What would I buy if I didn’t have the privilege of buying raw milk from a local farm? I was thinking about this the other day when I poured myself a glass of milk. Luckily, we have another small local dairy that has pastured cows and they use low temperature pasteurization for their milk, no homogenization. When the cows at the local farm are dry in the winter and I have no raw milk (yes, they’re 100% natural let the cows go dry in the winter), I purchase cream line milk from Hartzler’s Dairy in Wooster, OH. I also love that their milk comes in glass bottles, I return these to the store when I get more milk. It’s not as good as my raw milk, but it’s better than regular old grocery store milk. If I didn’t have this dairy to purchase from I’d probably buy Smith’s milk at the grocery store, they’re a larger dairy, but still fairly small and local. A lot of their milk comes from small local organic farmers, and they sell milk without antibiotics, hormones and other baddies. But I’d use this milk sparingly if ever because it’s pasteurized at high temperatures and homogenized.
You might be wondering why I wouldn’t purchase organic milk instead. All the organic milk available locally is ultra pasteurized and homogenized, neither of which I like. Most of it comes from huge dairies and I don’t know how the cows are treated, I’ve heard bad things about the cows from Horizon Organic. I’d rather not drink milk, than drink grocery store milk. Once you’ve tasted the goodness of raw milk, you’ll never be able to drink regular milk easily again. The cream line milk we get is good, but it still tastes boiled to us. It also lacks the depth of flavor our raw milk has. You may not realize that raw milk from pastured cows is kind of like wine. The flavor changes throughout the season depending on what the cows are eating, how much rain there is, and other factors. When the grass is growing lushly in spring in fall, the milk is sweet, the cream is extra thick, as yellow as the sun and there’s a lot more of it. When the cows are eating hay in late winter the milk is mild, lighter, there’s less cream and it’s almost white. There are times of the year when the milk has a slightly grassy taste, in the fall I notice that it’s extra sweet and the cream makes superb butter.
The truth is that I would go way out of my to find raw or lightly pasteurized cream line milk and would drive quite a piece to get it if needed rather than purchase a homogenized milk product. And of course, I always drink my milk whole since milk fat contains so much healthy goodness, especially from pastured cows! This is one area where I will seek out the BEST, sometimes if needed I’ll settle for BETTER, but GOOD doesn’t even cut it for me in this area.
So what are some Good, Better, Bests you can think of? Are there any areas you’ll settle for Good when you can’t get the Best?
I can also be found at Chiot’s Run where I blog daily about gardening, cooking, local eating, maple sugaring, and all kinds of stuff. You can also find me at Your Day Magazine and you can follow me on Twitter and on Facebook.