Tuesday, June 29, 2010

farm visit.

Andy and I both had the day off last week, so we decided to finally fulfill our mutual quest for getting our hands on some raw milk.

There are so many reasons why we wanted to try it out. First, we are both pretty sensitive to dairy and have had a lot of problems for the last several years. From what I've read, people who can't tolerate dairy can often tolerate raw milk products just fine. Since we both do very well on raw milk cheese, we decided to take it one step further.

Dr. Mercola says "the butterfat in whole raw milk, particularly butterfat in milk from cows that graze freely on green pasture, contains unique nutrients that support thyroid function and help your body develop muscle rather than fat." Both good things for us.

Organic Pastures says this of raw milk: "Natural organic raw milk has in it vitally important living things. These include the following: beneficial bacteria, enzymes (including lipase, protease. and other), lactase forming bacteria, and many enzyme based pathogen killing systems. The common practice of pasteurization inactivates or dramatically reduces the effects of these important active (living) elements. As a result, you may be lactose intolerant when drinking pasteurized milk, but not lactose intolerant when you drink raw milk. This is because lactase enzymes are being formed when you digest raw milk."

Mercola also says, "While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that raw milk can carry disease-causing bacteria, what they completely overlook is the fact that these bacteria are the result of industrial farming practices that lead to diseased animals, which may then in turn produce contaminated milk. You never want to get your raw milk from a feed-lot cow."

So we set out to visit a farm near Portland that we found after some web research on the Real Milk website.

We drove along the crunching gravel driveway to a farm tucked back in a small wooded area, lined with vinyl fencing on both sides through which we saw numerous frolicking goats, and soon the wooded space opened up into a meadow, with the farmhouse sitting on the perimeter and horses out to pasture underneath the grand view of Mt. Hood.

We bought a gallon and a half. One for us, and a half gallon for our friends, whose little boy is dealing with some health issues that we're hoping raw milk can help resolve.

We walked through a little pasture to a clearing in the wooded area where we met the cows supplying us: Honey, Blossom, and Patty. They are big, gorgeous Jersey cows with gigantic brown eyes, beautiful color, and huge udders. They looked happy, healthy, and content to eat all the grass in sight.

The owner said we came at the right time of year; the grass is growing so rapidly and is so green and nutrient-rich from the rain that the girls' milk is at its peak. Later in the summer, when the green grass starts to become drier and more scarce, the milk will lose a little of its sweetness.

We packed our liquid gold in a styrofoam cooler with ice, placed it gingerly in the trunk, and couldn't wait to get home and try some, where, when we finally got inside, Andy poured himself a big glass and took a fearless gulp. So pleased. My turn next, and my first response was, "Delicious." Andy agreed. "A little grassy, but in a good way." "Sweet." "Yummy."

Safely home and in the fridge...mission accomplished!

The cream of the milk is a buttery yellow color, it sits like silk on top and smells so good, it's hard to not dip your fingers in and get a taste. We stirred the cream into the milk with a whisk, but Nina Planck recommends spooning some out over strawberries.

Then came the waiting game! We waited, for over an hour, to see how we felt. Nothing! Gloriously nothing!

Of course, in Oregon, raw milk is "for animal consumption only." Let's just say we have a lot of "cats" to feed.

Do you want to support a local farmer and try raw milk for yourself? Visit Real Milk or email me!

The girls getting their fill of fresh green grass....

The boy loves to feed animals...

And there were goats! New babies, they were frolicking all over the place and calling "ma-ma!"

These goats clearly had affection for each other...

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