Will the Real California Happy Cows Please Stand Up?

by Ann Marie Michaels on March 24, 2011

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Last summer, I was invited by the California Happy Cows campaign (California Milk Advisory Board) to visit the “real California Happy Cows” at a California dairy farm.

How could I pass this up? I had never visited a dairy farm, and I was curious to see what it was all about.

Apparently, the PR agency who invited me to tour the farm where the “California happy cows” live did not read my blog — otherwise, I don’t think they would have invited me.

Confession time: I’ve been drinking raw, grass-fed milk from Organic Pastures Dairy for the past 3 1/2 years. I am a believer in the benefits of real, raw milk from grass-fed cows.

Sorry, PR agency people. I enjoyed spending time with you — you’re all really nice. I’m not just saying this — I really mean it.

Thanks for the swell trip. You were gracious and sweet. But oops — you should have read my blog first.

A Tale of Two Dairies

We’re going to take a look at a conventional California dairy farm, Clauss Dairy Farms, compared to Organic Pastures Raw Milk Dairy. Two completely different beasts.

I think, after reading this posts, you will question where your milk comes from. And if you’re already drinking raw milk from a pasture-based dairy, you can rest in the knowledge that you are doing the right thing.

Biased, much?

Yeah, OK. I’ll admit it. I drink raw, grass-fed milk. Exclusively. And I like it. No, I love it.

But I went on these excursions as an objective reporter. I did my best anyway. I looked at the facts. And I asked questions. Were the cows happy? Were they well-nourished? Were they comfortable? Were they living in harmony with nature?

If these trips to visit local dairies had swayed me from my love of raw milk, then so be it. I would have stopped paying for raw milk and switched to the cheap stuff. I was fully prepared for that.

But they did not sway me. Let’s venture on, dear reader.

Clauss Dairy: Conventional and Corn-fed

Last summer, along with dozens of other bloggers from around the country, I was flown to San Francisco, courtesy of the California Milk Advisory Board. We were greeted by employees of their San Francisco PR firm. They escorted us by tour bus to a fancy cheese tasting and dinner. We stayed overnight at a hotel and spent the next day touring Clauss Dairy, a conventional dairy farm that makes cheese.

According to the California Milk Advisory Board, 99% of California dairies are family-owned. That sounds really good, doesn’t it?

Except for the fact that that includes dairies with 10,000 cows.

Clauss Dairy is one of these “big ag” dairies, and it’s a family farm, although it’s on the smaller size. They only have 2,000 cows. The milk from these cows goes to a local plant to make cheese. If you are eating (most) grocery store cheese, chances are it is come from this Northern California cheese factory.

Fancy Barns and “Comfortable” Cows

Their cows at Clauss Dairy live in very expensive open-air barns. They seem perfectly comfortable. They lie in composted manure and stand in mud mixed with manure.

Most of the time, they are not exposed to direct sunlight since the barns are covered. Are they happy? I don’t know. They seem perfectly comfortable, and they don’t seem unhappy.

I did not like the fact that the cows are not in the sunshine. Why? Because if they don’t get sun, they’re not going to be producing as much vitamin D. I’m not a scientist or a nutritionist — that’s just common sense. When I asked the people at Clauss Dairy Farms why they don’t let their cows out into the sun, they said it was too hot for them. This just didn’t make sense to me.

Now, they do get some sunshine each day when they’re standing around waiting to be milked. They have to wait for 45 minutes to get on this circular conveyor belt contraption that milks them.

Honestly, they didn’t seem unhappy on the modern milking contraption. However, I wouldn’t say they looked “happy” either. And it did seem to be a very expensive way to get the job done.

The cows at Clauss also get some some sunshine, when they’re lined up to eat their grains.

Now, I want you to look at that cow’s udder. Here’s a closeup:

Notice how huge it is. This is not normal, as you will see in the photos I took at Organic Pastures organic dairy farm. Here’s an example of a cow at Organic Pastures — note the normal-looking udder:

I wondered it if Clauss Dairy was giving their cows a lot of hormones to make them produce more milk. I am not sure — I did not ask. But something doesn’t look right about those udders. And I didn’t see a single cows looking like like that at Organic Pastures.

When I asked how long the cows lived on average at Clauss Dairy, they told me five years. In reality, cows have a life span of 20 years. But their life span is typically much shorter on these concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) dairy farms.

Eww That Smell!

Although they may get some sun, the cows at Clauss Dairy are definitely not getting any fresh air. In fact, nobody gets fresh air at Clauss, not even the family who lives across the street.

The one thing I remember, more than the fancy dinner or Top-Chef-catered lunch, was the stench of that place. Even when we were outside eating our fancy lunch in the backyard of the owner’s house, I really could not enjoy my food because the smell was so horrible.

It is important to note that the cows at Clauss Dairy (and other conventional dairies like it) have no access to pasture. They don’t get to eat grass. If the were out on pasture, the manure would get mixed into the ground, fertilize the soil, rebuild the topsoil.

Instead, the manure is just sitting there on the cement. The cows stand around, producing more manure, that then has to be cleaned up and turned into “compost”. Seems like an odd waste of energy, eh? Why not just leave them out in the pasture, especially in California, where the sun shines all year long?

Cows Eating Frito-Lay Chips?

Instead of eating grass, the cows at Clauss Dairy eat a blend of grains designed by a nutritionist.

The nutritionist was very proud of the fact that they supplement the cow’s feed with chips trucked over from the local Frito Lay plant.

They all thought this was a great thing, stressing that it was “better for the environment.” They smiled proudly and said, “Otherwise, those chips would end up in a landfill.”

All I could think was, Yeah, maybe they should end up in a landfill.

Personally, I like to eat my cheese without transfats. And if the cows are eating chips fried in transfats, it’s going into their milk, which goes right into the cheese.

Now I don’t have any proof that there are trans fats in the cheese produced from conventional dairies. It’s just a theory. Here’s my reasoning: we know that trans fats are ending up in the breast milk of women in industrialized countries who eat foods made with trans fats Therefore, it’s only logical that it would end up in the cow’s milk, too when they eat our junk food. Read this study on trans fats in breast milk in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

So, yeah, I’m not a fan of them feeding chips (what I call junk food) to cows. It’s just wrong. I mean, it’s one thing if I knowingly eat a bag of potato chips and ingest a bunch of transfat-laden, rancid vegetable oil. But is it right to feed this to a cow, a cow who is meant to eat grass and hay?

