From the time I was a little girl, I remember drinking milk. Milk on my cereal, a glass of milk with my dinner, and of course milk with a chocolate chip cookie However, the only milk I knew existed came from the grocery store, and came in whole, 2%, 1%, or skim. Our family settled into 1%, so that’s what I drank. But raw milk? Never heard of it. In fact, I didn’t hear the term “raw milk” until a few years ago.
For those that aren’t familiar with raw milk, it’s unpasteurized milk. Or simply, milk straight out of the cow. When you take the gallon out of the fridge you will notice it has “settled” or separated, and the higher fat content has moved to the surface. We shake ours every time we pour it to distribute the fat. The benefit you get from having it raw as opposed to pasteurized is that it retains all of its nutritional content due to minimal processing.
Back to when I first learned about raw milk. Graham was about 15 months old and had been on cow’s milk for 3 months (he weaned from breastfeeding around a year old). He had developed a bit of a chronic cough. He wasn’t sick, but he was constantly clearing his throat like he had post-nasal drip. It went on for months. Again, he acted fine and it didn’t seem to hold him back, but Nathan and I noticed it. Around that time my brother-in-law introduced Nathan to raw milk. He was trying to gain weight, and according to Kyle this would be a good protein and fat source. In the beginning Nathan was the only one who drank it. I was concerned that it could cause Graham to get sick, and I shied away for the same reason. But Nathan thrived on it, and proclaimed he would never drink “grocery store milk” again.
It took a few months, but I finally agreed to let Graham try it. He started drinking a sippy cup of it each day, and seemed to be none the wiser that anything had changed. More importantly, he never got sick. I eventually started drinking it as well, and the next thing we knew we were no longer buying milk from the grocery store. And a few months after we transitioned Graham to raw milk, we noticed his chronic cough/throat clearing had gone away. He is now 5 years old, drinks exclusively raw milk, and doesn’t suffer from this any more. And when Reagan weaned from breast feeding, there wasn’t a question in my mind that she would start on raw milk. In fact, she’s rarely had any “grocery store milk” in her life, and when she tries it she says she doesn’t like it.
So the question you all probably have is where we get it (at least my New Jersey readers are probably wondering this). Well, raw milk is legal to sell in some states and illegal in others. Unfortunately, New Jersey is one of the states where you can’t purchase raw milk. Luckily for us, selling raw milk is legal in Pennsylvania, and we discovered Birchwood Dairy that is only about a 35 minute drive from our house. Another benefit of raw milk is that it can be frozen. So this Saturday our family made our bi-monthly trip to Birchwood Dairy to stock up on milk. We bought 18 gallons, which will last us about 9 weeks (yes, we drink 2 gallons of milk a week!) When we are running low on the gallon in the fridge, we simply take out a frozen gallon and put it on the counter to defrost. It takes about 12-16 hours depending on the time of year. Just make sure to give it a good shake to really distribute everything! Another amazing thing is the price. We pay $8/gallon, and it’s organic and from grass-only fed cows. The price of a half gallon of organic milk at Walmart is $4.25.
So this is our family’s experience and why we choose to drink raw milk. Any other raw milk drinkers out there? Where do you buy yours?