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Friday Favorite: Real Milk

April 8th, 2011

This week my Friday Favorite had to be around Real Milk. For the past four years we’ve been we’ve getting our milk from a little farm nearby. Yesterday, the we picked up our first fresh real milk of the season. We were so excited we got up early and made our trip to the farm before our morning coffee so we could use it in our coffee!

Our friendly dairy farmers have been a wonderful find for us. One of the reasons we love them is because they do everything as nature intended. The cows are out in the sun eating real green grass whenever they can and they are fed hay through the winter – no grain. They’re so intent on doing things as nature intended that they let their cows go dry during the winter. For us that means from January through March we’re drinking real milk that was frozen or buying lightly pasteurized milk from another small local dairy (Hartzler’s in Wooster, OH).

If you’re not familiar with “real” milk it’s milk that is not pasteurized or homogenized. I have to admit that we were slightly nervous when we first “bought a cow” – the only legal way to acquire raw milk in Ohio. As soon as we had our first drink we were converts. It’s so much better than milk from the grocery and so much fresher. The milk we picked up yesterday we milked on Wednesday evening, you can’t get much fresher than that. We love real milk, not only for the health benefits, but because it’s really good. It’s especially good in the spring/summer when the grass is growing. The milk has a slightly “grassy” flavor and the cream on our milk is golden yellow. It’s so yellow that people ask if I color my homemade butter because it’s so yellow.

Now that raw milk is back in season, we’ll be making a lot of butter, cheese, kefir, homeamde ice cream and other dairy delights. And who can forget all those delicious lattes made with those delicious micro-roasted beans from Al’s Beanery – coffee this good deserves the best milk!

Have you ever had raw/real milk?

52 Comments to “Friday Favorite: Real Milk”
  1. annie on April 8, 2011 at 5:31 am

    I’ve had a lot of real milk, from cows and goats. Some I milked myself from animals I tended and some was produced by friends. We don’t drink it now because we don’t have ruminants and the nearest raw milk dairy is too far away for me to regularly visit… something I think is essential to ensure the milk is produced properly (that is to say, it’s the only way I can inspect and hold them accountable for proper sanitation, handling, and treatment/feeding of the animals)

    Reply to annie's comment

  2. Joan on April 8, 2011 at 7:07 am

    I’m just sitting down to my daily cup of chai, made with real, unpasturized milk, while I read the news and my favorite blogs online : ) . First, I skimmed the cream off the milk which was delivered yesterday, and will make butter when I’m done on the computer. In Maine we are lucky because it is perfectly legal to buy raw milk – it is even sold in some stores. But luckily we get ours from our friend Christine, and Maggie, her hardworking cow. It is wonderful!

    Reply to Joan's comment

  3. A. Watson on April 8, 2011 at 7:27 am

    I’m 62 yrs. old. My Aunt and Uncle had a dairy farm when we were growing up. I was raised on real milk, butter, ect. everyday. It has been years since I have had any and it is such a shame we can no longer get any.

    Reply to A. Watson's comment

  4. Lisa on April 8, 2011 at 7:42 am

    I’ve never had raw milk but have heard a lot of good about it. You’re fortunate you have access to folks that seem to know how to do it right. I’ve been looking for farms and access here in Central Pa, have found some sources and now have to check them out.

    Reply to Lisa's comment

    • Susy on April 8, 2011 at 7:56 am

      Yes, I believe finding a good farm and cultivating a relationship with them is key. You can visit any time and make sure they’re treating the cows right!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  5. Jennifer Fisk on April 8, 2011 at 8:16 am

    I buy “real” milk from the organic dairy down the road from me.The herd is Jerseys so there is plenty of cream to make butter from. For a few dollars, I get wonderful milk and butter for the week. I could by this milk in the store but it is so much more rewarding to buy at the farm. As Joan pointed out, we are so fortunate in Maine to be able to openly buy raw milk. I’m sure at some point we’ll have to fight some officious do gooder who wants to protect us from ourselves.

    Reply to Jennifer Fisk's comment

    • Susy on April 8, 2011 at 8:31 am

      Yes, isn’t it sad that I can’t legally buy raw milk in Ohio because the gov’t thinks it’s bad and yet they refuses to allow labeling of GMO food so consumers can’t choose to not eat buy products containing it. Seems like a double standard to me! I guess both of these laws benefit the same people – big ag & Monsanto.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  6. Daedre Craig on April 8, 2011 at 9:06 am

    I’d love to try raw milk, but I have trouble with non-pasteurized products (gives me a terrible stomach-ache). It’s too bad because many of my coworkers have shares in a cow and buy raw milk on a weekly basis.