And what about eating cheese made from the milk of animals who ate the chips? No, thanks. At least if I buy a bag of chips, I know what I’m getting. If I buy some cheddar cheese, how do I know what’s in it? If the cows ate chips and bakery waste (most conventional dairy farms also feed their cows day-old baked goods including doughnuts and white bread), what is really in that cheese?

Sure, the cows at Clauss Dairy Farms do get hay, but they also get lots of genetically modified corn, soy, and other grains. All sprayed with pesticides and herbicides. Ironically, most of the corn they eat is grown right there on the Clauss family land.

I have to tell you, it was totally bizarre to see acres and acres of cornfields, all this GMO (genetically modified) corn, instead of pasture. Why go to all the trouble of growing all this corn, only to have to cut it down and process it and lug it over to these huge barns and then feed it to the cows? And why put the cows in expensive barns instead of putting them on pasture?

Why not just let them eat grass?

A perfect segue to the next dairy I visited, Organic Pastures, where the cows eat grass in the sunshine, 365 days a year.

Organic Pastures Dairy: Organic and Grass-fed

Mark McAfee and Daughter, Kaleigh of Organic Pastures

Mark McAfee, retired EMT, started Organic Pastures 10 years ago, after inheriting the family farm. Organic Pastures is a small farm, situated on 400 acres, milking around 350 cows daily. They have 49 employees including their two grown children, who live close by and have both recently blessed the McAfees with grandchildren.

I visited the dairy last September. After a sunset walk through the pasture and a screening of FRESH, we sat around the kitchen and talked. Mark’s wife, Blaine, a retired registered nurse, offered me delicious beef stew from the crockpot, olive bread and Organic Pastures cheese. And for dessert: Trader Joe’s chocolate cake. I sipped red wine as they told me the story of how Organic Pastures Dairy came to be.

“From the beginning, it was always a family affair,” said Mark, as Blaine did the dishes. She paused to kiss and hug her grandbaby goodnight.

Daughter Kaleigh, now employed as Organic Pastures’ Marketing Manager, said she was in middle school when her parents started the dairy. “It was a lot of work, but it was fun.”

Kaleigh told me that they never fed their cows grain, and never planned to. She said grain is a huge investment. “You have to go into a lot of debt to buy those huge barns and tons of grains and the cement slab milking parlor.” She said if they ever wanted to quit running the dairy, it would be really hard to get out. A lot of conventional and even organic dairy farmers are stuck in this predicament. “They have to go really big or they can’t make money.”

Kaleigh explained that they never intended to make raw milk. They never even drank the raw milk the cows produced — they had a pasteurizer they would use in order to drink it. They were sure they’d get sick if they drank it raw. In the beginning, Mark was the only one who would drink it raw. Back in those days, they sold all their organic, grass-fed milk to Organic Valley.

Then one day, Hollywood movie star Daryl Hannah showed up on the farm. She said she wanted raw milk and asked if they would sell it to her.

You see, Los Angeles residents had been cut off from their raw milk source. Back in the day, Angelenos bought raw milk from Alta Dena Dairy. But people started getting sick. Alta Dena shut down their dairy. However, it should be noted that Alta Dena cows were not eating grass — they were eating grain.

When they got wind that there was a dairy with cows eating grass 365 days a year, raw milk lovers in Southern California — including a number of other Hollywood celebrities — wanted this milk raw.

So they started trucking raw milk to LA — driving it down every week, storing it in coolers. “Like hillbillies,” Mark said.

Eventually they started selling it in Whole Foods. (Which they no longer do, since Whole Foods decided to stop carrying their raw milk last year.)

Until the Cows Come Home

Mark said he flies around in his plane (he has a pilot license) and videotapes what the land looks like. The only green grass for grazing cows is his pastures.

The cows at Organic Pastures never do “come home” because they are always home — out on the pasture. They have a “mobile milking parlor” so they can milk the cows twice a day — out on the grass. There is no need for expensive barns or milking parlors. The cows even mate out in the pasture — there is no artificial insemination.

They’re also introducing a Joel-Salatin-style egg mobile and will be selling their first truly pastured eggs this spring.

After visiting the conventional farm last summer, one of the most striking things to me about visiting Organic Pastures Dairy was there was no smell. The conventional dairy had a foul manure stench that permeated the whole place.

But at Organic Pastures, there was no smell. None whatsoever. I could not get over that. Even though the cows are just across the street (you can see them grazing from the window,) I couldn’t smell any manure. When my husband and daughter and I went to bed in the guest room, I opened the window so we could enjoy the cool breeze of fresh air.

The McAfees had left very early in the morning to go to a family funeral. Mark told me it was fine for me to go out and take photos of the cows. Blaine showed me where the coffee was, as well as the bread for toast, bacon, Organic Pastures butter, and eggs (from their chickens) and we all hugged goodnight.

Communing with Cows

When I woke up at 7 am, it was raining. I was so disappointed, because I had been so excited to get out and take photos of the cows. (We had arrived late the night before for the sunset walk, so we missed most of it.)

Luckily, the rain cleared up just as fast as it came. After a cup of coffee and a chat with the other out-of-towners who were staying in the other guest room, I headed out to the pastures just across the street. Their two friendly dogs happily led the way.

I’ve never experienced anything like this in my life. The grass was still wet from the rain. The sun was coming up and the air was fresh and clean. The only sound was the cows’ soft mooing and birds singing.

I felt peaceful and my heart was full of joy. Being on the pasture in the early morning mist with these majestic, docile animals was truly magical.

The dogs were frolicking — herding the cows. They looked like they were dancing and playing, having a high old time. The cows even seemed to enjoy it. Cows and dogs together, playing in the sunshine.

Just watch this video:

The cows came right up to me and smelled me, butted me with their heads, licked the backs of my hands.

At one point, I noticed a newborn calf — who had obviously been born moments ago — moving toward me, making his way on wobbly legs. Three very large cows stayed very close to him, protecting him, mooing low and long, warning me not to make any sudden moves.

The calf came right up to me and smelled me, as I kneeled on the ground. The three larger cows were so close they could have crushed me. I stayed stock still, scared that if I moved, they’d buck. I felt like Dian Fossey in Gorillas in the Mist.

California Happy Cows

As we drove back to LA that morning, my heart was warm and glowing and my head felt bubbly like Champagne. Organic Pastures Dairy really felt like such a miraculous place, a farm where animals and humans live in perfect harmony with nature.

Yes, these are truly happy cows.

