Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

Why I Choose Raw Milk

June 24th, 2010 · 82 Comments · Big Changes, My Story

raw milk creamline This is my opinion, and only my opinion. What works for my family with raw, unpasteurized milk may not be possible for yours, and it may not be what God is calling you to do right now. Through prayer and discernment, I chose raw milk for my family a year and a half ago. It hasn’t always been smooth sailing, but for now, we get one gallon a week from our local farm. Here’s my story:

My poor husband. When I first read Nourishing Traditions and then stumbled upon Ron Schmid’s The Untold Story of Milk, I started asking questions of friends about unpasteurized milk. One of my good friends was already in a raw milk share group, so it was a natural extension of my reading to at least visit the farm and look into the process. When we went last January for a tour, my husband admitted he thought it was just a “pipe dream.” After all, I had only had an interest in raw milk for six weeks or so.

He about hit the ceiling in surprise when I came home asking him seriously if we could give raw milk and a cow share a try. “I really didn’t think this would ever amount to anything…” He wasn’t in favor of it, but he said he’d never like the idea any more than he did at that moment, so if I thought it was important and healthier for our family, we could give it a try.

I explained to him my reasoning, and here are my priorities, in order of importance:

  1. Grassfed: CLA I was first drawn to raw milk because it was the only way I knew of to obtain grassfed dairy. I described the health benefits of CLA in grassfed cattle earlier this week.My husband has a family history of heart disease and early heart attacks, and his high triglycerides are a major health concern.

    He also has Crohn’s Disease, an autoimmune disorder that affects digestion, although it’s been blessedly in remission for seven years. Any time I read about a food or nutrient that particularly helps triglycerides or autoimmune or inflammatory bowel disease, I really perk up and pay attention. I felt like the section in The Untold Story of Milk about CLA was literally jumping off the page at me, and I was overcome with a desire to obtain grassfed milk and meat. (Want to know what happened to his triglycerides?)I have since found a local source for grassfed, unhomogenized, organic, low-temp pasteurized milk. It’s $9/gallon. Ouch.

  2. Organic Avoiding antibiotics, hormones, and the chemicals used on whatever the cattle eat is a big deal. Most any source giving tips on “what to buy organic” says to place priority on those foods higher up the food chain, because any toxins are more concentrated in the meat than, say, the grain the meat ate. Organic store brand milk is $5.50/gallon here, and there are other considerations to organic milk that make it tricky. For $6/gallon, I could get organic milk PLUS all these other upgrades. Raw milk was a no-brainer, price wise.
  3. Unhomogenized I know, I know. I just told you yesterday that homogenization has been demonized without proper justification. It’s still a man-made, unnecessary process, and I don’t trust it. Sometimes, even for me, it’s not all about the science, but trusting my gut and my prayerful discernment. Did you see that gorgeous creamline in the top photo? That’s our milk!

  4. Unpasteurized/Raw Those lovely living enzymes are credited for a lot of immunity boosting and digestive health improvements. My husband and I often pray (beg) that our kids don’t inherit his Crohn’s Disease, which is genetic and environmental. I’m hoping that I can avoid whatever in the environment triggered my husband’s Crohn’s by staying away from the processed foods as much as possible.

    I can honestly say that our family has been much healthier since starting raw milk, with fewer colds and stomach bugs and less severe cases overall when we do come down with something. However, I’ve also made many other dietary changes since then, so no one can really point a finger at the raw milk for certain.

  5. Local I do love that I can support a local farmer, and the glass jars over plastic jugs is an added eco-friendly bonus.On the other hand, it irks me that one of our cow-share ladies has to drive 20 minutes each way to get the milk and then drop it off at all five houses. I’m sure the fossil fuel wasted in that inefficient system is just awful and offsets the plastic jugs we don’t end up throwing into the recycling bins.

There are many, many people who would put “raw” first and everything else very, very secondary. I’m not one of them, and that’s just me being different and setting my priorities where they felt right. Ultimately, the end result is the same. Some of the comments at the post on homogenized vs. unhomogenized milk and how to find the healthiest milk this week have been very interesting, as far as why people choose or avoid raw milk, fears of and real stories of bacterial outbreaks because of raw milk, etc.

