What is “Fresh” Milk Anyway?

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist February 1, 2012

So there I was, out in the middle of nowhere, driving home after picking up eggs from my local farmer the other day, when what should pull out in front of me but the huge milk tanker truck pictured to the right.

The interesting thing is that most folks wouldn’t think twice about the big fat lie plastered on the back of that milk tanker.

Is it possible for fresh milk to come out of a tanker truck?  I don’t think so!

My dear uncle would turn over in his grave if he saw the message on that truck.  You see, my Uncle Harry was a small dairy farmer from Frewsburg, New York just a few miles down the road from Chautauqua where my family spent the summer each year while I was growing up.

My first experience with fresh, raw milk was at my uncle’s farm where I would drive out as a teenager to visit on weekends.  I would ride his palomino horse for hours all over the beautiful, rolling pastures and then come in for lunch or dinner.

There was always a big stainless steel pitcher of cold, raw milk on the dining room table during meals and my aunt and uncle would try and coax me to drink some.  I was tentative about it as I’d been warned that “raw milk was dangerous” and not to drink any.

But, seeing his peaceful, healthy cows grazing in the pasture, I found that somehow hard to believe.

I never did try my uncle’s raw milk, but I truly wish I had.  I’m sure it was delicious.

Now a veteran of raw milk drinking from numerous farms for over 10 years, I feel like I am somehow honoring my uncle’s legacy by supporting the small dairy farms in my community and spending my dairy dollars locally.

Sadly, like thousands of small dairy farms across America, my uncle’s farm is no more.  It pains me to know that I can never take my children there to see it like it used to be.

But, I can help educate people about the wonders of raw milk from cows grazing on green grass and how this food is so very safe to consume – light years safer than factory treated, tanker truck milk headed to grocery store shelves around the country!   Grassfed raw milk is life giving, nutrient dense, and exactly what children need to grow up sturdy and strong.

This seems a timely topic to write about given that my local farmer’s rye grass is coming in strong in the pastures right now and the raw butter is turning deep yellow as the cows transition off of the hay winter ration.  My family’s favorite raw butter of the year!

One thing is for sure – there’s no way my kids will ever be drinking any phony fresh milk from a tanker truck in all its pasteurized, homogenized, antibiotic, steroid, and hormone laced, GMO glory.

No, my kids will be drinking clean, raw milk from a small farm such as what my aunt and uncle proudly owned.

And, it will be fresh from the cow, not phony “fresh” from a truck!

 

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

 

Comments (67)

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    Reply
  2. Ana Maria Sierra June 20, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    I have raw milk in the fridge but I am scared of drinking it straight. Should I just go for it/ My parents would killl me if I got sick for drinking raw milk.

    Reply
  3. What about for “pet consumption”, Michelle? That’s how our state gets around the ridiculous laws. I’m really glad you found eggs! I would maybe ask the egg person, or check out the realmilk website anyway, just in case. Or browse the Weston A. Price magazine. Mail order sources in there (as well as the realmilk site). I think you might be surprised.

    Reply
  4. Michelle Rogan via Facebook February 7, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Marilyn, the sale of raw milk for consumption by humans in my state is illegal. I am not sure if there are any loopholes. i have, however found fresh eggs! I was so happy to find someone in my community with chickens :)

    Reply
  5. Kelly Marie Eckert via Facebook February 7, 2012 at 7:46 am

    We have NO way of getting raw milk..we are in Germany where it is insanely illegal.. you can’t even buy it for pets here… we miss it and our stomachs totally don’t like pasteurized milk.

    Reply
  6. Rayhana Umm Ayman via Facebook February 6, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    it’s almost impossible for me to get raw milk here, unless I have my own cow, which is also impossible. someone i asked said that keeping it ‘clean’ would be a problem. and that if the cows are ill, they do feed antibiotics.

    Reply
  7. We’ve been drinking raw milk for a couple years and like it. However, the farmer that we now get it from (as of last year-because of location) apparently uses GMO grain to supplement the cows diets.
    Is this common? How do I find out for sure if what other farms feed their cows? I don’t want GMO obviously. I would prefer any grain supplements to be free of soy and corn, too (especially soy).

    Reply
  8. Timely post having just returned from a week in Costa Rica where I was stuck giving my 19 month old nasty boxed, un-refrigerated “milk”. Had we been there longer I’m sure I could have found a source of the good stuff, but for now, the regular (we do buy organic) grocery store stuff sure is tasting good!

