August 17, 2015
To read the story referenced, “The Great Raw Milk Debate: Should You Pasteurize?,” click here.
I was born and raised on a large dairy farm. Always drank fresh unpasteurized milk at every meal. When the farm burned in 1993 I was forced to start buying milk from the stores. Within weeks of drinking pasteurized milk I started getting sick to my stomach on every glass I drank and I myself would drink a gallon a day from the farm. The doctor told me it was all in my head, but I know different. I have recently gotten some fresh milk from a farmer and don’t get sick off it ,so during the pasteurizing process something happens that I can’t handle. When you can’t make good cheese with store milk, I prefer mine straight from the bucket to the tank.
As a farmer that sells raw milk, I highly encourage customers to ask questions and know me well! Don’t call up and ask “What do your animals eat?” That is important, but if you are not dairy savvy, you probably will not even understand what they are feeding or why. Ask more detailed questions like how your farmer cools the milk, how old is it when it is sold, what do you do with old milk (look for them to answer we make cheese or kefir or yogurt) or what containers do you use to sell milk. Look for a farmer that uses disposable containers (plastic isn’t everyone’s favorite but obtainable and you know it is a sterile clean container).
On that vein, I also encourage customers to patronize those who sell raw milk FOR A LIVING, NOT A HOBBY!! Why? Because if someone is a hobby farmer, maybe covering the cost of feed with 20 or 30 gallons of milk sold a week, and if someone gets sick from their practices, what have they lost? Their hobby income – a few dollars that covers the feed bill! Will that sink them? Probably not. But for those of us who sell raw milk for our primary income, we make sure everything is done right! If something goes wrong, we are subject to lose everything – our animals, our reputation, our livelihood! Buy from a professional – and professionals do not have to be big commercial farms!
Drank unpasteurized milk until I was 20. Keep your cow’s udder clean and your separator clean and refrigerate milk before drinking. Many people in our area did the same.