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Back in Business

October 3rd, 2012

We’re back in business as far as our raw milk is concerned. Luckily it’s much easier to come by in Maine that in Ohio. Back in Ohio, we were lucky that our dairy farm was only a few miles away, though I would have driven a long way to get milk from them. They stocked us up with lots of milk before we left and we were on our last jar.

I had a list of farms to call and visit, but then our neighbor gave me the name of a friend who does dairy on a small scale. We headed down the road yesterday to see her cows and chat with her. She has 3 Jersey cows that she milks. The dry periods are staggered throughout the year so she’s always milking 2 cows.

They were out frolicking in the 40 acres of pasture. In fact we weren’t sure if we were going to find them when we first arrived, but they finally came around. One of them thought my camera was a delicious cow treat and kept trying to eat it.

We made it home with a gallon of fresh raw milk. The cows we got milk from back in Ohio were Normandy cows. The Jersey milk is definitely different, much creamier. Milk is one of those funny things you always think it just tastes like milk until you start drinking pastured raw milk. Then you start to notice the changes that come throughout the seasons and from different cows.

Now that we’ve been drinking raw milk for many years I could never go back to the regular stuff. Even when we had to get lightly pasteurized milk from another small local dairy it always tasted boiled and weird to me. I’m happy that we should have enough options here in Maine to have a steady supply of raw milk all year long. Though I must admit, I’ll miss heading out to the farm on Thursdays and my chats with Dawn!

What product do you source locally or make at home that you could never buy the store/processed version again?

30 Comments to “Back in Business”
  1. kristin @ going country on October 3, 2012 at 5:56 am

    Oh man. Lucky you. I LOVELOVELOVE Jersey milk. The nearest farm to us that sells it is an hour away though, and that’s just too far.

    Pretty much anything I make or grow myself has spoiled me for a store version. It’s shocking, really, how bad the quality is at a store compared to the real thing of ANYTHING. Although I do appreciate having the option when I have years like this one in which I can’t grow enough or process enough to stock up for the winter. At least we’re not going to starve.

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

    • Susy on October 3, 2012 at 6:49 am

      I’m so with you on this, when you do anything at home, grow it yourself, make it yourself, or find someone who cares enough to produce a good product the store items seems so lame and terrible in comparison.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  2. Mich on October 3, 2012 at 6:14 am

    I would LOVE to be able to buy local raw milk/cream but its not easy to find here in the UK.
    The only way to access it easily would be to handmilk my own cow again & it is something I am thinking about….but big step & a bigger tie.
    I hate store bought tomato sauces/products, using home grown is so much nicer :)
    and now I bake all our bread using a local mills flour. Shop bought bread is a no go area now!

    Reply to Mich's comment

  3. Kathi Cook on October 3, 2012 at 6:19 am

    Lettuce or greens of any kind.I always wonder how old the greens are in a grocery store. I only like them freshly picked.I pretty much don’t eat salad in the winter. This year I planted some greens for fall harvest but it wasn’t a huge success.I have been harvesting my broccoli rape (the only very reliable thing that came up) and eating it as a baby green. I may try growing microgreens inside this winter.

    Reply to Kathi Cook's comment

    • Trish on October 3, 2012 at 6:18 pm

      I thought about doing that too – it seems like it shouldn’t be that difficult.

      Reply to Trish's comment

  4. Adelina Anderson on October 3, 2012 at 6:27 am

    Fresh veggies, jams, pickles, and baked goods. Every year we purchase our veggies through our local CSA and the flavor is so much better than the ones from the store. I have working on baking my own bread (never lasts more than a day after my kids see it). And I think my jam and pickles taste way better than store bought because we picked it at a local pyo farm that practices organic farming – tastes fresher.

    Reply to Adelina Anderson's comment

  5. Linnea Mae in NH on October 3, 2012 at 7:00 am

    Raw milk, for sure! I get both raw cow’s and goat’s milk from small local producers here in South Western NH, a mini dairy belt.
    Goat’s milk is very digestible and I make the silkiest maple sweetened custard with it. It has sustained my 86 year old mother during a serious intestinal problem, and she still has one for breakfast everyday.
    We also have a CSA for produce, buy local lamb and beef, and did a goat CSA for meat this fall. We grow a lot as well, and put up peaches, dry beans, tomato sauce, roasted peppers, onions, lots of berries, in jams and frozen, and herbs.
    We think that we are so lucky to have all these resources at hand… just missing local fish, but we do get fresh fish at the gourmet store from the Boston markets 3 times a week.
    You are settling in so fast soon you’ll think you have been there forever, but for missing friends and family, of course!