    Reply
  9. We drink raw milk and will never stop doing so. A year or so ago, my daughter and I were out and we wanted to stop and get something to drink. She ended up asking for milk and I told her I hated to buy her that stuff but I’d do so anyway. After one sip she told me it was awful and she couldn’t drink it. I gladly dropped it in the trash. Yuck. She said the taste was terrible…..and that was the “fresh” stuff.

    I grew up in New Orleans and spent a few summers in Chautauqua too. Such a beautiful place and so peaceful. When we were there, I was allowed to go freely wherever I pleased. I still have the fondest memories of the place. My mother and I have discussed going back for a reunion with others who were there at the time. Thank you for such a lovely memory.

    Reply
  10. Becki Miller via Facebook February 6, 2012 at 11:32 am

    fresh is right out of one of my goats, or from the neighbors cow down the road, still warm when I put it in the fridge! :)

    Reply
  11. Also the milk man used to collect the vegetable wastes[ banana skin,skins of vegetables leaves,etc] from each house and used to feed the cows.Nothing went waste there.We hardly had any plastic or any thing to recycle.At the most it was news papers.We take bath from the water that is boiled in traditional huge heavy copper metal vessel.My skin and hair never felt better!I could go on!

    Reply
  12. I am from India and I grew up with fresh milk from the cow in the morning and evening right at our door step.Fresh vegetable vendors come door to door to sell their weeks freshly grown vegetables and fruits.They still do!
    I got married came to USA.I was excited to see all those foods in the refigerators in big grocery store!All under one roof!!LOL!!!AMerica is really advanced !Back in india thats what everyone thinks.But years passed I started getting migraines,mood swings and irrtable…I had no clue that the food what we ate is the root cause.
    I my older son never drank milk for 3-4 yrs..I was so worried.I was pushing him hard to drink milk.I thought something was wrong with him.I didnt know the concept of organic then.We always thought that whatever we get from the can or the store is the HOLY NECTAR!!!LOL.
    Whenever I visited my family in India,my son drank the milk,I used to feel good.
    My innocent mom used to think that in america, evrything is fresh..Only after visiting here did she realise.

    Its so hard to fresh raw milk.for me in Jacksonville ,Fl.
    Everything is regulated.People and the little kids are deprived of healthy food.
    I really appreciate your efforts Sarah!!!
    An eye opener!

    Reply
  13. I live in Rwanda currently, where there are three milk options, uncooked (“fresh” milk), pasturized/packaged milk (which the seller calls “fresh”) and UHT milk (Ultra Heat Treated, which gets called “long life milk”). Yeah, that’s pretty popular here due to lack of refrigeration. Do you know they even sell UHT/shelf stable yogurt?? Yuck. My husband tried it once & said it had a wierd texture. Yeah, I imagine! We don’t drink our milk raw here due to concerns about procedures and sanitation, but I much prefer my own gently cooked milk to the “fake” milk at the store.

    Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Here’s the reality .. even in the remote chance it was the raw milk, would I stop drinking it or giving it to my kids? No. The fact is that food borne illness is much more likely with other foods even pasteurized milk. Not to say that no one will ever get sick from raw milk, but the likelihood is so much smaller than it is painted out to be by the gov’t.
      Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist\’s last post: What is “Fresh” Milk Anyway?

      Reply
  14. This morning, my 6 year old granddaughter hand-milked my Jersey cow all by herself! ( A gallon and a half!) You KNOW how proud I am! Her mother had consumed raw milk all through pregnancy and breast-feeding and my granddaughter was weaned onto it.

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  15. Sarah, I’ve been following this discussion for months now, and my only concern is that there was a story in San Diego recently about children getting sick from raw milk. I didn’t pay a lot of attention, so I don’t have the details, but maybe you do? I know you talk about this being safe.
    Thanks,
    Melinda

    Reply
  16. Hi Sarah – I only came across your site last week. I can’t even remember what I was “googling” at the time, something about healthy cooking I think. I’m embarrassed to say I knew nothing about the traditional cooking movement – and I’m currently studying to be a home ec teacher! I’m overwhelmed by all the information, but very excited. I’m starting with some small changes. I’ve been looking for local organic food suppliers and there are quite a few. I haven’t found raw milk yet, but I did find non-homgenised bio-dynamic organic milk from a local farm here in Adelaide Australia. My children were amazed by the thick layer of cream at the top – I told them that’s how milk was when I was their age. Thank you for providing so much good information on food and nutrition. So many things I’ve read here are what my Mum and grandparents used to do, for instance – soaking oats overnight before making porridge. Now I know why & will go back to doing that.

