1. What is raw milk and what is the milking process? Raw milk, which is also referred to as real milk generally comes from cows that are raised on pasture and when the cow is milked, the milk is not pasteurized/cooked. Be weary of farmers that sell raw milk from cows that are not 100% grass fed as the nutrition of the cow and the milk that cow produces, declines. To learn more about raw milk visit www.realmilk.com and to learn about why 100% grassfed is best, go to www.eatwild.com. Our dairy cows are grass fed/grass finished and are rotated on a daily basis to fresh pasture. The milk process includes the following:
1) 7 gallon stainless steel milk bucket and milk machine is prepped for milking.
2) stainless steel milk bucket is covered with ice to be able to cool the milk temperature as fast as possible to ensure that the milk exceeds grade A milk standards. Grade A milk standards requires that milk must be brought down to room temperature within 30 minutes of extraction. The ice acts as a rapid cooling agent for the our milk.
3) Milk stall is prepped for the first cow and alfalfa pellets are added to the feeder.
4) Greet the cows with ample TLC (tender love and care) and check over the health of the cow by acute observation as well as feel out the cows emotional state before milking--we are looking for any signs of stress or health issues and to see how the cow is feeling any given morning.
5) The cows are brought up to the milk stall, the location of the milking stall may change week to week depending on where the cows are grazing in any given spot on the farm. We have an entirely portable system.
Milking: As each cow enters the milk stall, the following takes place:
1) The cow is secured into the free standing milk stall to ensure safety of the cow and farmer.
2) The teats are wiped down with a sterilized teat wipe.
3) The automatic milker is attached to the udders and milking commences.
4) Once milk has been extracted into a stainless steel milk pale, the cow is let out of the milk stall.
5) Alfalfa pellets are added for the next cow.
NOTE: This process is repeated until all cows have completed milking.
Bottling: We use an open air bottling method
1) Milk pale is taking out of the ice bin.
2) Top is taken off the stainless steel milk pale and placed in the deep sink for washing and sterilization.
3) Milk is poured into the quadruple layer straining filter which strains the milk into a sterilized bottling bucket.
4) Milk is bottled into sterilized glass jars and immediately put into a stand up freezer for 90 minutes. after the 90 minutes in the freezer, the milk is moved to a refrigerator set at 35 degrees F.
Milk equipment cleaning is all hand washed with different brushes and an organic cleaner is used to thoroughly wash and sterilize all milking pieces and hoses. The equipment is then air dried. After drying, the milking equipment is reassembled and prepared for the following milking session.
Final Note: Our cows are all A1/A2 and we have a variety of Jerseys, Milking Devons, Short Horns and Dexters.
2. How long is raw milk good for? Our milk is generally good for at least 10 days if kept cold. However, if it gets warm it will sour. Sour milk is actually good for you but the taste buds do not like it because we are no longer accustomed to drinking it sour since the invention of refrigeration. We sell milk that is 5 days or less old from the date it was bottled. Some customers enjoy drinking the milk for up to 20 days. If the milk is past the 5 day bottle date, it does not mean there is anything wrong with it. On the contrary, it actually continues to grow healthy bacteria. If your milk does not last at least 5 days from when you purchased it, please let us know.
3. Can I return the glass for a store credit? We bottle all dairy products in glass and accept returned glass for a credit (Pint/Quart: $0.50 credit; Half Gallon: $1.00/credit & Gallon $2.00 credit --towards your next order.
4. What if I am lactose intolerant? We have had many customers state that they are lactose intolerant and then drink raw milk and have no problems. It all depends on the person. We would recommend that you try it in a small dose and see how it works out for you. Generally, when milk is not pasteurized it allows for more healthy bacteria to be present in the body which interacts with the lactose in the milk in a way that it can be more easily broken down which causes less unwanted side effects for those with lactose sensitivities.
5. What is better about grass fed cows vs. grain fed/finished cows? Many times farmers say that they use grain to finish the cow so that the meat marbles more nicely. We do not agree with that at all. The main reason that grain is used during the life of the cow and/or at the end of their life prior to going to the butcher is simply to fatten them up more quickly. However, in doing this it hurts the cow and reduces the number of nutrients available in the meat. We do not want to just produce large volumes of milk and beef, we want to produce the most nutrient-dense food possible. Grass-fed meats contain more antioxidants, omega 3-s, CLA and trace minerals and vitamins than grain fed beef. For more info go to www.eatwild.com. Our beef cows are grass-fed/grass finished and are rotated on a daily basis to fresh pasture.
6. What does forest-fed pork mean? We start our pigs on the pasture for the first month of their life but then they spend the rest of their life in the woods in 1-5 acre paddocks. The pigs are moved to new paddocks every 3-7 days. This not only allows them the opportunity to forage for nutrient dense wild plants, roots, shrubs. etc. but it also ensures that the land is protected and not overgrazed. This greatly adds to the flavor and nutrition of the meat. Try our pork and see if you don't believe that it tastes better than any of the competition around.
7. What does free-range really mean for our farm? Our egg laying chickens for example roam free and can leave if they wish, they are not in a pen or confined. They get fresh air and sunshine, what a concept! Confinement chickens are penned inside all day every day without these things. Come visit the farm and see if what we do suits you. It is a great idea to go see where your food comes from whether us or another farm. Most of what you buy even at the health food store you will not buy if you visit the farms!
8. What is Non-GMO Verified feed? Non-GMO verified feed has been evaluated and approved as part of the Non-GMO Project. This feed is used 100% for our pigss and egg layers. To learn more about what this seal means visit: http://www.