If I ever became worried about the safety of my raw milk, I honestly think I would still purchase it and simply home pasteurize it to be safe. That probably sounds crazy to people who pay $5-10/gallon to obtain raw milk, but the grassfed and organic properties are worth it to me.raw milk jar

Raw milk comes at a great sacrifice, both financially, and of my time and sanity. Every five weeks when it’s my turn to make the milk run, I find myself questioning whether the Lord still wants me to get raw milk…usually when my daughter is pitching a fit because she doesn’t want to be in the car. Sometimes I find myself talking to Him while I’m driving, cutting deals: “Okay, Lord, if Leah doesn’t stop screaming by the time this trip is over, I’m done. We’re dropping the milk share. I’m sure you don’t want her to suffer (and me and Paul) with all this traveling we’re doing…” So far, He hasn’t reached down to say “no more raw milk,” but always has mercy on me with the screaming child stopping.

We also had trouble last summer with our milk souring much too quickly. It should be good about 10 days, at the very least a week, which is how long we go in between receiving our gallon. We were finding it undrinkable after only 4-5 days, and we had to work with our farm and our milk share group to make sure we kept the cold chain consistent with coolers, ice packs, and expediency. It worked. The milk stays good all week now, but my husband still stops drinking it straight in the summer because he doesn’t like the taste.

Is Grassfed Milk Really Different than Grainfed?

As with everything in the food realm, it seems, you can find a source that says the opposite. Some sources say CLA doesn’t really do anything good for heart health, and some sources say that grassfed meat and dairy has a nearly identical nutritional profile to grainfed cattle, CLA included.  When I point to the yellow color of my cream and butter compared to the stark white butter I made with store cream as an example, I’m told it’s simply that the breed of cow at our farm (Jersey and Guernsey) is different than the conventional dairy cow (Holstein).

I beg to differ.

Check out this photo of the butter I made last night:May vs June grassfed butter The whiter stick on the right is from early May, the deep yellow on the left from June. The same cattle, simply switching over from the hay and alfalfa of winter to the grass and then fast-growing, well-watered spring grass, made quite a difference in the color of the cream. I’m no scientist, but I’m counting on there being more vitamins in the yellower cream.

I make butter with our May and June cream and freeze it for an added dose of Vitamin D during the depth of the winter. Dr. Weston A. Price recommended the practice in a sidebar of Nourishing Traditions. I’m thankful that our cows can digest the grasses that capture the energy (and vitamins) from the sun and preserve it to help keep my family’s immunities up when the darkness seems never-ending in January.

That said, I don’t think raw milk is the only answer. For this point in our family’s life, raw milk is the choice for us, of that I am certain. For your family, it may be different. I researched raw milk for hours (and hours and hours) before signing up for a cow share. I encourage you to do the same, and talk to others who drink raw milk, if you are considering making the switch.

Where Can I find Raw Milk?

If you live in the midwest and have access to a HyVee, we love their store brand organic milk! It is actually from Kalona Organics, but sold under the HyVee label. It is organic, NOT homogenized, and it is VAT pasteurized, which means it is pasteurized at the lowest allowable temperature. (The website says it is half the temp of UHT pasteurization, and 30 degrees lower than regular pasteurization.) I don’t have a HyVee receipt near me, so I can’t remember the exact price, but I want to say it is actually a little less than the other organic milks they sell. We have not yet made the switch to raw milk (partly because of budget, partly because we’re afraid of it going bad before we use it all), but this is the closest thing we can get to raw milk at the store. I’m not that good at remembering to shake it up to distribute the cream, but my husband loves it because he gets little pieces of cream in his milk! Find it near you.

What other bloggers are saying about raw milk:

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82 Comments so far ↓

  • candace

    If you think having to travel to get your milk is a hassle try getting out there and milking goats every morning, which is where I’m heading now! It is work either way, but I would have a really hard time going back to store milk (or even someone else’s raw milk) at this point. I would probably just go without. Right now my struggle is keeping up with all of the milk I have- puddings, custards, cheese, buttermilk, yogurt….enjoy your cream, goat’s milk is naturally homogenized, so I am without unless I buy a cream separator!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Sandra Wosk Reply:

    It is illegal here to drink milk straight from the cow. If you are found out you could lose your land and face a heavy fine.. Accordingly they found that raw milk is dangerous. That would frighten me.. I would rather they go back to it than this processed stuff but alas not possible..

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  • candace

    Oh, and for perspective on the cost of raw milk. I calculated what it costs me in feed for a gallon of goat’s milk. It was near $3/gallon (in feed and hay). My goats are very well nourished. That amount does not include any other costs like housing, fencing, any vet bills, etc. It also does not include labor- which is valuable too. It makes me woner how store milk can only cost around $4/gallon. What the heck are they feeding those animals?

