So, we finally got our raw milk and it's really good! Thicker, and a little sweeter. I haven't given any to McKenna yet - guess it will take awhile to work through that fear that she'll drop dead the instant she has some. I'm not planning to give her any of this batch, anyway. I probably won't get anymore milk from this girl at the Karcher ranch market, either. Her mom has their cows on hay year round and I'm really looking for cows that are on pasture a good part of the time. I may have been given incorrect information about cows milk being legal to sell in Idaho. Another source I've found says it's actually illegal to sell and only people that own their owns cows can drink the milk. Although, I've yet to find any info anywhere that says I'd be arrested for being caught red-handed with a raw milk mustache! lol
Anyway, I've found a herdshare in Caldwell that looks affordable and sounds as though it may be what we're looking for. The Jersey cows are on pasture part of the time and get good hay in the winter months. There's 3 of them right now and the owner is a home-schooling mom who's interests (according to her web page) seem to be aligned with mine. It costs $25. for start-up and then $10.76 a month for milk (which is about what we pay now) ranging from a quart to a gallon per week depending on production.
I am interested in possibly making my own cheese, butter and yogurt if we sign up for this. I recently read "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver and it was basically about subsistence farming... the family tried an experiment to eat only what they could produce on their farm for one year, or to buy locally if they absolutely had to. The book really opened my eyes to whats happening with our food supply in this country, from the billions of dollars spent on pesticides to the loss of top soil. I came across a statistic that said that currently the typical 4 person family needs about 4 acres of land in order to survive, and that by 2020 there will only be about .6 acres per family. In my opinion, the more I can do to buy locally from farmers that are using organic practices, the better! The foods yummier, too!
Another thing I came across is a study that showed that currently our milk, pre-pasteurization has lots of bacteria in it, including salmonella, listeria and e-coli, but because we pasteurize the milk, the corporations running these huge dairy operations don't bother with cleanliness. They also give their cows antibiotics on a regular basis so that they don't get sick in these conditions. On the other end of the spectrum, an organic dairy farm in California, I believe (I'll have to find the link to the article!) tested their milk, every batch that went through, and found no traces of these harmful bacteria in their milk. Their cows were fed properly, got lots of sunshine and fresh air and green grass and the people milking were careful to keep everything very clean and the milk properly stored at the right temperature. From what I understand raw milk does contain e.coli, but it's normally a benign microorganism. The most likely source of the new strains of virulent E. coli is genetically engineered soy, fed to cows in large commercial dairies. If there is any type of milk likely to harbor these virulent breeds, it is commercial pasteurized milk.
Time to go... McKenna's down for quiet time and I think I'll take a nap too!