    Reply to Daedre Craig's comment

    • Susy on April 8, 2011 at 9:09 am

      That’s interesting, I have the opposite problem. I’m lactose intolerant unless it’s raw organic – if not I can’t drink it without consequences.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  7. Nebraska Dave on April 8, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Susy, I can remember growing up on raw milk. Never in all those years of consuming milk right from the cow did anyone in the family ever have a milk related illness. We sure all enjoyed the flavor, butter, and cream on the morning cereal. I think it’s a shame that the government has stopped all that for the sake of safety.

    Have a great raw milk day.

    Reply to Nebraska Dave's comment

  8. Brittany P. on April 8, 2011 at 9:38 am

    I have never tried it but one of our goals in the near future is to try some milk goats with possibly getting a milk cow later on. I definitely want to experiment with making some yummy goat cheese.

    The only reason I am not sure about the goats is because i hear so many different and conflicting opinions on goats milk and whether or not people like the taste of it, so it makes me wonder which is right and if my family would use it for everyday milk and enjoy it or if it would just be better to wait and get a cow.

    Also quick question…I always hear about people separating the cream from the milk for other purposes like making butter but do you have to separate it everytime for it to taste like good milk or is that just for when you want to make use of the cream?

    Reply to Brittany P.'s comment

    • Susy on April 8, 2011 at 9:56 am

      We only separate for making butter, we sometimes just mix the cream in with the milk – it’s actually much better – but I’ve had to buy so much milk just to skim cream & make butter that we just skim some off each jar.

      I’ve heard conflicting reports too about goat milk. I’m not a huge fan of the “goaty” flavor of goat cheese – but I’ve heard that depends on how the milk is treated after milking – though I’ve never had goats so I have no idea!

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • amy on April 8, 2011 at 2:58 pm

        My goat milk never tasted goaty…but that is because we did not keep a male on our property. Males are what give the milk a musky flavor….even if they are a field away from the females.

        to amy's comment

      • Anna on April 8, 2011 at 5:24 pm

        I have goats right now, and a buck, and I can attest to the fact that their milk tastes great- and my Nigerian dwarfs have such sweet, rich milk! Also long as you practice good hygiene- I brush down the goat and wash her udder- and get it chilled quickly- quart jars straight to the fridge after filtering- goat milk tastes great. Nothing at all like “goat cheese”. I’ve made yogurt, paneer, and feta, and they all tasted great.

        to Anna's comment

    • Christine on August 24, 2013 at 4:51 am

      I know this is old but I just discovered this blog and have been reading from the beginning. I don’t know if you ended up getting a goat or not but I just wanted to add a note that “goaty” flavor can also arise from refrigeration technique. If you chill the milk down very quickly right after milking the goat you probably won’t notice a “goaty” flavor. In fact I have never had raw cow’s milk but I have had raw goat’s milk from a friend of mine with a dairy goat and while I normally cannot stand milk and won’t drink it (I’m talking pasteurized cow’s milk here) because it has a weird aftertaste to me, the raw goat’s milk from my friend was completely delicious, no aftertaste whatsoever, and in their case can probably be attributed to the fact that within 10 minutes of milking the milk was in the fridge – some people will even place it in a bowl of ice water, etc, to chill down faster.

      Reply to Christine's comment

  9. ryan on April 8, 2011 at 9:42 am

    what does it mean to “buy a cow”?

    Reply to ryan's comment

    • Susy on April 8, 2011 at 9:59 am

      In Ohio it’s illegal to buy/sell raw milk. It’s legal however to drink raw milk if it’s from your own cow. So to get raw milk legally, we purchase shares of a cow – so several families go together and “buy” a cow from a farmer. Then we pay the farmer a monthly fee to take care of the cow for us. It’s really all on paper as the farmer’s own the cows and we get our milk from them. When we decide to quit getting raw milk we “sell” our cow back to them and they pay us our share price back. It’s just a workaround for the legal issues of drinking raw milk in some states.

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • Dave on April 11, 2011 at 8:33 am

        Susy, you may want to restate your statement on how your cow-share works. There have been several instances of the Ag Departments in the mid-west that have shut down, and made life miserable for farmers with such an arrangement. For a more complete explanation of this read the book “The Raw Milk Revolution” by David Gumpert. I’m only 64 pages in to the book and it’s scary enough that I hesitate to mention the name of my dairy…and it’s legal in New York.

        I’m also experimenting with making yogurt and will be writing a piece soon about my results for my blog.

        to Dave's comment

      • Susy on April 11, 2011 at 8:46 am

        Thanks for the tip, this has happened in Ohio – complete with undercover people buying milk.

        to Susy's comment

  10. Kimberly on April 8, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Yup! But only for the last few weeks. And I’m off to go milk Bella right now!

    Reply to Kimberly's comment

  11. Michelle @ Give a Girl a Fig on April 8, 2011 at 10:23 am

    I never have…but am very curious about it. Two things come to mind for me though…my family’s acceptance! And if anyone in my area even offers raw milk? I will look into it though…as much milk as we drink, it would be nice if it were good and pure.

