Saturday, January 26, 2008

We drink raw!

This may come as a surprise to even my most loyal readers because I haven't really talked about it on the blog, but around the same time that I started learning about vaccines, I also began to learn about raw milk. That's milk in it's most basic form - the kind you can't buy at the supermarket in most states. Here is where my education started, with Nina Planck's website and her essays on the virtues of raw milk. From there I visited several other sites and began looking for a way to get raw milk for myself and my family.

Well, today I loaded up the kids and headed out to Isle Farms which is in, as we lovingly refer to it, Kansas. Not really Kansas, but far enough east to feel like Kansas. It was about an hour drive there and a little under forty five minutes on the way back. I found a much faster route for the return trip. I was really going out there to pick up a few chickens and some other meat that they sell. It's all local, naturally raised, and humanely slaughtered which was the attraction. I had talked with the farmer via email about raw milk and why I wasn't yet getting milk from him. It was mostly about the price (officially it comes out to about $7.50/gallon but is usually a bit cheaper since the cows make more milk than the farm can "sell," so we'll get a bit extra every week for free) and the fact that I'm not interested in driving to Kansas once a week to pick up a few gallons of milk. Well, he convinced me that I wouldn't be paying too much (I already pay close to $6/gallon for organic milk. I could get it cheaper but don't like the taste of milk from plastic bottles so I buy it by the half gallon). He also told me that I can pick up the milk from a local co-op where I've already been buying grass-fed beef, freshly-milled flour and organic produce. Objections aside, I was open to the idea of coming home with some raw milk.

The farm was great. The kids had cow poop all over their feet (I made them wear Crocs, knowing that they would be stepping in poop and mud. Crocs are easy to wash) but they had more fun than a kid should be allowed to have. The family that runs Isle farms has a lot of kids - I'm not sure how many. Maybe five? And another one on the way. Most of the kids were playing with Brynn and Callie and the others were helping with the Saturday chores. We got to meet the cows and pet one of them - a lovely and very sweet Jersey named Rosie. We had a tour of the milking barn and the bottling room. It's a pretty small operation but still very labor intensive. The kids are home schooled, and it's a good thing. I'm sure their help around the farm is required on a daily basis.

The sales pitch came at the end of the tour. That's when I realized that raw milk really wouldn't cost me much more than I am paying now and that it would be convenient to pick up. So, I went for it. The thing is, with raw milk, in most states it is illegal to buy or sell raw milk. Unfortunately, Colorado is one of those states. So, I now officially own a cow. Well, part of a cow. It's called a cow share. You pay a small fee to "buy" part of the cow and then a monthly fee for the care and boarding of your cow. Since you own the cow, you get to drink the cow's milk. Or make ice cream. Or cheese. Or feed the milk it to your dog. Do whatever you want with it - it's your cow, it's your milk.

The only problem I've encountered thus far is that Callie still prefers warm milk to cold. Well, microwaving raw milk would defeat the purpose of having raw milk - it would kill the enzymes that make raw milk extra healthy, kind of like microwaving breast milk. A big no no. So, at this point Callie's not a big fan. But, she's almost three and I'm treating her like a baby. Grow up, kid.


Michael said...

"why buy the milk when you can buy the cow"... or something like that...

I have three questions...

if the cow continues to grow, will it split into two smaller equally sized cows?

if the milk starts tasting better, are you taxed for that dividend?

if the cow dies, do you get the meat?

Hillary Dickman said...

1. No.
2. No.
3. No. Actually, I don't know the answer to that question, but the answer could be maybe.

Laureen said...

Are you making your own butter now? I used to do that when we lived at Gearhart Rd. Let me know, if not, I can tell you how.