Monday, November 17, 2008

Goat Farm and Raw Milk

I took the family out to visit a goat farm yesterday (this semi-crappy picture is the only one we took and it was taken with a camera phone). I have been researching where in the Denver area you can get raw milk, because I've never seen it in stores. My parents had goats for milk when I was a preschooler (Candy and Licorice..."sweet" goats that I wish I had pictures of to post here), and then even after that my brother and I were raised on raw cow's milk (my brother had milk "allergies" which is generally an inability for the body to digest pasteurized milk properly).

I have discovered that it's illegal to sell raw milk in Colorado, but there are several farms where you can basically purchase shares in a herd (goats around our area, though I did find cow herds elsewhere in CO) and then you are entitled to a portion of the milk the herd produces. If you're curious as to why I am looking for raw milk, the short version is that milk, as God created it, has beneficial properties and enzymes, much like yogurt. The pasteurization process however kills off the good and the potentially bad and you are left with something that really doesn't resemble milk anymore. Just like human milk, cow and goat and every other mammal's milk is sterile. Contamination occurs as a result of improper milking, handling, and/or storage of milk. Here are some links if you are interested in researching this further:

A Campain for Real Milk
Raw Milk Association of Colorado
Drink It Raw - an article about how raw milk is the only illegal food in NC and why obtaining it is more difficult than buying marijuana

The goat farm we visited had a lovely little herd of Nubians, as well as some egg-laying hens and cute kittens that Laina loved. There is a waiting list to become a shareholder in the herd. We sampled the milk and some soft cheese that the owner made, and both were delicious. They were nothing at all like the "goaty" tasting pasteurized goat's milk and cheeses available in the grocery store. The owner explained how everything is kept very clean and how they have their milk tested for bacteria levels every month.

Besides the health benefits and the general "goodness" of raw milk, there are a couple other reasons I'm anxious to get started in this process of becoming a herd shareholder. It will be a step away from big business and government regulations, and a step towards nature, the local farmer, and being "close to the earth" (wow that really sounds hippie-ish). Also, it will be so much fun to visit "our" goats every week when we pick up milk and will provide Laina with a wonderful opportunity to learn about farming and country life. Now I just have to take a look at our budget and make sure we can fit it in, and also wait for the paperwork and contracts to be emailed to me so I can get on the waiting list!


Brianna Heldt said...

Okay that is awesome! I remember as a little kid getting to help milk some goats at a neighbor's house (we lived out in the country).

I'm going to read more about this raw milk thing. How does the cost compare I wonder?

Jenna said...

well, since you can't technically purchase raw milk, you have to buy into the herd. The place we went to charges $25 a share (one time fee for the initial herd share "purchase") then a $40/mo boarding fee. You get whatever milk is produced each week, divided by however many shareholders there are. She sells a maximum of 28 shares.

Beth said...

Wow, I had no idea that there even was such a thing. This is very cool! I hope you're able to get your share soon!