    Reply to Linnea Mae in NH's comment

  6. Dawn Roberts on October 3, 2012 at 7:08 am

    Congrats! Love the pics – and we, too, will miss seeing you both – looking forward to visits when you come back… Continued blessings to you on this new adventure! :) Dawn + fam

    Reply to Dawn Roberts's comment

  7. Sherri on October 3, 2012 at 7:47 am

    It is (sadly) ILLEGAL to sell raw milk in Canada :( You are very fortunate to have the opportunity/freedom to purchase it. We have considered getting a house cow but we have no barn and our land is only 2.5 acres (not big enough to pasture).

    Reply to Sherri's comment

  8. Brenda on October 3, 2012 at 8:19 am

    I don’t buy meat anymore; haven’t for several years. I do eat meat if served it at other places, though that is infrequently. We eat mostly chicken and venison, and in the past few years added lamb. This summer we added a couple of pigs (promised the married kids “bacon for Christmas”) and a couple of little steers.
    This past spring a church friend offered to sell us Jersey milk. Though I had raw milk as a teen (a mere 40 years ago) it was still a learning curve. I want to make cheese but so far I’ve only made kefir.
    I have a question for you now: do you store it in small mouth mason jars? I get it in gallon or half gallon jars which are easy to wash but a pill to pour from. This is despite vigorous shaking to get the cream less lumpy. I have taken to putting the milk through a sieve into a small mouth half gallon milk bottle but the extra step is time consuming. I am wondering what you and other raw milk users use for pourable (but capped) containers.

    Reply to Brenda's comment

    • Susy on October 3, 2012 at 8:26 am

      We have almost always gotten/stored our milk in half gallon mason jars (the wide mouth variety). We haven’t found the cream to clump at all though it does rise to the top.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  9. Misti on October 3, 2012 at 8:30 am

    I would love to try raw milk sometime, but I generally don’t drink milk as it makes me phlegmy. I tried to give up other dairy products but I just love my cheese and sometimes yogurt. I think the only time I’ve had something unpasteurized/raw was a yogurt/milk drink in the Galapagos—-probably a place I should have known better because it did make me sick. I’d give it another go if I had the chance, mostly because I’m curious about the seasonal changes in taste you mentioned.

    Reply to Misti's comment

  10. Songbirdtiff on October 3, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Raw milk is definitely at the top of my list.

    Reply to Songbirdtiff's comment

  11. Texan on October 3, 2012 at 9:25 am

    I have begun a search for a Dexter cow for milking. I really want to have our own milk, butter, cheese etc. So far I have yet to find one but hopefully soon!

    Reply to Texan's comment

    • Susy on October 3, 2012 at 9:28 am

      I have read a lot about Dexters and if we ever get a cow it will probably one of these beauties. There is a farm about 3 hours away from us that sells Dexter milk and Dexter cows. Someday, I’ll head up and visit the farm.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  12. whit on October 3, 2012 at 9:38 am

    My goodness those cows are beautiful! Do yoi ever think yiu’ll own one someday?

    We have a raw dairy down the street from us…one of the many reasons why the new place was so attractive. The cost is prohibitive to our participation right now, but they are still building a customer base. We figure prices will level out sometime as supply and demand callabrate…right now it’s going for $12 for a half gallon!

    We find our eggs to be the deal breaker with the grocer. We can’t believe the difference when we eat eggs somewhere else. There is no taste to store bought. Must be all that grass, dirt, and bug f
    seasoning that makes ’em so good. :)

    Reply to whit's comment

  13. jennifer fisk on October 3, 2012 at 10:08 am

    I hope to never go back to factory eggs since I’ve gotten used to having my own. I haven’t purchased CAFO beef, chicken or turkey in close to 5 years. I raise my own chicken, turkey and rabbit. When I just have to have some beef, I purchase grass fed at the Belfast COOP. I find Kale and Broccoli from CA in the winter a hard purchase to make so I content myself with local green house spinach and salad greens also purchased at the COOP. I buy raw Jersey milk just down the road and it is so good. I usually pour it into 1/2 gal Mason jars and skim the cream off to make butter.
    Hearing about other states and countries where raw milk is illegal to sell and organic local veggies aren’t available makes me appreciate how lucky we are in Maine. We do need to stay vigilant because there is always someone who wants to fix something that isn’t broke.