But most of the dairies in California do not operate this way. If you want to buy milk and cheese from happy cows, you’ll need to buy it from Organic Pastures.

Saving Lives with Raw Milk

It’s not just the miracle of the cows and dogs and chickens living the way they were meant to live, it’s more than that. It’s a retired EMT and RN who have stepped off the grid of the conventional medical system and are now living their dream of saving lives.

Before the movie screening the night before, Mark told the audience how he had recently visited a mom’s group — all the mothers had kids on the autistic spectrum. There was one mother, he said, who had a young boy who had a kind of facial tic that was so bad, he could not even attend school.

Mark said, within 24 hours on raw milk, the facial tic disappeared.

Mark’s got a million of these stories. You can’t have lunch with him without hearing one after another. This is what drives his passion and it’s absolutely contagious.

But I don’t need to hear it from Mark. The people I’ve met over the years who drink raw milk all have stories. Just ask them. They’ll tell you how they cured their lactose intolerance, how they got rid of their asthma, how their allergies disappeared.

Its the dramatic changes in people’s health that is creating an army of rabid raw milk evangelists. And we’re not going away.

Happy cows are the beginning, but not the end of this story. Happy cows, sustainable family farms, lush green pastures, transformed health — this is the vision I want to support, and why I only buy dairy products from grass-fed cows from sustainable farms.

Find Raw Milk

If you’re looking for raw, grass-fed milk and cheese in your area, visit the Real Milk website.

Share Your Comments

Are you still drinking conventional or even “organic” milk or have you gotten off the grid to raw, grass-fed dairy?

Do you have a raw milk testimonial to share?

Please share your comments below.

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{ 495 comments… read them below or add one }

Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama March 28, 2011 at 6:24 AM

We started a “group” of us (my husband and I) after we found a farm that is near his parents’ house — two hours from us. They provide us with all the raw milk (and pastured meats and eggs) that we could want, $5/gal. We make this trip every two weeks. Although there are now about 40 families in the group, we usually do the trip about half the time. It is so important to us that families have access to this milk, and these other products. Next, “our” farmer will be allowing us to shadow him and learn more about raising organic animals, since we hope to have a farm someday (and we’ll be blogging about it). We are passionate activists in our community. And very fortunate to have the opportunities we do, even if we have to drive 2 hours for it! It does not matter. I am spoiled and will almost exclusively buy animal products from “my” farmer (in the summer I will buy from the farmer’s markets, and in the winter occasionally Trader Joe’s).

With that said, if anyone is in the Central Ohio area and wants in, just email me. :)

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Evelyn March 28, 2011 at 10:10 AM

“it does not reduce CLA or Omega three’s,”
Hogwash. I wish it were true but it isn’t. Cows who produce ilk in a pure pasture model produce higher amounts of CLA & O3s per pound of milk. You are totally correct (so far as I know), all the commercial dairies I know of do give grain. That doesn’t mean it’s the best thing to do, or that it doesn’t displace the amount of green, growing matter that they take in…. which is what produces CLA & O3.
I think your dairy is a really GREAT alternative to mega-dairies & pasteurized milk. But, I do have a problem w/ your picturing Guernsey cows on your label & the pictures of Jersey’s on your website (both high producers of A2 milk.) These pictures led me to believe that you had a high percentage of A2 milk producers, eating far less grain than is actually the case. I was buying your milk, until I found out the truth in those matters. I was totally willing to believe that you did not intentionally mislead anyone. After all a drawing of a Holstein that someone in Marketing thought would look better in a more nuetral color would turn out to be a drawing of a Holstein. And, there were a few pix of Holsteins in amongst the Jerseys on the pasture. There just didn’t seem to be as many as your employees at the milk drop say are really there. But…. Jerseys are just so much prettier than Holstiens, so I think I’d take more pix of them too. :)
But…. your saying that CLA & O3 is not reduced when grain is given as feed causes me to rethink giving you the benefit of the doubt on those other points. Even so…. unpasteurized milk is STILL MUCH better than pasteurized milk!
I’m also quite disappointed to hear you trashing someone who is asking you to be more transparent in your records. What do you have to hide in making your milk pool records available? I raise beef cattle. I searched for a while before I could find a processor that would let me supervise the processing of the meat from my cattle. What did all those plants have to hide? I know many people who believe they don’t get their own meat back or that part of it is missing. I never trust businesses who are secret in their doings. I have no business getting involved in people’s personal business. But, if it’s a business that’s dealing w/ the food I give my family…. I vote w/ my dollars… and I will always vote for transparency. I would encourage you to open your records to those who wish to see them. Put them on your website. Put up pasture cams so people can see your herd, Google Earth is years behind in their photos. I really don’t see the problem you have w/ people asking for this. Can you explain why you have a problem w/ it????

I’d love it if you would get some more Jerseys, or better Guernseys. :) I totally understand that you can’t have your cattle tested for A2 milk. That would put you in violation of A2 Corp’s patent. But, you can get more of the breeds that are known to carry the trait. Give me 2 out of 3 of what I’m looking for & I’ll buy your milk again. I don’t need the open records (it’s just not as important to me)… but I do need 2 out of 3 from unpasteurized milk, A2 milk, 100% non-grain fed milk.

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Pavil, the Uber Noob March 28, 2011 at 7:52 AM

I thought it was odd that the industrial farm had cream cows, while the farm with that pastured their livestock had holsteins. Intuitively, I would have expected the opposite.

Ciao,
Pavil

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mark mcafee March 28, 2011 at 8:44 AM

Dear Everyone,

When Ann Marie sent me the email this morning about this comment string, I was blown away. The ugliness of the negative attacks. The outright hatred. How sad it is. But on the other hand…the outpouring of support and love is tremendous.

It is clear that some people hate OPDC and hate Raw Milk. It is also clear that some people have not listened to what I have said. It is clear that not everyone has reviewed the FAQ area of our website. In our FAQ we are very very open about pathogen tests going back to 2000 ( not one pathogen every found in our “raw milk” is a correct and accurate answer ). We are very clear about class 1,2, 3, 4a and 4b dairy products. We are very clear that we do not purchase raw milk for bottling from any outside source!!! ( never have ) ….it is illegal and we have never ever done this. To suggest that OPDC has every bottled one drop of outside raw milk…is a blatant lie. A lie I would be interested in pursuing with litigation. It is completely untrue and intended to somehow hurt the McAfee family and OPDC.

Please read the FAQ at http://www.organicpastures.com we have shared every detail of truth to every one. We hold no secrets….not one.