    Reply
  17. I love my raw milk. I love supporting a farmer, I love that my raw milk is cheaper than the “lightly pasteurized grass fed milk” from the store (and tastes so much better, and doesn’t upset my body.). I like that I have a local drop off to get my milk, and I wish that it was more available to others.
    AmandaLP\’s last post: Fermented Food Challenge

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  18. I started searching for REAL fresh (raw) milk almost 4 years ago, when my son was a few months old. I had stumbled up the WAPF website while researching vaccinations. It took me a year to find it! While researching another product, I happened to click on a “where to buy” link. You can imagine my shock when I found a local organic delivery service that delivers raw milk (from a local Amish farm) every week, right to my door! How lucky am I?! Needless to say, we’ve been enjoying farm fresh raw milk ever since. It is AWESOME stuff! If it was no longer available to us, we wouldn’t drink milk. I will never feed that swill from the tanker trucks to my family again.

    I love supporting my raw dairy farmer, who in the last year lost his contract with Organic Valley for refusing to stop selling raw milk. I no longer purchase Organic Valley products, and I am SO THANKFUL he made that decision. I also happily support the organic delivery service that makes the raw milk, and many other wonderful foods (pastured eggs, raw cream, pastured and grass fed meats, etc.), so easily available to us.

    If you’re searching for a raw milk source, don’t give up! You may just stumble upon it in an unlikely way.

    Reply
  19. Thanks, Miss Sarah, for sharing bits of your childhood’s “soft” memories. I enjoy your blog so much and am learning as fast as I can.

    I love telling people that I’m using “RAW ” milk. Sometimes the message passes as though I had whispered the comment into a whirling dust devil, and other times they ask, “Where do you get the raw milk?” I really must make up some business cards to pass out.

    The location of the milk drop is a small Co-Op that normally is in a person’s garage, but now it is on the run, so to speak. It is legal in Texas to sell raw milk and home made foods etc. This particular home does not make any money from the sale of the milk, it’s a drop off location only, the town’s buildings/inspections office is now harassing the Co-Op, not the health department. The Farm to Consumer Legal Defense is helping the Co-Op; in the meant time others offer milk ports in the storm.

    I love this county’s spirit to succeed. We are like a bunch of teenagers that are told we can’t do something, and the reply is, often under our breaths, “Watch ME!”! Sometimes, this is a good thing.

    Reply
      • There are several raw milk dairies in the DFW area. Check localharvest.org for starters. To be legal in Texas, raw milk has to be bought straight off the farm. Texas Daily Harvest is low-temp pasteurized (not raw, although they do have some raw cheese products I think), non-homogenized, and they will deliver to you all over the greater DFW area.

        Reply
  20. Sarah, I want to thank you for all the time you take in education. Fresh from the cow is the safest milk, especially if you know and trust the farmer. Shoot, I would drink it even if I did not know my farmer because I would never drink it any other way. But, thank goodness we do know our small farmers and trust them so! What could be better than the anticipation of the rye grass coming in and knowing how yellow our butter will be along with the cream-colored milk! Mother Nature at her finest! Thanks to all of you!

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  21. Boy, that is definitely deceptive marketing. There’s nothing fresh about milk in those trucks! But, many people believe it and don’t question the validity of such a statement. Many people have never been on a farm or even know that raw milk exists. It’s really sad. Many other things in the store are labeled as “fresh” and “natural” and it really isn’t so.

    I’m very grateful that I am learning how to eat healthy and that my children are growing up on traditional foods. We’re not always perfect, but we try hard to eat well. I grew up on the Standard American Diet. One day, we went to the store to buy some regular, bleached sugar from the bulk bins. I am pleased to say that my kids had no idea what it was! :) My kids drink milk with cream on top, soaked oats, kefir, and eat coconut flour baked goods (my son takes his lunch to school and other kids constantly ask him what he’s eating. He loves telling them about it!