    Reply to Michelle @ Give a Girl a Fig's comment

    • Susy on April 8, 2011 at 10:25 am

      Mr Chiots was a bit hesitant at first – until he tasted his first glass – then they was 100% behind the idea and now dislikes other milk – says it tastes boiled or scalded. Real milk is slightly sweeter & creamier than regular milk and it actually tastes like, well milk. Once you drink it for a while and taste regular milk you realize regular milk kinda tastes like white water.

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • Michelle @ Give a Girl a Fig on April 9, 2011 at 10:55 am

        Wow…OK, I’m sold. Interesting about the “boiled or scalded” taste. We just have no idea what we’re eating and drinking since it’s all we’ve had, the grocery store generation…

        I’m going to find a raw milk seller in my area…and at least give it a try…thank you for sharing what you know and have learned on your journey toward self-sufficiency. :)

        to Michelle @ Give a Girl a Fig's comment

  12. kristin @ going country on April 8, 2011 at 10:31 am

    Actually, no. We sometimes get Jersey milk from a farm that is unfortunately not really close enough, but it’s still pasteurized. Most of the farms around here are enormous commercial dairy farms that sell to the cooperative.

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

  13. melissa on April 8, 2011 at 10:44 am

    I love, love, love raw milk. Sadly I can’t get it any more – the dairy is too far from my house – hoping when I move I’ll be closer to another dairy that sells it. In Texas they can only sell it straight from the dairy but there’s some proposed legislation to allow it in farmers markets as well. The dairy that sells at the market now is legally required to pasteurize, but they do so at the lowest legal temperature and they don’t homogenize, so it’s still pretty delicious.

    Reply to melissa's comment

    • Susy on April 8, 2011 at 10:47 am

      That’s the way Hartzler’s diary is – low temp pasteurization and no homogenization – so their milk is 2nd in line when we can’t get raw (also comes in glass bottles which is important to us).

      Reply to Susy's comment

  14. elizabeth on April 8, 2011 at 10:45 am

    My friend has goats and makes the best cheese and yogurt. The goat milk is good too, its tastes different at different times, sometimes really mlld and sometimes more of a “goaty” taste I guess depending on the time of year and what they’ve been eating.

    Reply to elizabeth's comment

    • Susy on April 8, 2011 at 10:47 am

      Thanks for the info on the goat milk – very interesting.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  15. ami on April 8, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    I grew up with a family that had goats/cows so I was raised on real milk. I can’t even drink the stuff from the store to this day. In Idaho it’s legal to sell raw milk if it’s bottled in a mechanical bottling plant, I do not believe that there are any raw milk dairies in Idaho because the state is not in the habit of granting licenses. It also appears that we can do a cow share program much like Ohio. I don’t get raw milk any more because my parents don’t have goats/cows- I am actually actively searching for a place to buy some in my area. I’ve found goat’s milk, but I’m very picky about my goats milk and I haven’t found any I like. The taste varies so much from goat to goat and what they’re being fed. I can’t wait until my parents get goats again!

    Reply to ami's comment

  16. Corner Garden Sue on April 8, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    When our kids were young, we had a source for fresh eggs and milk from a place that is now an acreage right in town. The son of the folks who sold me the yummy raw milk, who is close to my age, 58, lives there with his family, and they no longer have livestock.

    I miss it!

    Reply to Corner Garden Sue's comment

  17. Marcia on April 8, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    My grandparents had a dairy and I fondly remember fresh milk. I would watch as my grandmother would make the butter from the milk my grandfather would bring in from the barn. Although they had a small milking system, he would always milk one by hand for a few minutes to show us how it was done in ”the old days”. I especially remember freshly picked blueberries with a generous glug of cream, dusted with sugar. I`m feeling nostalgic now since both of them have passed on and the old barn burned down last year, taking so many memories with it. Sadly those tastes and smells are long gone. Thanks for stirring up such nice memories today.

    Reply to Marcia's comment

  18. Amber on April 8, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    I have always wanted to try it, but I need my milk EXTREMELY cold, like icy cold…I like when the milk slightly freezes onto my ice cubes. If it is in anyway warm I cannot handle drinking it. I can also only drink milk with cereal or when I am having something sweet, or chocolate mixed in…. :D Weird, but its my quirk. Would the extreme cold do anything to the flavor? Living in Ohio I doubt I will ever get the chance to taste it, but if I happen to have the opportunity I would love to try it someday!

    Reply to Amber's comment

    • Susy on April 8, 2011 at 4:42 pm

      Nope, ours is sometimes slushy when we pull it out of the back of the fridge and it’s still great!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  19. Kris @ Attainable Sustainable on April 8, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    We just bought a cow share 6 months or so ago. We love it! I’ve used the milk to make yogurt and butter so far, along with ricotta cheese and pudding in the rare instance of the milk starting to turn before we use it up. My husband worked at a dairy in his early years, so he’s absolutely thrilled to go back to “real” milk.