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  • Llama Momma

    I grew up drinking raw milk. We didn’t think about it. Our neighbors had cows and we bought milk from them. (Not a real dairy farm, just a family farm with a few cows to supply their milk.)

    I remember shaking it up in the morning before pouring it on my cereal.
    .-= Llama Momma´s last blog ..how to host a water balloon fight =-.

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  • HeatherG

    I have to thank you for the honest and truly open posts this week about milk. Although my family chooses to drink raw milk we understand other people make different choices based on their own situation. Some raw milk drinkers make me feel guilty for my passive attitude toward others’ choices or in allowing my child to have the occassional meal or snack that does not conform to how we eat at home. It is good to see that there is room for individual priorities rather than all or nothing. Ideals are good, but the world is a messy place and sometimes non-ideal choices have to be made.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Thanks, Heather. It’s good to live in the messy world with other balanced folks like yourself. You put it well — :) Katie

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  • jana @ the summer house

    If you are in California, Organic Pastures sells raw milk but it is quite pricey at $8.99 a half gallon for whole raw milk.

    I have found Trader Joes Cream Top to be a good option. From my online research-it is from Straus Dairies in Northern California-low temp pasteurization, organic and no homogenization at $3.49 a half gallon.
    .-= jana @ the summer house´s last blog ..Twill Tape Love And Shoe Laces =-.

    [Reply to this comment]

    sarah Reply:

    jana- i emailed TJ’s today and they said that they require that all of their organic dairy is fed at least 80% from grass.

    considering that the definition for “organic” by the USDA only means that they have to have access to pasture (but doesn’t mandate that they actually use it), i think 80% is pretty awesome!
    .-= sarah´s last blog ..simply tasty: artichoke dip =-.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Sarah,
    I agree – 80% IS pretty awesome! Way to go emailing the company! ;) Katqie

    [Reply to this comment]

    Michelle Reply:

    Hi Jana, I was wondering does the cream “melt” back into the milk like with raw milk or has it “solidified” like the Strauss milk I’ve bought in glass bottles at WF? Also, in case you’re interested if you can find a Farmer’s Market near you with Organic Pastures they sell whole milk at the one near me for $6 a 1/2 gallon. (But that farmer’s market is 20 minutes away, so right now I’m using TJ’s milk which I’ve heard is Clover but TJ’s won’t verify.)

    [Reply to this comment]

    jana @ the summer house Reply:

    The cream is at the top like Strauss.
    .-= jana @ the summer house´s last blog ..Twill Tape Love And Shoe Laces =-.

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  • Robin

    We made the switch just a couple of weeks ago. I love reading people’s experiences and reasons for switching. Especially as my husband and I look forward to starting a family, it seemed like the best thing to do for us.

    Thanks for the post.
    .-= Robin´s last blog ..Good things are happening! =-.

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  • Nate @ House of Annie

    In Northern California, there are a few farmer’s markets that have vendors selling raw milk. I like the idea that the beneficial enzymes and bacteria are still in the milk, helping to digest the sugars.

    Here in Kuching, all we can get is awful Ultra Heat Treated boxed milk. Yuck.
    .-= Nate @ House of Annie´s last blog ..Recipe for Fried Pork with Evaporated Milk =-.

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  • Greta @ Mom Living Healthy

    Right now our milk is everything but raw…just low temp pasturized. I’m not quite ready to move to raw milk, but I do appreciate that our milk comes from grass-fed cows, isn’t homogenized, is organic and local. I know it’s more expensive, but I do feel that it’s an important part of our diet. Thanks for the great run down on milk this week!
    .-= Greta @ Mom Living Healthy´s last blog ..This Week’s Menu Plan =-.