    Thank you for the article!
    Beth Stowers\’s last post: Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

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  22. Has anyone seen that new milk ad that lies “Real milk doesn’t need to be shaken!” Are they trying to make people forget that real (raw) milk usually IS shaken because the cream has separated?! Real milk is not homogenized! I fight back against these lies in my own way… I just published a book called “Bye bye IBS ! The Natural Irritable Bowel Syndrome Cure” in which I tell all my readers not to drink pasteurized milk or cheese! :o)

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  23. Thank you for being an advocate for raw milk, Sarah. I grew up on a small farm and drank lots of raw milk. We were rarely sick, had very few cavities and never needed braces. I have a question, though. A friend of mine is also on board with raw milk, but stated in passing that he couldn’t afford it. He is a young man with 3 young children. Would kefiring “dead” milk be an option for him to make it beneficial again? Thank you in advance!

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  24. We are raw milk drinkers and like you, when I first went to my husband’s family farm, I just couldn’t drink the milk raw even though they’d all grown up on it (and never got sick!). But they produced for those trucks that would carry it off to be pasteurized, etc. These cows graze in the fields too in Pennsylvania and so you wouldn’t know they weren’t happy if you saw them. Except that you didn’t see the shortened life span and the corpses that appeared now and then by the side of the barn. And then when rGBH was introduced, it tore the farm apart with fighting over that third late night milking shift… lawyers, everything… it was horrible. I refused to drink regular store milk after this hormone was introduced, especially after my children were born. They are some of the few kids left with a normal age puberty (13-14) while other kids, especially girls, were starting their periods and getting underarm hair when they were 10 and 11 years old or sooner. Our pediatricians have always pushed low fat milk, but my kids knowingly ignore their advice in the office. My fear is relocating to a state where I can’t easily get raw milk!

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  25. Living in Texas is a challenge to get true Raw Milk and it is hard on the pocket book as well. To get the milk I have to drive a hour out of my way home and it is 3 times more expensive than the store stuff. I understand it is more because less is sold but when you go through 2 gallons or more a day on a one person income it adds up quick. I do try to get it every chance I get though.

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  26. Sounds amazing, Sarah! It’s ironic how Big Food tries to claim raw food producers are making “false” statements yet they make the most deceptive statements of all. The milk in that tank has no nutrients in it but is no more than processed chemical garbage.

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  27. Sarah,
    What exactly is the process of getting the raw milk, from the cow? I always wonder about cleanliness, storage, how long it lasts, etc.?
    Thanks.
    Elita

    Reply
  28. Ha! That “drink Florida fresh milk” sign emblazoned on the tanker truck of subsidized cow pus reminds me of a label I saw on some ground beef at a conventional grocery store yesterday. It said in large print “pasture raised” and in small print that it was partly raised on pasture and then fed grain, corn, soy, etc. — so in other words nothing better than CAFO meat. In both cases, it’s deliberate marketing deception and a classic case of stealing terminology from the competition to make the product seem more appealing and hopefully maintain market dominance.

    Reply
    • It’s the same story with “Florida Fresh Orange Juice”. Orange juice which can sit on a store shelf for upwards of 3-4 weeks without spoiling is not “fresh” by any means. There’s an article at WAPF about how orange juice (unless you actually make it yourself) is ALL processed junk.

      So, it’s not just milk. Us real foodies have had to fight the system as far back as I can remember. In the 70′s when my first two babies were born, I tried to educate other young Mom’s about making their own baby foods (we only had blenders back then, not all the fancy gear they have now, which is really no more effective, just more expensive) – but you shoulda seen their faces go aghast when I mentioned egg yolks and pureed meats and raw goat milk. It was hysterical. But I learned about those things from my Mom and my two gramma’s and it was the best advice I could ever hope to have gotten. My doctor at the time didn’t ask what I was feeding them, so I didn’t tell him either. When my oldest was around age 2 he finally asked, and I hesitated but decided to tell him anyhow. He grinned and said his wife was from Austria and that’s what they fed their kids, too. I guess maybe he recognized the difference between my daughter and how sturdy she was compared to the other sickly kids he saw on a daily basis. We only went to his office when we were in town, because we lived out on a farm 75 miles from the nearest town so we pretty much took care of ourselves. When we were done with our “visit”, the doc put his finger up to his lips as though to say “shhhh”. We each winked at one another knowingly. He, I’m sure, would loved to have given that information to other mom’s who were his clients, but even back then he probably would have had his license yanked or whatever they do to doctors who don’t follow the status quo. What a shame, huh?

