Thursday, September 11, 2014

Some Ramblings: Raw Milk

In case you haven't picked up on this theme before now, I am a huge fan of raw milk.  I think it's made a positive impact on our health, especially our dental health.  It's super nutritious and a great way to get in vitamins and minerals that aren't added to the product to enrich it.

But, when I dry my cows up in November, I will not be purchasing raw milk for my family to drink. 

Nope--I'll stick to milk from Costco for cooking and yogurt making (the whole variety--none of this low or non-fat junk), and low temperature pasteurized from a Spokane dairy that's available in some stores for drinking.  And we'll be cutting down our consumption by a lot. 

Want to know why I'm not planning on purchasing raw milk?  Here are my thoughts.

1.  I don't know the cows.

Sick cows are fairly easy to pick up on.  When you know them.  If one of my milk cows is feeling off, I know it almost immediately.  They just act a little different.  I've thankfully never had one sick enough to require vet treatment, but I have had a few days where something just seemed off, and I decided to feed the milk that day to the animals instead of consuming it.

Drinking raw milk from sick cows?  Not something I'd recommend. 

I also don't know that the cows are on pasture and not forced into a dinky lot somewhere.  

2.  Cows poop and pee.  A lot!

And those exit valves are really close to where you milk.  I can't tell you how many buckets of milk I've dumped because a cow got busy during milking.  While it's never actually landed in the bucket, when pee hits concrete it splatters a lot.  Urine in my milk is not something I'd enjoy.  I'll just dump it thank you very much.

3.  Cows can get really dirty.

Even though they have plenty of pasture space and some nice bedding in the barn, a few times a year (especially in the spring with all of the runoff) I think my cows desire to sleep in the muddy poop just to make more work for me.  While I clean the udders before milking, there are times when they are just too dirty for me to feel right about keeping the milk.

But--I don't know if others would feel this way.  

4.  It's going to be winter.

There's not a spot in our local area where cows can be eating pasture through the winter.  Nope.  Snow pretty much covers it all.  So if the cows are going to be eating hay and perhaps grain anyways, the benefits of raw milk are reduced from what they are in the spring, summer and fall. 

It's also a lot harder to keep everything clean in the winter when you have to deal with freezing weather!

4.  Raw milk is expensive!

We're talking $8+ a gallon expensive.  And yes I know that dairy over all is expensive right now.  Which goes with why we'll be cutting consumption as well.

But I can't justify spending that much money on milk. 

I'm sure there are other reasons out there, but those are the ones my tired brain came up with right off the bat. 

So from November until the cows freshen again, we'll be without raw milk.  You better believe I'll be really ready for it again come spring!

Do you purchase raw milk? Why or why not?


  1. AMEN! You stated that very well! I am the biggest raw milk proponent there is and your reasons for doing without are right on. We have been blessed to either have a cow in milk or have a dear friend with a cow with extra for almost a year. Things are slowing down both here and with my friend and I have just begun to start worrying (hummm, what have I read about that??) about what to do this winter. THANK YOU for your thoughts. Yes, we have enough butter, buttermilk and cheese frozen to last (hopefully ) until spring so we can do the Costco thing and we will be okay. Your words are an answer to my prayers. Thank you for that, I've been forewarning the kids that the milk-less days are coming, it is so good to hear what you had to say. I've thought the same thing, just could not articulate it well.:) Tammy

  2. Thanks for stopping by again Tammy! I'm glad it was helpful.

    I do have a question for you if you don't mind. How do you freeze buttermilk? I love our cultured stuff, and was planning on just using my starter and continuing to culture pasturized milk over the winter. But getting some in the freezer sounds like a great thing in case my original goes bad. Thanks!

  3. I simply put it in either a canning jar (leave head space of course!) or in baggies, which I lay on a pan so they freeze flat. Once they are frozen, I take them off pan and put into another larger freezer bag. I actually prefer the baggie as it keeps my much needed canning jars free and takes less space in the freezer. I just have remember when I take a baggie out to thaw to put the baggie into a container in the fridge so it does not drip all down the inside of the refrigerator. Yep, that's experience talking ;)

    1. Thanks so much, I'm definitely going to give it a try. I'll remember the container. Cleaning buttermilk from the fridge doesn't sound fun.


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