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  • Genevieve

    We have been drinking raw milk here for the last few months but have chosen to stop after finding out some things about the producer. It is illegal to sell raw here so we have been buying it for $13 dollars a gallon + $50 per year fee from the only supplier have in our area (that we know of). Turns out this person has not been keeping the milk cold while he transports it to the pickup location in the city and the milk sits out for at least another hour while he waits for everyone to pick up their jugs. Also they have not been washing the jugs that we return to them, just refilling them the next week. I’ve had milk from them be bad right from the time of opening because of this and at $13 a jug I just can’t justify it anymore. We will be switching to grassfed, organic store bought this weekend. It makes me sad to do so but clearly their practices show a lack of care and concern for their product and customers.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Genevieve,
    I am in awe that a grassfed raw milk producer would be so careless. You are absolutely right to cut ties and don’t look back! Not washing the bottles? That is so wrong in so many ways, even if we weren’t talking raw milk. *shudder* I’m so sorry you had such an awful experience!
    Katie

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  • Kathryn

    I’ve been buying raw milk for some time now. The only way i can get it in glass is in quarts, & it comes to nearly $20 / gal. I don’t buy a lot (we haven’t got children). I can also get some raw cheese, but most of the rest (yogurt, ice cream, butter, etc) is pasteurized. I can make my own & sometimes do. I’ve found that glass vs. plastic makes a huge difference in the taste.

    To me raw milk & organic produce of at least the top 12 of the “dirty dozen” – apples, strawberries, etc., is worth our $$ & we do what we can to live that way.

    I had started to have digestive problems with milk stuff – & still do if i eat cheese from most restaurants – but having raw milk has made a big difference for me.
    .-= Kathryn´s last blog .. =-.

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  • sarah

    jana- ditto! i also live in socal, and find the price of raw milk hard to swallow (although i have found it for slightly less… $7.99/half gal at sprouts market), so TJ’s cream top milk is my second choice. thanks for the info on TJ’s milk! i have been wanting to do more research on it. do you know if the cows get any pasture time at all?

    something else i do sometimes is buy organic pasture’s raw skim milk (much cheaper, just $4 per half gallon) and non-UHT organic cream (TJ’s sells a pint for just $3.29) and make my own whole milk. i figure its slightly better than the cream top milk (at least some good enzymes still in the raw skim), though not as good as 100% grassfed and raw.
    .-= sarah´s last blog ..simply tasty: artichoke dip =-.

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  • Katie

    This post came at the perfect time! I just brought my first gallon of raw milk home last night. I was intersted that you made mention about the color of the cream, I had never known that it is supposed to be that color, so good to know that it is full of good stuff!

    Thanks for this post!

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Laura Davis

    We’re lucky enough to have access to low temp pasteurized, nonhomogenized, organic milk from a local dairy farm. It’s not raw, but I can get it for $3-$5 a gallon, so I’m not complaining! I know we’re lucky, but we’ll be moving away next year and I’m already mourning the loss of my milk. :-( It’s so nice to crack open a jug of milk and find the cap coated in cream!

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Joie

    Can you tell me how to “home pasturize” my milk to assure the saftey of it. To be honest, the arguments about the saftey of raw milk are a little intimidating.

    Thank you.
    Joie
    .-= Joie´s last blog ..What On Earth Would This World Think? =-.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Joie,
    Here is one possible link: http://www.ehow.com/how_2069382_pasteurize-milk-home.html although I’ve never done it myself. You have to do what you’re comfortable with, good for you! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  • tonya

    “When I point to the yellow color of my cream and butter compared to the stark white butter I made with store cream as an example, I’m told it’s simply that the breed of cow at our farm (Jersey and Guernsey) is different than the conventional dairy cow (Holstein).”

    It’s true that there is a difference in fat content of Jerseys & Guernseys vs. Holsteins. I’ve seen the numbers & used the numbers to my family’s benefit. Most co-operatives will pay farmers more for more butterfat in their milk, among other things like a low scc count. Jerseys have the highest butterfat content, so on our small farm we had a few purebred jerseys & several more jersey/holstein crosses. butter from your raw milk is all jersey. butter from the store or from store cream is from comingled milk & thusly more standardized.

    just a little pet peeve, unless a farm has achieved organic certification, it’s not truly organic & can’t be marketed as such. free of everything, sure, but i’m sure for those who’ve done the certification it hurts to see other pseudo-organic farms be handed that label by consumers.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Naomi H Reply:

    Unless a farm has achieved organic certification, it can’t be marketed as such, but it can still be organic. Some farms advertise “non-certified organic” which is more truthful, but then the responsibility is on the consumer’s side to look into the farmer’s practices. Organic certification is expensive and sometimes stipulate such things as what kind of fence posts are used, which, while I’m sure one kind is better than another, is not a major factor for me considering the options.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Tonya,
    I suppose since I can’t purchase raw milk anyway, only hire the farm to board “my” cow, they aren’t marketing a product anyway!

