Raw milk is a hot topic in the homesteading world. The benefits of raw milk are amazing compared to store bought milk, but science has determined that raw milk is forbidden. Why is that?
We started buying raw milk (with a cow share in a nearby town) about 6 years ago. Since then we have gone back and forth with raw and conventional milk, depending on time, money and accessibility.
The first farm we got our milk from was about an hour from our house. That means that once a week would drive 2 hours just for our milk! We did that for over a year and then the family sold their farm and it was no longer available to us. At that time, we didn’t know anyone else that had raw milk for sale, so we quit and went back to store bought milk.
About a year after that, we found a local, in town source for raw milk. She brought it in to town from her farm each week, so the time and effort was much less. We were so excited to have our raw milk back and we loved it. Then along comes 2014 and our house fire. After the fire, I just couldn’t handle anything but the basics of life and getting our home put back together again. So I quit getting raw milk and went back to store bought milk again.
Now it is 2017 and I am really itching to get back into getting raw milk. We have started our real food journey with the 100 days of real food challenge. We don’t have the room or capacity to get our own milk cow, so we need to get it from another source. I went back to the woman that I had gotten it from 3 years earlier and she was still doing the cow shares for milk. I was so excited to have raw milk again. Now I am learning how to make so many things with my raw milk and I feel healthier when I drink it.
Let’s get into the basics of raw milk, where or how you get it and why you should try it for your family.
What is raw milk?
Raw milk is full fat milk straight from the cow (or goat) without any processing or pasteurizing. Raw milk will separate into 2 products when the cream rises to the top of the milk.
How is raw milk different from store bought milk?
Store bought milk goes through the process of pasteurizing and homogenizing to make the milk “safe” to drink and store for a longer period of time.
Pasteurization-Pasteurization is the process of heat processing a liquid or a food to kill pathogenic bacteria to make the food safe to eat and increase shelf life.
Homogenization-Milk homogenization is accomplished by mixing massive amounts of harvested milk to create a constant, then forcing the milk at high pressure through small holes. This process breaks the fat into smaller sizes so it no longer separates, allowing the sale of non-separating milk at any fat specification.
What are the benefits of raw milk?
- It is a living food with living, beneficial bacteria that will help our gut stay healthy.
- It is a whole food that has all 9 of the essential amino acids, fat, carbohydrates, multiple vitamins, and minerals.
- Because it contains the enzyme lactase, it is digestible for most people with a lactose intolerance.
- It is a source of healthy saturated fat.
- It can drastically reduce seasonal allergies, hayfever and asthma.
- By purchasing raw milk, you are helping to support a local farmer.
- Raw milk from pastured cows contains the potent cancer-fighting CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid).
- You can make other dairy products at home with raw milk.
What are the hazards of drinking raw milk?
- Raw milk must come from a clean environment. Contamination is a concern if machinery or hands and containers are not sterilized.
- Farms today utilize many modern techniques such as: refrigeration, herd disease testing, cleaning systems, and routine milk testing which result in even safer raw milk and eliminates the need for pasteurization.
- Any type of food can be contaminated and therefore cause illness. The “dangers” are exceptionally exaggerated, however. For example, someone is 10 times more likely to get sick from eating deli meat than consuming raw milk. Source.
What are the laws surrounding raw milk?
In my opinion, if the government worried about other foods as much as they worry about raw milk in the USA, many places would go out of business! It is so crazy to think that in many states, it is not allowed to be sold in stores or even in the farmers market.
At www.realmilk.com, it breaks down the legality of raw milk in your state. It will also give you a list of where to obtain raw milk in your state.
- Retail sales are legal in 10 states
- On-farm sales are legal in 17 states
- Herdshares are legal in 7 states
- There is no law on herdshares in 4 states
- Pet food sales are legal in 4 states
States where raw milk is still not available either for sale, by cowshare or herdshare, or as pet milk include Hawaii, Nevada, Montana, Iowa, Louisiana, New Jersey, Delaware and Rhode Island.
What products can you make from raw milk?
- Cottage Cheese
- Sour Cream
- Ice Cream
- Milk Kefir
How do you find raw milk in your area?
I mentioned the real milk website above as a source to find real milk and the laws in your area.
Other ways to access raw milk:
- Put in your zip code on http://www.agrilicious.org/local/raw-milk
- Ask at your local farmers market
- Ask in local homesteading/farming Facebook Groups
Is raw milk worth the hassle and hype?
Absolutely Yes! Raw milk is a healthy, local food that is vital to a true real food diet. Hopefully I have convinced you that raw milk is something you need to look into in your area. It can be hard to find, depending on where you live, but it is worth it.
More Resources for Raw Milk Information:
Don’t take my word for it! Do you own research and see for yourself. Here are a few good places to start:
The Raw Milk Revolution by David E. Gumpert
www.realmilk.com has tons of information on laws and safety for raw milk in every state
What’s the Big Deal with Raw Milk by Kristin Marr of live simply.me
6 Reasons Why Real Milk is Special by Lauren Geertsen of empoweredsustenance.com
Essential Guide to Raw Milk by Quinn Veon of reformationacres.com
5 Reason We Drink Our Milk Raw by Kresha Faber of nourishingjoy.com
Why You Should Be Drinking Raw Milk by Danelle Walford of weedemandreap.com
I am learning to make raw milk products this summer and I am hoping to share with you my favorite recipes this fall! Until then, you can find many helpful recipes and tips in the resources above.
Does your family drink raw milk? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks!
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