I have had all sorts of wrotten tomatoes thrown at me. Amanda Rose is the chief tomatoe thrower. We all have better things to do than be distracted by a FDA loving, Troll that gives comfort to the FDA and the enemies of health.

The world of the internet is very transparent. Untrue statements do not get very far with out being discovered.

One more thing. Our cows are 100% grass patured ( earth google does not lie…. look foryourself ) and are always on pastures all the time….but they are also given additional dried organic alfalfa and about 5 pounds of organic barley and organic corn per day. This is no secret and it does not reduce CLA or Omega three’s, try and find a raw milk dairy in the USA that does not do exactly this as well. No Amish farmers do otherwise. Mike Schmidt does this in Canada, Cows need the energy of the dried alfalfa and or corn.

Lastly….we do not purhase outside raw milk. If any one would like to come to OPDC and view our milk pool records, I would be glad to share them. I will not however invite Amanda Rose to review anything. She is worse than the FDA ( at least the FDA does not play along to be my friend and then attempt to cut my throat ) as far as I am concerned.

The truth of raw milk and Lactose intolerance and asthma can not be contrived or faked. It is real because in tens of thousands of people it is real. Studies clearly back this up. ( Michigan Beals Study, OPDC Survery Monkey 2010, PARSIFAL EU ).

Throw the trolls out and move forward. They feed on negativity. My future is based in positiveness and education of people that are suffering greatly from the terrible American Diet. I joined Jamie Oliver in his effort and Sally Fallon and her effort. This is the future of health in America.

All the best to all,

Mark McAfee
Founder OPDC

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JC March 28, 2011 at 9:32 AM

“It is clear that some people hate OPDC and hate Raw Milk. ”

Actually, although some of these posters are obviously real people who have strong personal feelings, we may also have computer bots autoprogrammed to post comments that are hatin’ on “Raw Milk.”

I think I finally figured out why I have to type in all those stupid security codes “to prove I’m a real person” in order to post comments on certain websites — I never thought of the autobots commenting before….

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Mom of 3 March 28, 2011 at 11:31 AM

Mark your farm is beautiful!!! Thank you for all you do. I support the raw milk drinkers because we all deserve the choice. I would like to be a raw milk drinker because of all the wonderful things I have read from blogs and friends that drink it. However, I have yet to convince my husband that it is safe and better for you, the media has convinced him that it will make us sick and I have not been able to sway him otherwise. I live in MN and buy Vat past milk at $5 for 1/2gallon from a health food store that comes from a local dairy.(that is the best I can do for my kids) for now.

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Bethany July 12, 2011 at 6:03 AM

Ditto….Mark, I LOVE seeing people like you it’s so inspiring and encouraging, keep up the good work and don’t worry about all the negative people out there!!!!!

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Gen March 28, 2011 at 11:32 AM

“We are very clear that we do not purchase raw milk for bottling from any outside source!!! ”

Does this mean that he purchases outside milk for other reasons like making butter or cheese? Just wondering…I pay about 12$ for OPDC butter so I sure hope it doesn’t come from a conventional dairy

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Erica March 28, 2011 at 1:28 PM

Hi Mark McAffee,

I’m very glad that Ann Marie contacted you regarding this post. We all definitely needed to hear your voice, and I’m very glad we did! Thank you for all the good you are doing for many customers because they do greatly benefit from your raw milk. And Ann Marie’s daughter is an amazing testimony of all the hard work you are doing for this country, as well. May the Lord bless you and your family richly as you continue to provide life-giving and wholesome food to many individuals throughout California, and hopefully, throughout the United States.

P.S. I’d probably be one of your favorite customers if I lived in California :)

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Amanda G. Rose, Ph.D. March 28, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Hi Mark. I didn’t ever play along to be your friend. I was your friend. We had a great run at it too, planning that flight over the Vander Eyk holdings with the reporter Michael Pollan hooked me up with. I was floored later to learn that you were buying from Vander Eyk and reselling the product to me to feed my young son.

I am sorry you feel now that I only pretended to be your friend all that time so that I could just stab you in the back. From my side, I am really sorry that you pretended to be my good farmer and then sold me product from a 10K cow dairy so that you could make more money. I’m sorry that you continued to pretend to be my good farmer and sold my son cream that you bought through a milk broker. I’m glad I didn’t end up with some of that 140 million fecal coliform colostrum cocktail you sold in 2006. Another consumer did end up with colostrum from that lot and I did feel stabbed in the back by that because it was only luck that it was not my son. I did not expect you to risk my son’s health and safety in that way because I thought you were a good farmer.

On just a few little issues (people can read the exhausting comments at Gumpert’s for more), we know the outsourced cream started in 2005 and you’re splitting hairs saying you have never outsourced “milk.” I do know that it is illegal in California for you to sell raw milk in final form that came from an outside dairy. Selling cream to the end consumer from a non-raw dairy is also illegal, but there is a public record of you doing just that. In any case, I’ve never claimed that you sell outsourced milk in final form, what I am talking about is the thousands of gallons of milk come to the dairy that you turned into butter. You could have also legally labeled that outsourced product as colostrum, though I don’t know that you did, only that your colostrum line is entirely unregulated and untested.

You told me yourself that outsourcing continued into 2009. You’ve claimed that your market has grown since 2005, when the outsourcing started. You must have a miracle nutrient supplement there to meet your market with your own cows. In any case, I’m glad you’ve at least addressed this *a little bit* in your FAQ. Readers here can thank me for that because it was only my pressure that got you to add those comments. I like that you post your FAQ here as great evidence of your transparency when it took me years to get you to take that little baby step. Take a big boy step and let us look at the Milk Pool records. Hell, you’ve stopped your outsourcing, right? What’s the problem?

By the way, we don’t need access to Milk Pool records in your office, but rather those in Sacramento. The fact that you don’t want me to see them is telling. Few consumers would understand what they were looking at to do a real analysis.

Amanda
aka “Foxy”

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Amanda G. Rose, Ph.D. March 28, 2011 at 10:59 AM

I’m not actually sure I care anymore about the outsourcing history, so maybe you should just continue with whatever it is you do there in Kerman, Mark. It’s obviously working for you and your customers based on Ann Marie’s post.