    I’ve had a lot of conversations with local producers lately preparing for my local resources page, and as you’ll see next week, I’d almost rather buy food from a grower who uses organic practices but chooses NOT to be certified, because they usually pass on the cost savings of the expensive government regulations on to the consumer. I don’t care about the paperwork, just the environmental and health impact. Naomi is right, there are many farmers growing organically (or at least eco-consciously) who don’t have cert. and don’t deserve to be called “pseudo” just b/c they don’t have paperwork. The farms are certainly “organic.” The government doesn’t own the term, just the sticker.
    Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Crystal

    I love our raw milk. I too felt that God was leading me to it. I too, listen to see if I’m supposed to stop the long drive every two weeks, to get it. We have been unemployed for eight months, and I’m trying to lower our food bill. So far, raw milk is still a priority. Organic chips and “Cheerios” not so much.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Michele @ Frugal Granola

    Here is my cost analysis of raw milk & butter-making tutorial from a couple years ago:

    http://frugalgranola.com/2008/06/delicious-butter/

    We lost our raw milk source when we moved though; so disappointing!
    Blessings,
    Michele

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Jen

    I am interested in what other eating changes you have made for the benefit of your husband. My husband also has Crohns and has been in remission for about four months. What would you say are the most important dietary habits to form to help prevent the flare-ups?

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Jen,
    I wish I had an answer for you, but really, my husband hasn’t had flareups, no matter what he does, since his surgery. He’s got a touch of the inflammation there again according to a colonoscopy, but he feels great. I am just seeking overall health: chicken stock and beans as much as possible, soaking grains as much as possible, and raw milk and yogurt along with grassfed beef. ??? It’s hard to say which if any of our changes is helping him keep the flareups at bay, but I’m keeping on with what we’re doing anyway! If you make homemade yogurt, try culturing it longer: 24 hours is said to be best for IBD, and I usually get it to about 16 or so. Gets rid of more of the hard-to-digest lactose.
    Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Naomi H

    Just a reminder that when raw milk sours it’s not bad – wait a few more days (in fridge) and the overly sour will mellow into a buttermilk-like sour.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Denise

    We love raw goat milk!
    Just an FYI for other frugal people; Some small farms may need a back-up milker from time to time. My daughter has learned to milk very well, and when we do milk (goats in this case) for them, we get to keep some of the milk for free. :-)

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Sarah W

    is your homemade butter raw? How do you like the taste of it? I read some other people online saying they did not like the taste of it (cheesy or fishy or something like that?) What do you think?

    [Reply to this comment]

    Naomi H Reply:

    If the cream is cultured before making the butter, it definitely has a cheesy flavour. If made with fresh cream, it tastes normal but doesn’t keep as long (hence why almost all butter in N. America has salt added).

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Sarah,
    Yep, raw as can be here. I culture it with buttermilk nowadays for even more probiotics. Without culturing, it tastes soooo good, just like store butter but wayyyy better. Culturing is an acquired taste, just like yogurt, but I still really like it. :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Paul Rollins

    We switched to raw milk a few years ago when we could not stop our daughters excema and breathing problems, with the steroids or any other prescriptions. We stopped all doctor prescribed remedies immediately and started on the raw milk, and all her health problems were gone in days. She was violently lactose intolerant before, but has ZERO problems with raw milk. We buy local for $4 a gallon, straight from the cow, no homo, no pastuerization, no nothing. The kids love going to see the cows every two weeks, and we get 8 gallons each time. It has never gone bad for us, and if the last gallon gets a little sour, we make a simple cheese and it is delicious.

    Raw milk led us into healthy living. We don’t vaccinate now either, and none of our 5 kids has been to the doctor EVER since we started on raw milk. We do the grain thing too, and there is nothing better than hot bread from freshly ground grain with homemade butter and a big glass of raw milk. YUM.

    I like your site, keep up the good work.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Paul,
    Thank you for sharing! LOVE these personal stories of success! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Malika

    I just bought my first batch or raw cows milk (we’ve been getting raw goat milk) for $6.00 a gallon here in Ft. Worth, TX. Since we’re known as “Cow Town” maybe the competition keeps the price lower… But the goats milk was $12.00 and we went through a gallon to gallon and 1/2 every week. And we don’t even eat cereal! The kids love it!
    .-= Malika´s last blog ..Amaranth Pizza Crust/Flat bread =-.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Heather

    I am an email subscriber and have enjoyed reading your blog for several months. My husband also has Crohn’s Disease and has been suffering from a severe flare for months. I am considering drastically changing our diet and have purchased the Breaking the Vicious Cycle. Do you follow the diet recommended in Nourishing Traditions? Do you follow a specific carb diet for your husband?

