I have long been curious about raw milk. I have friends who have been getting raw milk for years. We already get all our vegetables (and some fruit) from a CSA where we know exactly where it is all coming from. We enjoy having a friendly relationship with “Farmer Megan,” as my children refer to her, and being welcomed to visit the farm.
Since we did the 10 Day Real Food Challenge I have been making a constant effort to cut down on buying processed foods, and basically anything that comes in a box or a plastic container. Our family eats a lot of dairy, a lot of yogurt, a lot of real butter.
For a couple years, on and off, I have made yogurt using milk from a local farm – which still gets pasteurized. I always wanted it to be better, to taste like my friend’s delicious homemade yogurt, who uses raw milk. I knew the answer meant starting with non pasteurized milk, rather than reheating milk to make yogurt out of something that has already been pasteurized once. I also wanted to make mozzarella cheese for our homemade pizzas. I wanted to make butter.
Basically, I wanted to experiment with milk, make more things, be less dependent on the grocery store and have a relationship with a farmer where I knew exactly where our dairy products (at least some of them) are coming from.
When Erica over at Child Organics (who I met years ago though the Holistic Moms Network) wrote a post about finding a local farm to get raw milk, I immediately contacted her for more information regarding her experiences. She had glowing reviews about visiting the farm, and her experiences in dealing with the farmers at Green Chin Farms.
Everything she wrote in that post was how I felt, about wanting to get raw milk, about supporting local farmers and connecting with our community through food. A good local connection was what I needed to make the raw milk jump.
I was impressed by the farm’s professionalism from the beginning. Their thorough paperwork detailing every step and procedure Morel, the woman running the farm, goes through when milking and caring for Crema the cow. Crema is her pet. Her only cow. She does all the milking and all our milk comes from Crema. She has goats too, offering the most delicious fresh goat cheese you’ll ever taste. When we visited the farm I could immediately tell all the animals were all taken well care of by Morel, and that the animals liked her in return.
I had several conversations with Farmer Megan about raw milk, since she (also a vegitarian) has worked on a farm milking cows and her husband grew up on a dairy farm. I talked with other farmers I have grown to know through farmers markets and our local food co-op, about drinking raw milk and what to look for in finding a good raw milk farmer. I read the book The Raw Milk Revolution. I met Crema the cow and Morel the dairy farmer. And I decided to make the leap for our family.
I use a dry erase marker to write on the glass containers so we all know and remember what is what. Every week we get three, two quart mason jars of raw milk plus half a cheese share, which we rotate week-to-week between getting mozzarella cheese (that I still want to start making myself) and cheddar cheese. From that, I skim enough cream off the top of the milk to make butter, saving the buttermilk for my husband to use while making his weekend biscuits. I make two quarts of yogurt (see how here). And I strain the yogurt (using cheesecloth) to make a thick greek style yogurt, and keep the leftover whey for an added boost of protein in smoothies.
In one other small jar I take some of the yogurt and make vanilla yogurt, sweetening it with agave nectar and vanilla extract. I have one child who doesn’t like honey. But the rest of us love our individual servings of yogurt sweetened with honey and topped with granola.
I absolutely love this site in my refrigerator, of homemade goodness in glass containers, using fresh raw milk.
We technically own a share of Crema the cow (or part of the cow), which is how it is legal in Tennessee to buy raw milk. I love that Green Chin Farms is a small, family organization with Morel going out to milk the cow twice a day. It seems like this is the way people are meant to live, the way people use to live. Except today we are finding a way to do it, realistically fitting into how we actually live.
Because you know, if I can’t talk my husband into having backyard urban chickens, I’m definitly not going to talk him into owning a cow! At least not the whole cow.
This is Crema the cow, during a birthday cerebration hosted for her recently, during an open house on the farm where families were invited to attend. This is the photo I like to think about when I serve my children fresh milk, from our fridge. The man in the background is the man behind Green Chin Farms, and the husband to Morel.