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Alexey Zilber March 28, 2011 at 1:12 PM

Amanda,

You make a lot of serious claims. Do you have any links to the public record you mention? If there is such a document, it would have a document number.
On the other issues, while I personally love OPDC, it bothers me when I see your allegations and compare them to OPDC’s FAQ. There are definitely some inconsistencies there.
I’ll provide two examples from OPDC’s FAQ which contradict each other:

“Listeria was detected from a test performed on raw cream that was purchased from an outside organic source. This organic raw cream was purchased to make OPDC raw butter. Raw butter is a manufacturing product under state law and this is legally permitted. Since this incident in 2007, OPDC has not purchased raw cream from outside sources to make raw butter.”

Under “Raw Milk Sourcing and Safety” it says OPDC does source for raw butter:

“Our raw butter is a huge favorite, so we source seasonally pasture-grazed organic milk from other farmers to fill customer demand. Any raw butter made from outsourced, raw, organic milk is labeled with a “Source Sticker.””

So which is it? Now granted, this isn’t a very huge issue since it’s affects just the raw butter, and there are source stickers. But as someone who purchases OPDC raw butter, it would have been good to know about the source stickers. None of the OPDC raw butter I have has the source stickers btw, and I’ve never seen them. I think OPDC should clarify the FAQ.

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Sarah @ Real Food Outlaws March 28, 2011 at 10:41 AM

If you are in PA or NJ, Schenks Farm (www.yourfamilycow.com) has drop points all over PA. I live in NJ and go twice a month to get my raw milk, pastured eggs, and grass-fed meat. Edwin Schenk and Mark McAfee are friends.

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Mark C. March 28, 2011 at 10:57 AM

Anyone with a 1/2 a brain can see the intent behind Amanda PHDs comments… PHD stands for PILE it HIGH and DEEP and Amanda can pile it with the best of them… Bravo.

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Mark Daisy, PHD. MBA, BSMC, PDQ, ASAP March 28, 2011 at 11:04 AM

I have a better education than Amanda! Look at all my credentials!!!! I have legally changed my name to contain the credentials so I can impress people on the internet when I go on my rants.

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Amanda G. Rose, Ph.D. March 28, 2011 at 12:56 PM

I put up my full name in response to the comments about trolls. I have no problem whatsoever standing behind what I’ve said here. It is all publicly available.

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Meh June 6, 2012 at 11:14 AM

^^This

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Jennifer Neal March 28, 2011 at 11:05 AM

It seems as though raw milk has become the token issue for corporation vs. the little guy in this country. Why is that? I don’t see the problem with others wanting access to raw milk. Why is it an emotional crusade? (I am genuinely confused.) All food is potentially hazardous and can be contaminated. It’s this simple — educate yourself and make your own decision.

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D. March 28, 2011 at 11:32 AM

If this post did nothing else, it brought out the fact that people do need to look at both sides of an argument. And also that they need to do their own homework about the farmer from whom they purchase their raw milk.

Some of the younger buyers probably do go into it with blind trust and that’s never a good thing. A dairy farmer with nothing to hide doesn’t have anything to hide, right?

Mark says he offered to show Amanda his records, she said she wants to see records at Sacramento. If that’s the case, then Amanda needs to go to Sacramento and take a peek and it has virtually nothing to do with Mark himself. Don’t just talk about it, Amanda, do it — and then report back. And Mark, if you’re using outsourced cream for your butter (or an outsourced base for any other product you sell) you need to make it clear to your customers and other consumers by labeling/marking the product. Doesn’t the State of CA have regulations about this anyhow? (I know, less gov’t is best, but . . .) All I know is on the FAQ page it does state that he doesn’t outsource his milk.

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Amanda G. Rose, Ph.D. March 28, 2011 at 12:55 PM

No, he won’t show me the records and the records in Sacramento are proprietary. I’ve confirmed with the Milk Pool Office that consumers can access the records if given permission by the business.

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D. March 28, 2011 at 2:17 PM

I thought you meant they were public records?

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Erica March 28, 2011 at 3:47 PM

Hi Amanda G. Rose, Ph.D,

I do believe that Mark McAffee is telling the truth regarding the “outsourcing” of his milk. After all, look at how many people have benefited greatly from his products! I highly doubt those dairy products were anything conventional. Also, I doubt that McAffee would risk his job and good repetation over this.

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Erica March 28, 2011 at 3:50 PM

My goodness, here we go with my spelling again, lol :)…………….I meant “reputation,” not “repetation.”

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Cathy Holcombe March 28, 2011 at 1:05 PM

Makes sense!

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Emily March 28, 2011 at 12:30 PM

Dear Cheeseslave,

Regarding your quote, “Personally, I like to eat my cheese without transfats. And if the cows are eating chips fried in transfats, it’s going into their milk, which goes right into the cheese.”:

Frito Lay chips have been free of trans fats since 2003. This does not mean I believe chips are a healthy diet for cows, by any means; I am quite shocked and disturbed to read this. Just please make sure you have all the facts correct before posting statements such as the above.

Wonderful and enlightening article otherwise!

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Erica March 28, 2011 at 4:02 PM

Hi Emily,

There are actually hidden trans fats in the chips. Each serving of chips can contain a half a gram of trans fat and still be labeled as containing no trans fat. Who really ever consumes just one serving of chips anyway?… Trans fats do add up.

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Elizabeth Walling March 29, 2011 at 5:49 AM

I believe Emily means that Frito chips no longer have hydrogenated oil on their ingredient list (I believe that’s true but can’t say for sure). There are some brands of chips and snack foods that took hydrogenated oil out of their products during the last few years. However, most of them still use boatloads of vegetable oils like corn, soy and canola (plus all kinds of other chemical additives, flavors and preservatives), so if you ask me the positive impact of removing the hydrogenated oils is minimal at best.

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Erica March 29, 2011 at 6:41 AM

Hi Elizabeth,

Yes, i did understand what Emily meant. Just like msg is hidden in so many processed foods by different names, I believe trans fats can also be present or “hidden” as well. Either way, there is no benefit to consuming industrial chips anyway, especially if the animals that we eat are being fed this junk. This is why it is always best to purchase meats from actual farmers we all can trust :)

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Denise March 30, 2011 at 5:12 AM

Not to mention the GMOs, which changes DNA in its consumers. A very scary thought.

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Evelyn March 30, 2011 at 8:50 AM

It’s really hard to get away from GMOs these days. We all eat them, every day, no matter how hard we try. Even Whole Foods has given up the fight & are now allowing even the mainstream GMOs on the shelves. The NOP gave up.
There is a lawsuit going against them.
http://vtdigger.org/2011/03/30/nofa-joins-lawsuit-filed-against-monsanto/
I wish there were a way for individuals to join this. They’d have a lot of us!!! The USDA will do nothing, because Monsteranto is a big customer & every marketing agency knows you take care of your biggest customers.