    Thanks!
    Heather

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Heather,
    I am so sorry to hear that. I can remember the pain my husband used to be in (he was just “boyfriend” then) after eating every meal. He had surgery 7 years ago and has done nothing since, to be honest. I wish I had a better answer for you. I would encourage you to check out this blog http://freetofeast.wordpress.com/ by a young woman with Crohn’s who has made a TON of dietary changes and is doing really well with it. I wish you all the best getting the Crohn’s under control; it’s such a scary disease.
    Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

    Linda Reply:

    I know someone with crohn’s who used the specific carbohydrate diet and is doing great for years good luck and god bless you

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Primal Toad

    I love the idea of drinking raw milk. I am always open to new and unique ideas. I don’t have the money or time to buy raw milk now but I will definitely try it in the near future. I will have to take a taste during my primal world tour in 2011…

    And, thanks for the 2 sites about the organic low-pasteurized milk! I bookmarked them both and will possibly drive to the nearest location to buy some if its not too far if I am in the area sometime soon.
    .-= Primal Toad´s last blog ..June Chicago Trip: Severe Storms (Tornado?) & Barefoot Golf =-.

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  • Kara Sorensen

    I’ve been enjoying your posts and especially loved reading what you wrote on raw milk. My Mom grew up on raw milk, cream and butter and her grandmother lived healthfully into her nineties on the same foods.

    I’m lucky as I’m able to purchase mine at my local farmer’s market. It has a more pungent aroma, but it tastes delicious and it just feels right to me. Thanks!

    Kara

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Misty

    We first switched over to raw milk 5 months ago when I started looking into an alternative to conventional formula when I could not produce enough breast milk for my daughter. I feel very blessed that here in SW Washington, I get to be part of a raw milk co-op. The milk gets delivered to our host and we pick it up, a 10 minute drive away. I have never visited the farm myself but have done a fair amount of research on them and feel very comfortable drinking their milk. It does cost $10/gal and so we have lessened our consumption for a family of 5 to 1 gal/week. Our milk host also orders from an even closer dairy giving us access to other low-temp pasturized dairy products including unhomgenized milk for only $3.50/half-gallon, this is what I use for cooking and making yogurt. I get envious when I hear others paying $6/gal for their raw milk, but then feel lucky when I hear how some cannot even get access to raw milk. Interstingly enough my teenage daughter who has always drank store milk, no longer can drink the store stuff (at other people’s houses of course :) without getting a stomach ache!

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Cara

    When raw milk is heated above approx 110 degrees farenheit the beneficial bacteria (probiotics) and enzymes start to be destroyed. I try not to cook with my raw milk, for one, because it is costs more, and two, because I don’t want to lose any nutrients. It is really too bad that the U.S. (and other countries) have made pasteurization a requirement for the most part. If healthy cows are fed untreated grass, their milk becomes a virtual fortress against pathogens. The dairy I get my milk from has done tests showing that pathogens, including E coli, simply cannot survive in grass fed milk.
    I would love to learn how to turn my raw milk into cream and butter … because buying those products raw can be even pricier.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Cara,
    You can skim the cream – I usually just sneak about half of it out since there’s soooo much cream with Jerseys – and here’s how to make homemade butter. It’s actually not that hard. Enjoy! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

    Cara Reply:

    Thank you, Katie, for directing me to your butter “how to.” I love your site … you are such a smart lady :) To be honest with you, though, I get overwhelmed with all this “know-how” and think I’ll never get to where you are. It’s tough because I have to consider my budget in regards to my kids special needs (autism). But I realize God will help me according to His timing … I just need to be patient.
    By the way, I just got an email advertising a book “Secret Food Cures” by the Wilen Sisters (Lydia and Joan) and it mentioned a solution for Crohn’s … macaroon cookies :) ([email protected])
    Thanks again! Cara

