Raw Milk Goodness

jersey cow raw milk

by Kathy | Disclosure

Grandma most likely got her milk from the local dairyman, or milk man. A couple of days a week she would leave a note on the porch with any special instructions about extra cream, or more eggs. And magically milk, cream and eggs would appear on the porch. This milk most likely came from a small local dairy with about 20 or so cows at most. These cows grazed in between milking time. The milk wasn’t pasteurized … it wasn’t homogenized, it was just pure raw whole milk.

Milk was a critical household staple and regarded highly as one of natures most perfect foods. It was widely believed that everyone needed milk each day and if you didn’t get it after awhile your health would suffer. There was widespread concern that all children especially have access to plenty of milk. While some still believe this today there are many who don’t. In Grandma’s day this belief was pretty much universal.

Milk is still one of natures most perfect foods though if you had to judge by the dairy products available at the grocery store you’d never know it. Produced by cows given hormones and antibiotics, skimmed of cream, heated to high temperatures and homogenized to ensure the remaining cream mixes well, then enriched with synthetic vitamins it bares little resemblance to the pure product of the farm. Many have developed allergies to this kind of milk. Many cannot eat it at all.

Most people today think that pure raw milk is unavailable in the United States. Many believe it is illegal to sell raw milk. That is not the case though in most of the US. It is, however, not as simple as going to the grocery store in most places and magical milkmen have become an endangered species. Raw milk sales are restricted in ways that make getting it a bit more difficult to get, but doable. But first before we talk about how to get this milk for yourselves, let’s talk some more about the qualities we are seeking in a good source of milk.

What is real milk?

The important points to keep in mind while checking out a potential source are (courtesy of RealMilk.com):

  • Comes from from old-fashioned breeds of cows, such as but not limited to Jerseys, Guernseys, Red Devons, Brown Swiss, Milking Shorthorns, Dutch Belted, or older genetic lines of Holsteins, or from goats or sheep. (Learn more about why breed matters)
  • Comes from herds allowed to graze on green pasture.
  • Contains lots of butterfat.
  • Is not pasteurized
  • Is not homogenized
  • Contains lots of butterfat
  • Contains no additives

So, it’s a pretty short list of things we’re looking for in a dairy farm.

How do we find a source?

First you’ll need to consider the laws of your state regarding raw milk. Here’s a link to a map showing the current legal status of raw milk by state. This will give you an idea of where you’ll need to go. In some states raw milk is available at retail outlets, so that’s pretty easy. The local health food stores will be able to help there. In others like Texas, it is strictly sold on the farm so you’ll need to know a dairy farmer. Don’t worry, it’s not as hard as it sounds :-) I don’t know much about the other legal status states though. You’ll need to find the closest local chapter of the Weston Price Foundation and they should be able to help.

If you are looking to buy direct from the farmer there’s a few things you can try. I found my farmer by Googling for dairy farms in my part of Texas. I did cast a wide net and found a farm about an hour and a half from my home. You can also ask around amongst like minded friends, or contact someone from WAPF for help.

You could also consider raising a cow or a few goats yourself, if you have a little more available time. I’m a bona fide city girl from Houston and I managed to raise and milk several Nubian goats for a few years. It was a lot of fun and I still miss my goaty girls. I hope to raise a few more one day.

Cost of Raw Milk

Milk is gonna be more expensive this way, let me tell you right now. But oh, so worth it! Raw milk is stupendously delicious as well as nutritious. It’s like drinking liquid ice cream! You won’t have any trouble getting the kids to drink their milk.

Keep in mind too that Grandma paid a larger portion of her income on food, about 22% to be precise. The average spent on food in the US is about 10% of income currently. The low price of grocery store milk is made possible by the very practices we are seeking to avoid for our own milk. Quality is worth the price. The money goes to a good cause, supporting our local dairy farmers and you can feel proud of that.

Links to more info

This post is part of The Healthy Home Economists Monday Mania, Traditional Tuesdays at Cooking Traditional Foods, Fat Tuesday at Real Food Forager, Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop, Gnowfglins Simple Thursday and Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade and Fresh Bites Friday at Real Food Whole Health.

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lives just outside of Austin with her husband of 20 years Barry, youngest son Jake, three cats and about a dozen chickens. She has another older son and a beautiful daughter-in-law who live in Austin. While not a Grandma yet, with two grown kids she remains hopeful. Kathy wants a world where everyone has fresh wholesome food and feels that cookin' like a granny woman is the surest way to get there.


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Granny LOVES a great discussion! A thoughtful, in-depth look from all angles benefits us all. If you disagree let us know! But please remember you're in Granny's house and be respectful of that. If you wouldn't say it in your Grandma's hearing please don't say it here! No name-calling or foul language. Those comments that don't respect Granny's home will be deleted.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

AmandaLp March 4, 2012 at 10:34 pm

I found that raw milk is similarly priced to the local, grass fed non homogenized milk at the grocery store. It still runs about $8 per gallon. However, another item to realize is that the milk in the stores is not being sold at a sustainable price. Dairy farmers get around $19 per hundredweight, which is around 1.52 a gallon, and is less than the cost to produce that milk. Buying milk from a farmer, pasturized or not, is a better deal for yourself, your farmer, and your community.

