Last week my boyfriend and I headed to a local farm and cheese show. This was a gathering of local dairy farmers and cheese makers, so they could show their products and talk to the local community about local food. I found it pretty interesting, and learned a lot. I am lucky to live in a state where whole, raw, fresh foods are convenient to find as well as important to the community. Obviously there are tons of dairy farms located across upstate New York, and they are a precious resource. (source)
What is Raw milk?
Raw milk is right-from-the-cow milk, it is unprocessed-meaning unpasteurized (heated) , and non-homogenized (suspending fat molecules, so mixture is uniform).
Benefits of Raw Milk:
There are arguments for and against the consumption of raw milk, as with everything, right? According to studies conducted by the British Journal of Nutrition, Raw milk contains numerous components that assist in:
- Killing pathogens in the milk
- Preventing pathogen absorption across the intestinal wall
- Strengthening the Immune System
“Many of these anti-microbial and immune-enhancing components are greatly reduced in effectiveness by pasteurization, and completely destroyed by ultra-pasteurization.”
Arguments against Raw milk:
The biggest argument against the consumption of raw milk is the potential health risk to consuming unpasteurized milk. I will just say this, although raw milk, like any food, can become contaminated and lead to illness, the dangers of raw milk are usually exaggerated. Many claims about the unsafe aspects of raw milk are due to studies and examples from 30-40 years ago. Dairy farmers today can take advantage of many advancements that contribute to a dramatically safer product than was available 30-40 years ago. including pasture grazing, herd testing, effective cleaning systems, refrigeration and easier, significantly less expensive, more accessible and more sophisticated milk and herd disease testing techniques.
Where does your milk come from!?!
Personally, I don’t really even like milk so I rarely drink it. (Even though I should!) One thing I took from the local dairy farmers was a sheet that asked if I knew where my milk was coming from. I realized, even though we live in an area with dairy farms are more common than almost anything else I could be drinking milk from thousands of miles away. That just doesn’t make sense! This sheet explains how to determine where your milk is coming from, just by looking at the first two numbers printed on top of the carton, or jug. For instance, look for 36– in New York!
I also hadn’t thought about buying local cheese, now it makes so much sense, dairy farm-milk-cheese! We sampled many different cheeses from local venues. We also tried a goat cheese- (not my thing, but my boyfriend loved it) I think my favorite part of the evening were the samples from Red Jacket Orchards. They had samples of their all natural, unfiltered, 100% juices. Oh. My. God. Delicious. These juices taste just like biting into a perfectly ripe fruit on a sunshiny afternoon. Haha! Red Jacket’s pamphlet states they are NEVER FROM CONCENTRATE, no sugar, no color, and no flavoring added. The strawberry apple juice was probably the tastiest juice I have ever had!
This was a sign on one of the booths, supporting New York farmers.