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Cara,
    Your patience will teach your children more than any dinner you serve, my dear.
    Interesting book…although I tend to be wary of “secrets” and “cures” as marketing strategies! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Sylvia

    i just want to say that we raised our 5 boys and 5 girls on raw milk. I attribute our reputation of strong bones and extremely healthy bodies to our home garden and our Jersey cows thru the years. Our milk was a blessing in many ways. Our boys learned the value of hard work to haul hay and the responsibility to milk the cow every day. I guess our girls did, also because they learned to milk as well. We had our own butter and cheese. Sometimes we added a little heat to sour milk to make cottage cheese….we loved our buttermilk and our fun family nights churning ice cream. We only had three acres once and less than that most of our years of raising our family. We knew our food was quality because we grew and preserved it ourselves. We were blessed with extremely few days of illness and a diet and life of healthy living.
    Surely the experience of one family for over thirty years, puts a strong mark for raw milk in the, “raw milk vs store- bought” question.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Lori H

    Katie,
    Thanks for the info! Do you mind sharing where you buy your milk share from??? I live in West Michigan and know of two places that do milk shares… I’ve been to the farm in Coopersville that does it, but have not visited the one on Luce St. Trying to convince my husband we should try it :)

    Lori

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Lori,
    Watch for my local resources page this week! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Michele

    Here’s a question: We just lost the cowshare we used to belong to – the man decided to sell his cow. We just managed to get hold of 2 gallons from another dairyman, but it appears that he waters down his milk in the tank.
    This milk was a one time deal only, the man will not sell to individuals on a regular basis. But is there any way we can get rid of the excess water? We cannot get raw cream to add, and my husband does not want to use the homogenized stuff from the store. Do we grin and bear it, or can this milk be fixed?

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Michele,
    I’m so sorry I missed your comment; haven’t been online all weekend. I don’t have any great ideas, but maybe someone else on this thread will. ??
    Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

    tonya Reply:

    watering down milk is ILLEGAL (i know raw milk is oft cases illegal as well, but this is a huge no no, especially if he’s selling grade a fluid milk to a processor). the way to tell if the milk has been watered down is to check the freezing point. Milk normally freezes between −0.53 and −0.56 °C; when it has been adulterated the freezing point rises nearer to that of water. A freezing point above −0.53 °C is indicative of adulteration.

    Frankly, it is probably very unsafe for you to be consuming raw milk from anyone you feel might be doing anything shady.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Naomi H Reply:

    If you know the farmer is watering down the milk, I agree – it’s not safe to drink raw. Obviously the farmer is not committed to quality and integrity, two virtues a consumer needs to trust a farmer to drink raw milk. Who knows what other practices he has to make money or cut corners?

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Good call, Naomi and Tonya. I am humbled by the fact that I didn’t think of the obvious safety factor. I just tried to answer the question! Sometimes I am moving too quickly for my own good. You’re both absolutely right. Don’t drink raw milk from sketchy folks.
    Thank you! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Sue

    I live in Virginia close to Washington DC. We thought we were going to move to Missouri where I would be able to get raw milk, but God did not let the move go through. So for now the best I can do is use organic milk.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Shannon

    Katie, what a great post. I’ve been really on the fence with this one as I’ve been reading “Nourishing Traditons” and “Real food for mother and baby”. I’ve made many changes to my husband and my diet in the past few years and more in the past year, having been pregnant and then having a baby. But, this is the one area he says he’s against. He just doesn’t like the idea that it isn’t pasteurized. I plan to look at your links and see if they address that specific concern more. Thanks for the post! Shannon

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Saturday Link Love: Edition 1

    [...] and up my total calorie/protein intake while simply workout harder. And, if you love milk consider drinking raw milk if [...]

  • Alexis R

    Thank you for a great post. I have been reading the Maker’s Diet and find it quite interesting esp. since my husband has dealt with Ulcerative Colitis and is lactose intolerant. My interest has been peaked re: raw milk. We have tried kefir and he does very well with it and I am looking into buying grains to make it at home. Now, I will be researching raw milk to see if that is a switch we should make.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Lora

    I grew up on raw milk (cow and goat) from my grandfather’s farm. Does your husband find that he doesn’t like the taste of the milk all summer long? We used to find that the cows’ milk tasted bad for the first couple weeks each spring as they made the transition from eating hay to grazing in the pastures.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Lora,
    I do usually ask him to try it on day one each week and decide. It’s hit or miss! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Lora

    Do you know if the cows all change their main food source at the same time? My grandfathers’ did. My brother and I thought the milk tasted “oniony” during the transition in the spring but didn’t have complaints in the fall. Our parents agreed as far as the taste but disagreed with us on whether it warranted our not drinking milk for a week or two in the spring. Interestingly, that brother and I never got ear infections. My younger brother, who came along after we no longer had raw milk available, suffered terribly with ear infections. Just an anecdote, but sometimes I wonder if the difference in milk might have been a factor.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Danae

