Thursday, May 19, 2011

Raw deal

When I was a kid, I was quite the milk drinker.  I had milk at every meal, would even trade my lunch (except the cookies) for other kids' milk, and saw nothing wrong with washing down dill pickles with milk.  I loved milk.

When we lived in Ohio, the milk was delivered to our door by the dairyman.  When we moved to Illinois, we purchased our milk at the grocery store, but it still came from local dairies.  Into adulthood, I continued my milk drinking habit, even when teased about picking milk as my beverage of choice with pizza.

Then milk, especially whole milk, began to get a bad rap.  We switched to 2%, sometimes 1%, but rarely skim because it looked blue.  The funny thing is, even though we are consuming less milk fat, we keep getting fatter.

And milk no longer tastes good.  My theory is that, since milk is no longer produced just for local markets, the milk from multiple dairies is mixed together and trucked long distances to be processed, getting bruised along the way.  Then, it is not only pasteurized but ultra-pasteurized.  That sounds like a good thing until you consider the fact that ultra-pasteurized milk cannot be used to make cheese because the process alters the protein molecules.  Is it even milk anymore?

Some people resolve this issue by trying to purchase raw milk from local sources.  In many states - including mine - selling raw milk is illegal.  One local dairy is attempting to circumnavigate the legalities by selling "herd shares" and accepting "boarding fees" in exchange for raw milk.  It's an intriguing business model.

I don't know what to make of the health benefits touted by those who promote raw milk.  I doubt any scientific studies have been done.  I grow my own vegetables because I believe they are more nutritious than trucked-in-from-far-away, store-bought ones, and I KNOW they taste better.  So I may try raw milk for the taste, and choose to believe that it is better for me.

Anyone out there have any experience with raw milk?


Pat - Arkansas said...

Long ago, and far away (my experience with raw milk). At age 14 or 15, I spent a summer on a ranch in southern Colorado. The owner had several Jersey milk-cows which produced copious amounts of rich milk which produced very thick cream. I was, in those days, almost skin and bones and the rancher decided he would fatten me up. I was served cream on everything that could possibly warrant cream, and thick pats of butter on everything else. I still remember the taste -- DELICIOUS!

I don't know about modern day raw milk; there's always the specter of brucellosis and other bad things. I suppose that why so many states have laws against selling raw milk.

If I owned my own herd of cows and knew for sure that they were disease-free, I would have no qualms about consuming unpastuerized milk products.

Toni said...

Even when we milked our own cows we pasturized the milk. There are just too many possible problems. People freak out if cows are vaccinated, but then expect raw milk to be automatically safe to drink? Not in a million years will I buy into the "raw milk" craze. There's always a new craze, and they're almost always based on fear and no facts.