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Alexey Zilber March 28, 2011 at 12:53 PM

Emily,

You’re mostly correct, though it’s possible for a good to be labeled trans fat free if they have less then ~ .45 grams of trans fat per serving. Additionally, cows aren’t given a “serving size”, they’re probably just getting a whole pile of them. That said, Frito Lay switched to corn oil as their oil of choice. Corn oil has it’s own issues (GMO corn), and being a denatured oil, it definitely hinders the cow’s health, not improves it. It would definitely affect their immune system, etc.

-Alex

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tina March 28, 2011 at 1:52 PM

I can’t find raw milk from A2 cows so I don’t drink it or give it to my kids.

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Jess March 28, 2011 at 2:41 PM

Oh how I wish I could pay $6 a gallon for raw milk, but unfortunately it’s about $8 for a half gallon here in California, but definately worth every penny!!!:)

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Lidia Seebeck March 28, 2011 at 3:46 PM

Wow, some comment thread here.

We live in Riverside, CA. I managed to get my husband to switch to pasteurized organic milk several years ago and have recently gotten him to switch to Organic Pastures milk now that it is readily available at a local store (Sprouts, also Goodwin’s). The first thing he noticed is that his perpetual sinus congestion is starting to ease. I admit to being scared to drink it, because of a lifelong allergy to milk. I may try some soon…as I have heard that some people are not allergic to raw.

As for the pathogen issue. Someday drive around Chino (as I do frequently in my birding adventures) and look at the cows. They seem to be perpetually coated in mud in winter. I’ve owned a horse in the past and I would have been mortified to have him look like that. I would have immediately scurried for a currycomb. The Chino lots do not produce healthy-looking cows, nor is there any grass in evidence. To me, this seems like a recipe for sick milk. I might add here that I had a relative who got very sick from “milk fever” about a century ago. It does happen, but if you read the recall notices from the gov’t, it becomes very clear that mega-dairies producing conventional pasteurized milk seems to be a much greater concern than small, high-quality raw dairies. I have to admit, I’d like to see a ratio here– deaths and illnesses per raw milk drinker versus deaths and illnesses per pasteurized milk drinker. That said, I suspect the raw ratio will come out better than the pasteurized ratio. That aformentioned horse? He died peacefully at a very advanced age (his teeth completely wore down). We don’t know how old because we don’t have his original birth record, but we think he may have been 40 or older. He was, by the way, always on pasture, with some hay to supplement. He would eat grain, but never very much. Even the vet decided that part of his health was due to his being out on pasture. He was very rarely ill. In the time we had him, we had one trauma (he had a feud with another horse), one case of a kidney stone when we first moved to a new pasture with very hard water, and one case of colic when he was quite old. That in 18 years of ownership. Everything else was routine care, floating of teeth, trimming of hooves, etc.

I’m actually cool with Mark outsourcing his supply, IF they adhere to exactly the same standards as he does. Given the intense regulatory climate in this state, it is probably very difficult for a small dairy to make any profit whatsoever given the expenses of cooperation with the regulation. It’s probably easier to contract with Mark. Of course, I hope he quickly dumps anyone who has any contamination issues.

Breeds– I’m a fan of heirloom agriculture, to be perfectly honest. So, I really hope that Mark can bring in some heirloom breeds that are better adapted to grass. I might add that my horse was part American Bashkir Curly (it was obvious, given his kinky fur), a breed of horse that is essentially a Russian Mustang. They lived on sparse pasture in Nevada for centuries before being discovered in 1880. They do perfectly well on grass and hay and need very little grain, even during intense stress. I can hope there is a bovine equivalent who might be a good choice for the raw dairyman.

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Evelyn March 28, 2011 at 4:09 PM

Holsteins are the dairy breed that produces the most milk of any breed. They don’t have a high quality milk, but it’s better raw than pasteurized. From what the people at the drop point told me, the herd is ~60%-70% Holstein. It’s a toss up to me if raw Holstein milk is better or worse than pasteurized Jersey milk. I’d like to see both on pasture, but you’re just not going to ever be able to raise Holsteins without grain. One of the cattle out on our pasture is a big ole Jersey who gives ~3 gallons of milk a day, without grain. Even so… I’ll stick with my Irish Dexters. They’re such cute little cows. :) And,they are very much a heritage & tri-purpose breed.

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Diane March 28, 2011 at 4:18 PM

Quality is a object term implying high grade – in terms of milk it is used to describe the milk being pure and free from contamination. Taste is a subjective matter.

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Evelyn March 28, 2011 at 5:03 PM

Agreed, those are some of the criteria for determining milk quality. They have nothing to do w/ the breed of cattle. Others would be fat type & content, globual size, percentage as opposed to water content & milk color. Jerseys are known to have a higher butterfat content, as are Dexters. Both breeds are also presumed to produce a much higher percentage of A2 milkers, this is a critical quality for me.
Holsteins (generally speaking) produce a lower quality of milk. Their milk is higher in water than several other cattle breeds., when breed specific qualities are considered I consider these traits to be important. Many dairy producers often consider quantity to be a critical the critical factor. One certainly can not blame them for putting quantity in front of quality. Land in California is very expensive & OP undoubtedly has a hefty mortgage to meet & I full well know how expensive a state this is to live in! I understand business & I don’t blame anyone for trying to urn one.

I was & am not referring to taste, or any other subjective factor. Truthfully, I couldn’t tell the difference in taste.

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JC March 28, 2011 at 6:07 PM

My friends who sell pastured raw milk from their farm in Burlington, VT have Milking Devons and Devon/Jersey crosses. Devons are a triple-purpose breed:

“The Milking Devon is a medium sized triple-purpose breed adapted to survive on a low-quality, high forage diet under severe climatic conditions. They are healthy, long lived, and thrive on good care and management.

“The breed is red in color, varying in shade from deep rich red to light red or chestnut color. They may show white on the tail switch, udder or scrotum. They have medium sized curving horns that are light colored with dark tips.

“The Devon cow is especially elegant with her compact rounded form, and when treated with kindness, possesses a docile temperament. They have very few calving difficulties and adequate milk production to raise a calf and for use on the small farm.

“The Devon bull is noted for his ease of handling and even temperament, when treated kindly.

“Devons were highly valued as oxen in the establishment of the American Colonies, due to their great strength, intelligence, fast pace and endurance.”

