Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Raw Local Milk


Welcome to the August 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Farmer's Markets

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about something new they've learned about their local farmers.

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I've been wanting to take my kids out to the dairy. I know we have 2 or 3 in the surrounding towns, I've been to 2 of them. There is a dairy that sells at one of the Farmers Markets, too. We went to the one I know has been around forever: Swan Brothers Dairy.


We loaded the family into the truck and drove the 30 minutes and 3 towns over. I had checked in advance for the best time to see cows being milked. They milk their cows twice daily.

The window to see 5 cows being milked had a horrible reflection, so it was hard to see much. Sasha fell in love with a little wooden cow outside, though. We got to pick up a gallon of raw, whole milk (only about 40¢ more than what we buy at the supermarket!) and a bag of cheddar cheese curds. The cheese curds are sooo good! I was excited to share the experience with my girls.

Sasha's Wooden Cow Hugs - Born at Home ToysSasha hugging the wooden cow with her little wooden Born at Home Toys cow.

Swan Brothers Dairy had its beginning in 1923 and is still in the same family. Their cows are allowed to exercise and graze pasture every day of the year, which helps maintain their health. The cows are not given hormones (to increase milk production) and their pastures are not sprayed for weeds.

I love knowing that the milk goes directly from the cow, to a tank cooler, then into bottles. Nothing is added or taken away from the milk... its just pure.

My girls love the cheese curds. We snacked on them on the way home. If you're not familiar with cheese curds, they aren't like cottage cheese. They are chunks of cheese, plenty solid and not liquidy at all. My husband doesn't taste a difference in the milk. I think if we switched to it, then tried the cheaper stuff from the store, he would notice the difference.


I also love the small town feel of their little retail space. During planting season, they also sell tomato plants outside. They have a rack of other local food products (spices, preserves, etc). I'd like to shop there more often, except for the long drive. You can often find someone from town going that is willing to pick up extra milk.

Have you ever visited or toured a dairy? Do you have a dairy near you?



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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

18 comments:

  1. The dairies around here are pretty industrialized, even the "big name" one that sells their relatively untouched milk in glass jars. I'd love to take my kiddos to see the cows, but Liam is currently terrified of cows :)

    As a child, I remember my mom visiting a farm on the edge of town and picking up raw milk to make yogurt. The farm eventually went bust and the buildings were torn down last month to make way for the every increasing surge of businesses that need a fancy home.

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    1. That is sad. We have a few that I didn't know about for a while... maybe there is one hidden in a rural suburb and you're unaware? ;-)

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  2. Both my parents grew up on dairy farms and we often visited my mom's family farm when I was a child (the farm I grew up on is no longer a diary, the dairy barn burned down in the 70's). We used to love to visit my grandfather and uncle as they milked cows in the barn, and my uncle still swears that cows give more milk when country music is playing. My grandma pasteurized the milk on the wood stove, so while it was pasteurized it was very low-tech and not homogenized. We still visit a lot now but they've transformed into a horse stable (follow the money to keep the farm alive...)

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    1. Kinda sad, that. Cool to have farming in the family, though. My mother's mother's father raised cattle in Texas. I visited his farm.

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  3. Both my parents grew up on dairy farms and we often visited my mom's family farm when I was a child (the farm I grew up on is no longer a diary, the dairy barn burned down in the 70's). We used to love to visit my grandfather and uncle as they milked cows in the barn, and my uncle still swears that cows give more milk when country music is playing. My grandma pasteurized the milk on the wood stove, so while it was pasteurized it was very low-tech and not homogenized. We still visit a lot now but they've transformed into a horse stable (follow the money to keep the farm alive...)

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  4. We don't have a dairy near us but the farmer we buy our meat from does sell raw milk! It's on my list of things to try : )

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    1. Do they get it from further away or they just sell a little from their own cattle?

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  5. I lurve cheese curds. We've visited Shatto Dairy near KC, it was great! Kieran and I got to milk a cow, we tasted lots of flavors of milk, it was so much fun. Hopefully someday we can go back :)

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    1. I'd love to take all my kids to try their hand (and mine) at milking a cow! Swan hooks 5 cows to automatic milking machines at a time.

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  6. There is a dairy that sells raw milk, but at almost an hour's drive, I've been postponing going. But I have heard so many positive things about raw milk. Thanks for inspiring me to make the trek. Oh, and I love cheese curds! We've missed them so much since moving away from Wisconsin, where they fry their curds. Mmmm.

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    1. Take a cooler! lol You might be able to create a coop of people willing to rotate who drives and brings milk back. Otherwise, you might at least be able to find people willing to pitch in for gas if you bring back milk for them. My mom used to participate in a group like that and I've already had a local friend offer to include me in such a group that goes to Swan!

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  7. We have just discovered a farm near us who are selling raw milk from the farm, I need to contact them to arrange a visit. I remember drinking it as a child and it tastes good.

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  8. We switched to raw milk for several months just before we discovered mine and my son's milk allergies. Amazingly, it was the first milk that I didn't completely love. I think that drinking it in its natural state really allowed my body to recognize that it didn't work for me. We still love checking out the cows, though. We are currently living next door to a heard of black Angus cattle and it has been so much fun watching the new babies this summer!

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    1. What a bummer on the allergy. I wonder if we'd notice a difference over time.

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  9. I love raw milk! though I've never had cheese curds; probably my next google lol. Kellie.. was it a taste thing or a reaction thing that you had with the raw milk? if it was just a taste thing it might have had something to do with what the cows had eaten. I've noticed that taste can be very different from farm to farm and season tick season

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  10. I want to visit a dairy now! I love the touch of Sasha bringing her Born at Home cow on the visit. :)

    I love cheese curds. There's a cheesemonger at the Public Market here that makes the most delicious herbed curds. I love getting a tub to munch from.

    We can get raw milk from the natural foods store, but it's way more expensive than even just the usual organic milk there, and a lot more than the organic milk we get at the regular grocery store. I really wanted to switch to raw, but Sam was unconvinced of the benefits … and was discouraged that it kept going bad! That's what lack of pasteurization will do, I suppose. So I'd love to find a local dairy where I could get raw milk cheaper, but we'd probably have to buy in bulk to make the drive worth it, and then we'd have to drink fast. Hey, maybe joining or forming a raw milk co-op would work better!

    All right, that was my novel of a comment. ;) Thanks for sharing your visit with us!

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