The health food club. Are you a member? Or is that just for those hair-legged hippy monsters? (as my hippy monster daughter refers to them) I’m not. Not enough discipline. But I’d like to be. So, in an effort to at least say I’ve read the organization’s bylaws, I trotted on over to the neighboring dairy farm and asked if I could try some of their fresh-squeezed milk. J My neighbors, by the way, are Amish (how cool is that?) and willing to give me a sample.
Raw, unpasteurized, un-homogenized milk, according to some, is all but a panacea. Good for everything from asthma to allergies. And it may be true. Most experts agree that it contains beneficial bacteria and enzymes that assist in digestion and studies have shown that it’s often acceptable to individuals who are lactose intolerant.
Of course, the opposing camp warms us that the consumption of raw milk is potentially dangerous. It can carry harmful bacteria such as salmonella, E. coli, and listeria. It is, in fact, illegal to sell raw milk in several states while many others only allow it if it’s purchased on the farm premises.
But in the end none of the facts added up to a hill of beans. Because I LOVE it. It only remotely resembles supermarket milk. It’s not even white. Instead, it’s kind of a mellow yellow. Basically cream really. I had planned to lose a few pounds, kind of a preemptive volley before the eat-everything-you-can holidays begin. But that plan has gone the way of the dodo bird. Although, after the first couple dairy-binging couple of weeks, I finally began skimming off the super-rich top inch or so and using it for cooking. My daughter and I used it to make lefsa…and homemade ice cream, and wild rice soup. The results were belly-bustingly beautiful. I can’t wait to try making my own butter.
Honestly though, it’s the entire experience that’s so rewarding for me. I can look out at the long, sloping pasture behind the red dairy barn and see the cows that produced such deliciousness. They spend their days there, grazing on white clover and timothy grasses. The tall Holsteins, the sweet-faced Jerseys. I swear just seeing them is good for my soul.
I realize, however, that it might not be for everyone. The Amish, after all, aren’t too keen on modern conviences. Like electricity, for example. So there is no refrigeration. I retrieve my bottles from the barn where they’re floating in a tank of cold, but not freezing cold, water. There are no quality guarantees, expiration dates, or drive through pickups.
Just a dozen or so cows that kind of look to me like they’ve won the lottery.
But how about you? Have you tried raw milk? Do you want to? Or is that just for a bunch of hairy-legged hippie monsters?