Dairy FAQs

A few of the common questions I get:

How long does the milk last?
The beauty of raw milk is that it’s a living food. Humans have been enjoying its various evolutionary stages long before there was refrigeration. As such, raw milk doesn’t “spoil” like a jug of pasteurized milk does, it simply changes as time passes and can be used for different purposes.
I will typically drink fresh milk within about two weeks. After that mark it often starts to smell and taste a little sour, a little like buttermilk. That’s just evidence of the lactic acid consuming the natural sugars. Plenty of people like this flavor too, but others make the choice to bake with it or start a cheese project. If you left it completely alone, it would eventually separate itself into curds and whey and you would have some tangy cheese on your hands!

Do you test your milk?
Yes! I test at least monthly for any tiny signs of a bacterial infection. My milking routine has me up and close and personal with the cows, which is important to me as it allows me to detect early any small changes or signs of problems. Additionally, my herd has all been tested for the presence of any diseases.

Are your cows A2/A2?
I have been breeding all of my cows to A2A2 bulls so the vast majority of my herd is confirmed A2A2. I do have a few that are A1A2, but all milk is combined before being distributed. I personally find the A2A2 research is hard to draw strong conclusions from since it’s primarily looking at pasteurized milk. I have chosen to bring in those genetics, but decided against removing the beloved A1A2 cows I have, since consuming it raw provides so many protective elements for digestibility.

What do the cows eat?
My cows are 100% grass-fed. There are no grains ever offered, so there’s no need to worry about corn, soy or any other contaminants leeching into the milk. They have access to a “cafeteria-style” large, divided box of 16 individual minerals, salt and kelp. It amazes me each time to watch them stick their nose in and go through until they find the one they need! Surely we also have that innate knowledge inside us…?

A tiny explanation of this philosophy: I try to take my cues from nature, from looking at the natural order of things. Cows were designed with four(!!) stomachs and this powerful digestive system is what allows them to take fibrous plant material (that our bodies can’t use at all!) and turn it into luscious, nutritious milk. This is how they thrive. They were not designed to consume grains and a grain-fed cow is inherently living with inflammation and a suppressed immune system. I tend to equate grains to fast food – sure it offers some delicious calories that generally won’t cause any immediate issues, but anyone who regularly consumes that will struggle to be healthy.

Do you treat with antibiotics?
I primarily use homeopathic remedies to address any issues that might arise. Catching things early and giving a cow the support needed to heal herself is my general operating principle. If antibiotics were to be needed, I would not withhold them, but thankfully I haven’t needed them yet.

Do you milk by hand?
For the first year and a half, we milked by hand, twice a day. Now I milk with a small “belly milker” machine, once a day. I do sometimes miss the quiet intimacy of hand milking, but appreciate the efficiency and cleanliness that a milk machine offers!

Belly milker, in action!