    Reply to jennifer fisk's comment

  14. Deb on October 3, 2012 at 11:58 am

    I would like to know where in Ohio you were able to get raw milk. I’m south of Findlay a bit and can’t find any way to get raw milk. Could you enlighten me please? I’ve tried to find cow shares or anything to get some but have been unable to. Glad you were able to find raw milk where you’re at.

    Reply to Deb's comment

    • Susy on October 3, 2012 at 12:28 pm

      It can be difficult to find in states where it is considered illegal. There are ways, the best is to get in with the local food system and ask around. Many farms that do herd shares to advertise a lot because they still get in trouble. We found ours kind of by chance as we were buying eggs from the farm while they were selling their milk to Stonyfield Farm. They asked all of us customers if we’d be interested in raw milk and went that way.

      I’d suggest looking on a few of these websites to see if you can find a farm in your area:
      REAL Milk
      Eat Wild

      Even if you find a dairy semi close to you, call them. They might know of smaller dairies in your area that do raw milk but aren’t comfortable being listed on websites.

      As a second best option you might be able to find Hartzler’s milk over that direction. Check their website: Hartzler’s Family Dairy

      Reply to Susy's comment

  15. Sue on October 3, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    I do love my raw milk. I would never be able to buy store milk again, or yogurt, since I make my own with the raw milk. I also would never buy detergent to wash my clothes again. So easy to make. And so much less expense. Then there’s apple cider vinegar. So easy and cheap to make.

    Reply to Sue's comment

  16. tj on October 3, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    …Oh you lucky, lucky girl! I used to get raw milk from a nearby farm but they were up there in their years at that time and before too long they eventually passed away and their farm was sold. Sadly now, I have to rely on store bought milk and I hate it. I’ve even got to where I don’t drink that much milk anymore because I just don’t like lining the pockets of these big dairy farmers who treat their dairy cows like they’re machines. Yeah, don’t get me started on the inhumane treatment of farm animals or any animal for that matter.

    …How did I get off the subject anyway? *sigh* I can be rolling along chatting about something then suddenly I’m all like, “Oh look! A chicken!”…lol :o)

    …I dream of the day when we get a small farm and I can then have my horse and dairy cow like I’ve always wanted. Until then, I’ll just live vicariously thru you, ‘kay? ;o)

    …Btw, is Mr. Chiots okay? He looks so thin. Not that it’s a bad thing or that he looks bad but he just looks thinner than in other photos we’ve seen.

    …Enjoy your day! And your milk!

    …Blessings :o)

    Reply to tj's comment

  17. KimP on October 3, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Bread! I just can’t stand it from the store anymore. Specialty or artisan bread shops would probably be the exception, but I don’t have any in my area. So I get to make and eat my own. :)

    Reply to KimP's comment

  18. Trish on October 3, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    it’s so strange to live in the midwest and not have access to fabulous foods. The people who live on the coasts think all’s we do is grow stuff, which is true, but unfortunately it’s all commercially grown row crops and big animal farms. I try to grow our vegetables, or get them from farmers markets. I would love to try things like raw milk, and grass fed beef but I can’t find any local producers.

    Reply to Trish's comment

  19. Ken Toney on October 3, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    I love growing our own veges, raising our meat and canning. What I love the most, though, to provide for my family is fresh bread. My 4 year old son even loves to bake with me and is learning. I will not eat store bought bread and neither will he. Nothing pleases me better than to hear him ask if we can bake some bread together.

    Reply to Ken Toney's comment

  20. Kiskin on October 4, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Well, I can consider myself lucky – not only is selling raw milk legal in Estonia, there are even raw milk vending machines popping up in many super markets throughout the country.

    Reply to Kiskin's comment

  21. Missy on October 4, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    Those cows are so beautiful! I’m just familiar with beef cows and your standard black and white milking cow in Ohio (not sure what they are called). I love the long eye lashes and their beautiful coats.

    Reply to Missy's comment

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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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