    Reply to Kris @ Attainable Sustainable's comment

    • Susy on April 8, 2011 at 6:28 pm

      The great thing about real milk is that it doesn’t spoil it just start to “ripen”. Sometimes I actually let my milk sit out on the counter fro a few days before making cheese because this makes the cheese taste so much better. You can actually make your own cheese starter this way. For more info about it read the book: The Backyard Homestead: Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre!

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • Jennifer on April 9, 2011 at 11:10 pm

        One of my favorite books! It really helped me get set up a couple years ago.

        to Jennifer's comment

  20. Stephanie on April 8, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    Oh, I am a HUGE real milk fan! We have been getting our milk from a farm about 20 minutes away for the last several years. I too was nervous when I first tried it, but once you get that rich creamy taste of real milk, you can’t go back! Plus I know it is so much more nutritious. Have you read The Untold Story of Milk by Ron Schmidt? I am working my way through it now. It is very eye-opening!

    Reply to Stephanie's comment

  21. Barbara on April 8, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    We drink it happily every week! :D

    Reply to Barbara's comment

  22. goatpod2 on April 8, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    When we were still milking our goats my Mom and I were the only ones that would drink it after being pastuerized though, ours taste like melted ice cream!


    Reply to goatpod2's comment

  23. MAYBELLINE on April 8, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    It’s interesting to me that humans are the only mammals I can think of that continue to drink/use milk after they’re weaned.

    Reply to MAYBELLINE's comment

    • Susy on April 9, 2011 at 8:51 am

      I have a few friends that believe this as well and don’t drink milk. I suppose if other mammals figured out how to milk cows they would probably drink milk too.

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • Marcia on April 9, 2011 at 10:29 pm

        I’ve had grown cats drink from my dog after she’d had puppies. I guess they didn’t think get the memo it wasn’t PC.

        to Marcia's comment

  24. Jennifer on April 9, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    I’m so sad to see this going on here in Tennessee. I’ve been preoccupied with poultry and CSAs and haven’t gotten a share of raw milk yet. Looks like it’s not going to last long anyhow. Good thing we’ll be getting goats in the future. I’ll just have to keep one in milk!

    Reply to Jennifer's comment

  25. Christine on April 10, 2011 at 12:31 am

    I didn’t realize raw milk is illegal in OH! It’s not in PA- we can buy it at the co-op and the farmers market. Is Hartzler’s the cream- line milk? We get a couple of different kinds and there’s one that sometimes I have to stir because the cream is so thick I can’t shake it! I confess I must have burned out my taste buds with hot sauce- I can’t tell the difference between raw and pasteurized as far as taste is concerned!

    Reply to Christine's comment

    • Susy on April 10, 2011 at 9:30 am

      Yes, Hartzler’s is lightly pasteurized cream line milk. We buy it when we can’t get raw from the farm, they have pastured organic cows and bottle in glass.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  26. camille on April 10, 2011 at 8:02 am

    I have never had raw milk. But I live in Illinois and there are tons of dairy farms. I have never really seen anyone trying to sell it….There must be someone with all the dairy farms around, right? I wonder how I could find out?? :)

    Reply to camille's comment

    • Susy on April 10, 2011 at 9:27 am

      I’m guessing if you ask around you’ll find someone that drinks it and can give you a place (farmer’s markets are a great place to start). Or perhaps Local Harvest or Eat Wild.

      Reply to Susy's comment

    • Stephanie on April 12, 2011 at 11:35 am

      This is a good place to find milk sources in your state.

      Reply to Stephanie's comment

  27. Ginger on April 18, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    Our family has been drinking raw milk for almost 2yrs. We moved last year to some acreage and purchased our first cow in February, she is due to freshen next month, I am so looking forward to getting our own fresh milk here on the homestead.

    Reply to Ginger's comment

  28. Cathy on April 22, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    We are a raw milk producer in southwest Ohio with Jersey herdshares available. We are in the Dayton area. If anyone would like more information about our farm, we are listed on Realmilk and also Eatwild and Local Harvest!
    Cathy & John

    Reply to Cathy's comment

  29. Braised Beef with Guinness | Chiot's Run on June 30, 2011 at 4:46 am

    […] beef we eat comes from the same farm we get our milk from. Their cows spend their days out in the fields eating green grass and feeling the sun on their […]

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  30. Smoky Braised Beef | Eat Outside The Bag on January 15, 2012 at 9:57 am

    […] beef we eat comes from the same farm we get our milk from. Their cows spend their days out in the fields eating green grass and feeling the sun on their […]

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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