Monday, April 29, 2013

Raw Milk and ways to get it!

Over at the Elliot Homestead blog, Shaye has posted about the pros and cons of Dairy Cows and Dairy Goats.  This is of particular interest to me because we are also deciding which way to go- cow or goats.  Our decision... both!

Even though we have been homesteaders in our hearts for sometime, we are newbies to actually doing it.  Because of this we have decided to start with goats.  They are smaller, less expensive and just don't seem so intimidating as a large cow.  But we still want a cow eventually too and I'm glad we want to go that route because, I learned from Shaye, goats milk is more homogenized and there for is hard to get cream and butter out of.  I need cream and butter!

So, once we master our chickens, then we will be in the market a couple of goats and will learn how to milk them so I can finally have legal access to fresh, nutritious raw milk and then we will move on to a cow!  Here in Michigan we have three options for obtaining raw milk. 1. Own and milk your own animal. 2. Buy into a cow or goat share program. 3. Go illegal and find someone who will sell it to you.

We briefly did #3 but I felt uncomfortable with it.  I began to question whether the farmers were keeping their animals/milk clean enough.  We stopped after a short time. I have to admit too, I'm a rule keeper.  I don't like breaking laws.  Actually I don't think it is illegal to purchase, just to sell.  But still the spirit of it affected me.

We've looked into various share programs but they are expensive when you consider the amount of milk you would receive plus the drive time to pick it up.  We are a family of 7 and we go through 5 or 6 gallons of milk a week plus additional dairy products (cheese, yogurt, sour cream, butter etc.).  The two or so gallons of share milk aren't going to cut it for us.

That leaves us with option number one and now that we have some homesteading land, we are looking forward to having milk and dairy products of our own.  We truly believe that fresh, properly cared for raw milk from properly cared for and fed animals is more healthy and beneficial then the dead milk one buys in the stores.  It may not be for everyone but since time began that is how milk was and I'd like to get back to that.

For more info on raw milk:

1. Nourishing Traditions
2. The Weston A. Price Foundation
3. Real Milk

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