and make cream cheese.  All that good bacteria is put to work.

Bye Bye cows. Till next week.

It's sad that many states do not allow the sale of raw milk.  You can buy a share of a cow in those states and obtain raw milk or buy raw milk for "consumption by animals."

It's worth the effort.

This is just another way to get back to the way God intended things.  I think we are in the phase of "un-doing" so many bad practices in America.  We need to get back to our roots, to fresh, good, and local foods when we can.

Thanks for going on a trip with me!
(I'm getting off my soapbox now. I promise)
The Lunch Lady

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