Don’t you love the part about kind treatment? Other people email me photos of their children or pets. These folks send me pictures of their cows and their beautiful calves (two heifers last year and one this year, with another on the way).

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Raluca Schachter March 28, 2011 at 4:04 PM

You don’t need a degree to differentiate between pasteurized and raw dairy , but just some common sense..I bet many of the processed food indutries don’t eat their own c**p , but I saw with my eyes how the entire McAfee family consumes OP dairy daily and they are all healthy. They believe in what they do and they put their whole heart in it. If it was something wrong with it, do you think they would consume it ??

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Blaire Kribs March 28, 2011 at 9:35 PM

Wow what a crazy comment line!!! I have never been to Organic Pastures but have followed the “raw milk” stories and read anything I could put my hands on. When I’d had enough of buying raw milk from the other side of the county I acquired my own Jersey cows. I have three sons (two who are now teens) who have zero cavities and are rarely sick. Until recently I have provided raw cows milk for several families, including pregnant women and babies. I do not have a Grade A dairy as it is not a requirement in my state. Is the milk that comes from my cows free from bacteria? No. Does it make people sick? No. Unfortunately, people who come from a “reduced bacteria environment” (processed foods, antibacterial soaps and wipes, no association with farm animals and little time spent outdoors) are more at risk when consuming “real” food. Their guts have no precedent for tolerating even normal, healthy levels of bacteria. People consuming the Standard American Diet of processed and fast foods are not good candidates for raw milk unless they begin a regimen of pro and prebiotics to reculture their unhealthy gut environment. A sterile food supply is creating a sterile population, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

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Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama March 29, 2011 at 7:21 AM

When we first started drinking raw milk — despite that we had been on “real food” for nearly a year, including starting to drink kombucha and water kefir in recent months too (this being about a year ago) — we experienced minor stomach upset and other digestive symptoms. We knew this was from the probiotics and it cleared within a day or so and we drink as much as we want now (from the same source) with no issues at all.

I can imagine that people who eat SAD would experience an even stronger reaction and that they would worry and believe that something was “wrong” with the milk, when in fact, something was “wrong” with them!! I’m sure that’s a large contributor to the problem, though….

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Denise March 29, 2011 at 4:40 AM

Blaire, I totally agree! We need to stop worrying about bacteria! That’s why God made it microscopic! I didn’t realize how great raw milk and whey were for teeth until my husband and I went on vacation — 3 days without either and I got a toothache! Had to phone in for antibiotics. When I got back home, made sure I got whey everyday swished around in my mouth. Toothache hasn’t been back since and the dentist didn’t have to do a thing!

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Vesna March 29, 2011 at 7:37 AM

Thank you for a beautiful and moving article! I will recommend and share it.

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D. March 29, 2011 at 9:09 AM

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I wouldn’t pay one iota of attention to Tony’s rantings. He seems to know very little about anything, and less about WAPF. Don’t give him any more press.

And Brandy, the “cows were in the corn” because it rhymed with horn. It’s a nursery rhyme. Animals, cows included, know instinctively what’s good for them without the aid of man, and that would be grass and weeds and bugs, not grains or at least not primarily grains. We’ve done animals more harm than good by trying to “help” them.

Evelyn, I agree on the USDuh and the Food and Death Administration – both are clueless organizations. If something has “FDA Approval” I’m more likely to be wary of it than trusting of it, that’s for dern sure. Monsanto’s top three dudes are now the big boys at the FDA — what does that tell all of us?

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M4M May 26, 2013 at 11:19 PM

Cows, goats, horses, chickens, and pigs will invade a corn field, especially if it’s SWEET corn!

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RickF March 29, 2011 at 2:25 PM

We’ve been drinking the OP skim/whole milk (skim for now to save some $$) for a handful of months now.. I really enjoy it — it has a great flavor. We trek to downtown LA to their OPDC hub and buy 44 half gallons of milk and freeze it since I gather freezing does not hurt the good enzymes in the milk..

Unfortunately for me, I’ve been off of milk for 1 week since I’m trying a low-carb diet and the milk would raise my overall carb intake — perhaps sometime down the line!!

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mark mcafee March 29, 2011 at 4:54 PM

To be 100% clear…the FAQ at http://www.organicpastures.com are current and accurate. OPDC has choosen to pruchase cows rather than purchase ourtside organic raw milk from another dairy for making butter. Yes…it was partially because of Dr. Roses seizures that we stopped all outside sourcing of milk to make butter. When I used to take a call from a mom that was desparate for raw butter….what was I supposed to tell her…sorry, your son with Autism just has got to wait….we have no raw butter. When I was taking hundreds of these calls per month and we had no raw butter in 2007 we decided to purchase organic raw milk ( dairy direct ) and make butter. We stopped this practice after making a few batches and bought cows instead. We haev never ever kept this practice from our consumers. It is not a secret.

One more time….not one drop of OPDC milk has ever come from any other dairy. Not one drop ever. The FAQ answers every one of these questions openly and honestly.

It is sad that other California farmers can not rise to the occasion and produce organic raw milk for its citizens. We have had an open policy of sharing all of our information with any other farmer….no takers.

Raw milk is a different discipline. Managing the off farm part of the food chain is foreign and not something that most farmers are comfortable with. The risk issue is beyond their grasp.

Here is a link to another blogger that told her happy story at the Sacramento FM last weekend.

http://www.maggiesnest.org/2011/03/28/how-i-met-the-rock-star-of-the-raw-milk-revolution/#more-2004

All the best,

Mark McAfee

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Evelyn March 29, 2011 at 5:20 PM

Let me say, I am SO glad that you do what you do. I do think it could be better. BUT…. you are SO far above the milk that I (thru ignornace of a better way) fed my own children & what I drank as a child. Raw is SO much better! (I just also wish it was 100% ‘grass’ fed & A2.)

THANK YOU for making this available to the children of California!

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Alexey Zilber March 29, 2011 at 5:29 PM

Hi Mark,

Thank you for following up. My only real issue earlier with the FAQ was that the 2007 date should have been mentioned in both places just for clarification; since it opens the door to further questions when people like ‘Amanda G. Rose’ decide to unload. I think that I, as many parent always have a fear in the back of our minds about what we’re feeding the kids. Making sure it’s healthy, safe, etc.

What OPDC does for the community is fantastic, and I only wish your milk was sold in more places.