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Kathy March 4, 2012 at 11:58 pm

Yes, indeed. Joel Salatin makes a similar point about farm subsidies and the real price of food in this video.

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Mrs. Z March 5, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Unfortunately I DO live in one of the states where sales of raw milk are illegal. The way I got around this is to post something on a local internet sales site. I prayed some farmer would see it before the post got banned, and they did. I now drive a half hour to buy my grass-fed, delicious, “illlegal”, raw goat milk. It was worth getting banned for something that is ridiculous to make illegal in the first place!

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Kathy March 7, 2012 at 12:33 pm

It’s tough for those in the raw milk illegal states. The laws are ridiculous! I wanted to help spread the word that though raw milk is illegal in some states it it’s far from universal in an effort to spread the word and help our local farms. I find that most people here in Texas, for instance, believe raw milk is illegal to purchase though that is far from being the case. The more that are aware and buying in the states where we can buy, the faster I hope the laws will change where raw milk sales are illegal.

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Jill@RealFoodForager.com March 6, 2012 at 8:09 pm

Thanks for linking your great post to FAT TUESDAY. This was very interesting! Hope to see you next week!

Be sure to visit RealFoodForager.com on Sunday for Sunday Snippets – your post from Fat Tuesday may be featured there!
http://realfoodforager.com/fat-tuesday-march-6-2012/

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DJ March 7, 2012 at 1:17 pm

I feel very blessed to live in an area where the sale of raw milk is legal, and it’s not expensive (I pay 2.50 per half gallon buying it from the farm). The farmer also sells raw milk yogurt, cream, butter, and cheeses. Consuming raw milk products has definitely contributed to my families health!

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Liberty March 7, 2012 at 7:48 pm

AH-MEN!!
I love that you incorporated the food prices grandma had to pay compared to that of today…I don’t think it will remain at 10% for much longer!!
BLessings!
http://bit.ly/c35ixk

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Scarlet November 4, 2013 at 10:35 pm

I live in Austin, and my family does not have the time to make a three-hour round trip every week to buy raw milk. Nor do we really have the time to purchase a goat share and help with milking, seemingly the only local option for raw. Our compromise is to purchase the low-temp pasteurized, non-homogenized milk from Mill-King. No, it isn’t raw, but I’m not sure it is worth driving ourselves crazy and spending $30 extra 0n gas each week to pick up 2 gallons of raw milk from the farm. It is hard to tricky the Mill-King gallons though. They are sold out all the time.

This should not be so hard.

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Kathy November 5, 2013 at 8:55 am

Hi Scarlet … No it shouldn’t. There are frequent efforts to get a law passed to allow raw milk sales from sites other than the farm but they keep getting shot down. In the meantime another option for you is Kolona whole milk at natural grocers. It’s grassfed and low temp pasteurized.

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scarlet December 5, 2013 at 1:51 pm

Thank you for the suggestion, and I apologize for my disgruntled tone above. I suppose I feel as if I devote so much time and money to finding the least-processed foods for my family yet still inevitably cannot meet the ideal. Austin has more diverse food markets than any place I’ve lived, yet it still feels as if the environment is structured to offer only more processed items unless one goes to an extraordinary effort to avoid them. It’s so disheartening when all the heavy cream even at Whole Foods is UHT and very little or none of it comes from grass-fed cows.

I do feel it’s possible to make progress though. Since I’ve originally commented, I’ve found a source for raw milk within reasonable travel distance, and I will be picking up my first gallons this weekend. I’ve also found meat from grass-fed and pastured animals at the farmers’ market. My husband bought marrowbones and chicken feet and made batches of chicken and beef broth. This is so new to me. I’ve been a vegetarian for much of my life, and only with the availability of more conscientiously-raised meat (and eggs and dairy) have I been able to venture toward a more nourishing diet.

Your blog is a great resource. I love your practical approach.

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Rebecca January 6, 2014 at 2:44 pm

I don’t know where you guys are in Austin… perhaps you are down south and the place you travel to for raw milk is the same one I’m about to tell you about.
Close to Georgetown, on 29, is a small dairy called Dyer Dairy that sells raw milk for $8 a gallon (you have to call ahead and reserve it in advance), raw butter and cheese, grass fed meats, eggs, and all kinds of other goodies. We live about ten minutes away and shop there whenever we get a chance. We like this place.
http://www.dyermercantile.com/

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Kathy January 6, 2014 at 10:02 pm

Georgetown is a bit of a drive though not further than we drive now … haven’t bought anything from Dyer yet but I’ve heard they are great :-).

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