      Reply
  29. My grandfather started milking his cows at three int he morning. By five in the morning, he was driving that milk to his customers, leaving the bottles they ordered on their doorsteps.

    In those days, “fresh milk” meant it was taken from the cow the same day it was delivered to the customers.

    I have to laugh when I see huge tanker trucks full of stored milk that has had most of the nutrients heated out of it, with the word “fresh”. on the side.
    Stanley Fishman\’s last post: Grassfed Ranchers and the Lean Meat Drug

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  30. Sherri, thanks for your comment about giving two hours round trip. I have been feeling sorry for mussels for having to drive that far here in Virginia. I will now start being thankful that raw milk is even available to us. I have been getting raw milk for six months and feel so much better driving by the actual cows we are getting milk from for our family.

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  31. I’m in Texas and I feel very fortunate that I am able to make a two hour round trip to buy raw milk from a dairy farm. It’s always worth it.

    I’m hoping that soon we can buy it in the stores.

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  32. I would love for this to be an option for our family but living in Ontario Canada it not an option. If you know of any loop holes please share :) Otherwise we continue with what’s available.

    Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Amy, here is a link to the application for Cow Share Canada .. a way for Canadians to obtain access to farm fresh raw milk. This organization is headed up by Michael Schmidt, a raw milk farmer in Ontario. Perhaps this can help you.

      https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http%3A%2F%2Ffoodrightsalliance.ca%2FCowshareCanadaAppl.pdf

      Here is Michael’s blog – a great way to keep up with raw milk happenings: http://thebovine.wordpress.com/
      Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist\’s last post: What is “Fresh” Milk Anyway?

      Reply
        • Amy, I live in Toronto and I have recently become a member of Cow Share Canada. The membership is only $50. The organization helped me find a gentlman who’s bringing milk to To every week.

          Reply
        • Amy, I am also in Ontario, just north of Toronto. There are a few guys doing raw milk, both in the city (one I know of the milk comes from Kingston) and to the West out towards Guelph area. We’re in 45 minutes from the city and 5 minutes off the 400. Our guy is from the Kitchener-ish area and he has a pick up location 5 minutes from our house each week. I know he also goes to Alliston, Barrie and many other locations on the west side of TO. Ask around – word of mouth is the best way to get info. Our guy, I believe, has a waiting list right now, but if you want more info, I can get it for you – I would need your email address though, I won’t post his contact info publicly. I have also heard of someone doing raw milk in the Niagara on the lake area.

          Reply
          • Oh my. Niagara On the Lake. Please let me know who this is. I too am desperate to find some raw milk. Actually there are a few of us here in the area that would really like it. I have access to raw milk, but the question for us is , what are they feeding to the cows because that is as important to us as obtaining it raw. Please email me personally for information that you might have. When I connect with you I can give you my phone number and perhaps we can meet. kimsden@gmail.com

          • Rachel – I’d be eternally grateful if you could email me and let me know who I can get raw milk from in the Kitchener area! I’m going to be in Kitchener for a while visiting family so I would only need to pick it up once or twice. I’m willing to buy a temporary cow share. Without it my stomach troubles return and I become exhausted and bloated. Would like to be feeling 100% while I’m with my family, and I visit Ontario regularly so it would be nice to have a contact for whenever I’m there. :) If I can’t find milk I may just have to buy lots of raw cheese!!
            Jessica\’s last post: Flourless peanut butter cookies

    • Octavian @ Full Fat Nutrition February 2, 2012 at 3:27 pm

      I’m in Kitchener and get my milk from a farmer up in Moorefield. The loophole is that you have to get a cowshare and the milk is then yours. You’re basically paying the farmer for their services and taking care of your cow.
      Octavian @ Full Fat Nutrition\’s last post: Vibram FiveFingers KOMODOSPORT review

      Reply
  33. Folks tell us all the time how “contented” our Jersey girls look our in the pasture grazing on lush grass (…well our weather hasn’t led to the lush green stuff yet…now they’re grazing on the hay cut from our lush grass…) but wouldn’t dare drink a glass. Such a shame. It’s the best milk in the world and the health benefits we’ve seen have been miraculous. We traveled recently because our cows are dry before calving next month. When we would have to eat out and the server asked for our drinks, my boys would ask if they had real milk. I said no and they would get something else. The servers didn’t understand. :)

    Reply

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