    Thank you so much for this! My family has been drinking raw milk at $8.50/gal for about a year now, and loving it.
    I have been wondering about making butter with our raw cream. I have heard that it’s important to consume the butterfat with the milk, but do you know if skimming just part of it makes a difference? We too have a good inch and a half of cream on top of our half gallon jars.
    I especially enjoyed your comments about driving to pick up milk with screaming children in the back seat. My 22-mo and 7-mo kiddos accompany me on my 2-hour trek each week with various levels of cooperation! Thank you again for your honest and informative post!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Danae,
    Glad to commiserate w/you! I do skim about half of it every time. ?? You can freeze cream and still make butter in a big batch. This is how I do it:http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/recipes/homemade-butter/
    I figure we’re still eating more fat than most! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

    Noreen Reply:

    I also skim some of the cream from my raw milk. I save it to make homemade ice cream. What I have noticed is that the milk keeps longer with less cream.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Fresh Milk! Part 1: Why Raw Milk is Better than Pasteurized « Health, Home, & Happiness

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  • shelley

    I just wanted to thank you for sharing your source for your raw milk. We are now purchasing from Beth/Dennis as well and we’re loving it!

    Thanks again!!!

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Christina

    Milk freezes well, including our raw milk, which we’ve been using (and loving!) for a year or more. If you have concerns about long commutes to purchase it, you could try fewer trips but buying more at one time and freezing some of it when you first get it.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Reagan @ House of Collums

    Thank you for such a great break down on the what’s and why’s of milk! We switched to rBST free organic milk a few months ago, but have recently found a local dairy that produces low temp. pasteurized, unhomogenized milk from grassfed cows and I’m super excited! At $5 a gallon it’s even cheaper than the organic milk we were buying before!

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Heather

    Wow, wow, WOW! So blessed to pay just $3/gallon here! We live 2 miles down the road from the farm and the kids LOVE going to see the cows, horses, pigs, chickens, rabbits, sheep, goats and alpacas. It’s a great experience, all around.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Therese - Artistta

    Great post Katie. It gives me greater inspiration in the one I’m working on about this subject. I too have sometimes wondered about my decision when I do a milk pick-up that’s take at least half of my day to do, especially when I have grumpy kids in the car. On the other hand, I LOVE that my kids get to see where there food comes from. We get wonderful raw milk where we live and I am beyond thankful the Lord that He has made this wonderful food available to our family. Raw milk is nothing to be scared of, but you must be wise in who you purchase from and make sure you get to know your farmer and their practices. If people had been doing that from the beginning, pasteurization may have been avoided from the beginning when all the problems started in the 1900′s.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • How to Make Yogurt — Eating Rules

    [...] add powdered milk, which seems a little #processed for this challenge. You could always just grab raw milk straight from the cows!)Candy thermometer, but I can show you how to do it without one tooPot [...]

  • How to Make Yogurt — Eating Rules

    [...] add powdered milk, which seems a little #processed for this challenge. You could always just grab raw milk straight from the cows!)Candy thermometer, but I can show you how to do it without one tooPot [...]

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    [...] for flame retardants in children’s sleepwear, which takes away my free choice, and raw milk being illegal to sell in Michigan, which I can at least work [...]

  • Carolyn

    I know this is an old post, but …
    any thoughts on drinking almond milk instead? Assuming it’s too heavily processed for you?
    Thanks!!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Carolyn,
    Sorry I took so long to answer! Almond milk in stores does have a ton of additives, unfortunately, and almost no fat, which is a bummer. If my kids had a dairy sensitivity, though, I’d try my hand at making my own (it sounds easy) and also use coconut milk for various purposes. :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Unprocessed October 2012 Challenge!!! « Purplethermia

    [...] add powdered milk, which seems a little #processed for this challenge. You could always just grab raw milk straight from the [...]

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Welcome!  Meet Katie.

I embrace butter. I make homemade yogurt. I eat traditional real food – plants and animals that God created, not products of plants where food scientists work. Here at Kitchen Stewardship, I share how I strive to be a good steward of my family's nutrition, the environment, and our budget, all without spending every second in the kitchen. Learn more about the mission of KS here.

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