In other words, keep doing what you’re doing Mark. :)

Thanks!
Alex

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Lynn_M March 30, 2011 at 1:09 AM

I believe Cheeseslave correctly identified Tony on 3/25/11 9:45 pm as Tony Martin, father of Chris Martin. Concerned Person is almost certainly Mary McGonigle-Martin, Tony’s wife and Chris’ mother. Concerned Person has posted at The Complete Patient blog, and her posts are usually concerning Chris’ illness in some way. She vilifies Mark McAfee and fear-mongers about raw milk. There are voluminous posts about the case at that blog.

Informed is most probably Melissa Herzog, mother of Lauren. Chris and Lauren were both hospitalized at the same time and place with E. coli O157:H7 for two months in 2006. Their ordeal sounds like it was extremely painful and horrendous, and the children may have permanent kidney damage.

The Martins and Herzogs, through their attorney Bill Marler, reached a settlement with Mark and Organic Pastures in April 2009. The settlement imposes limits on what the parties can say.

Mary purchased OP milk for Chris, thinking it might help his allergies. His illness developed a few days after his first exposure to OP milk. Lauren was exposed to OP milk provided by her father’s girlfriend while Lauren was with visiting her father, his girlfriend, and the girlfriend’s sons. She drank the milk with the others but she was the only one that got sick.

Chris and Lauren nearly died. The Martins and Herzogs attack the man they feel is responsible and attack the product that they believe caused the problem. Their anger is righteous and personal.

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Bethany July 12, 2011 at 5:57 AM

wow…..

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Bethany July 12, 2011 at 5:57 AM

it’s too bad they have a vendeda

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Erica March 30, 2011 at 6:27 AM

“Grain and Kelp are WAAAYYY different!!!!”

Yes, Evelyn, I do understand that grain and kelp are totally different (lol). I just always thought that, historically speaking, cows needed a supplement of a very small portion of grain in their diet in certain parts of the world. I honestly don’t know what cows need other than grass/hay. I hope someone who is an expert on cows or a dairy farmer could clarify this for me.

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Evelyn March 30, 2011 at 8:38 AM

The only other things they need, if kept naturally are water & minerals. My cattle get kelp, but no grain. This time of year, when the grass is just starting to grow, they go wild over the kelp. I have one cow, that will get pinkeye every time she’s without kelp for a week. Kelp provides many of the minerals needed for a healthy immune system.

Meat cattle are given grain because it puts fat on them, just like it does us. It’s not a good fat, but the commerical meat producers don’t care about your health, there are plenty of consumers growing up every day to take your place in the grocery checkout line. Dairy cattle get grain because they’ve been bred to give so much milk that they’ll loose weight if they don’t get the concentrated nutrition. The grasses goes to the milk, if they don’t get good enough grass, they’ll lower production. Grain goes to the body, if they don’t get grain (while producing so much milk) they’ll loose weight.
Dairy animals are just bred these days to give an unnatural amount of milk. That’s why a Holstein can’t live on grass alone, even a steer. They are just bred so that their metabilism requires grain. The older breeds that produce a goodly amount of milk, but are not a teat w/ legs, produce milk on grass just fine. My Irish Dexters never need grain. But, many dairy animals do. Their milk isn’t of as high a quality, but the animal does need it.
I was willing to drink milk from cows who got a limited amount of grain. I do understand that a limited amount is not going to be that bad. It will displace ‘grass’ & the milk won’t have as much CLA*. But, I’d guess these cows really do need it. After all, this is a commercial enterprise. They have to make money off what they sell & that’s much harder to do if the animals aren’t producing as much milk, land taxes in California could kill an enterprise! My cows will never give as much as a commercial dairy breed but they give what they do on grass only, it’s all in the genetics. I’d rather have high quality milk, but I don’t run a commercial dairy.

*As a terminal cancer patient, CLA is critically important to me. If you don’t know what it is… you need to find out too.

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Brandy @ Afterthoughts March 30, 2011 at 10:22 AM

Evelyn, I have wanted a Dexter for a long time, and you are really making me wish we owned a full-sized farm so that I could have one!

Sigh…

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Evelyn March 30, 2011 at 6:19 PM

They don’t need much land. In Ireland, they were a peasant’s cow. You can keep 3-5 Dexters in the same space it would take for one of a larger breed.
I just got back from the Oncologist…. i”m cleared to go back to the farm!!! It’ll take a few days to get gone.

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Erica March 30, 2011 at 2:32 PM

Thanks Evelyn!

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D. March 30, 2011 at 10:26 AM

To tell you the honest truth, I have NO idea what Robert is talking about. Seriously, I have no idea. He sent me a personal email and asked for the address to my forum. I sent it to him and then he came back here and said he didn’t feel he should join because I corrected someone’s spelling and he felt, I guess, that was not a Christian thing to do. I’m sorry if I offended anyone and that wasn’t my intent. My intent was merely to say I would rather have advice from people who at least knew enough about the subject to spell it correctly.

So Robert, if you decide you don’t want to come to my forum because I’m a “bad” administrator because I corrected someone’s spelling, you are welcomed not to join there. It was you who asked. If I have offended YOU in any way, you’ll have to excuse me. I’m not exactly sure what I did to provoke Robert to this degree, but it musta been something I missed!

Sorry to take up Anne’s comment space for this. I’m still in the dark. . .

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Lynn_M March 30, 2011 at 12:37 PM

I want to amplify on my comment about the Martins and Herzogs a bit. I had composed another comment prior to the one that got posted here, but it disappeared after I hit submit, and it was way past time I should have been in bed, so I winged a shorter comment than what I had originally composed.

By saying that their anger was righteous, I wasn’t trying to say that their actions and words now are justified. I was trying to explain their circumstances and motivation. They appear to be consumed with a righteous anger, and I think they want to save anyone else that will listen from what happened to them and from the “folly” of drinking raw milk. Their motivation is more honorable than that of a Marler employee, a troll, or a government agent.

As for me, I’ve been drinking raw milk kefir and making my own raw milk/cream soft cheeses, butter, and ice cream since 2001.

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Tony March 30, 2011 at 3:10 PM

I love raw milk!

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Concerned Person March 30, 2011 at 3:29 PM

Yea me too! Go raw milk!

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Informed March 30, 2011 at 4:02 PM

I love my milk raw!

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Erica March 30, 2011 at 4:05 PM

Well, I’m glad all three of you have listened to the truth!

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Sue March 31, 2011 at 6:12 AM

If we stop responding to them, do you think they will get the hint and go away?

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Erica March 31, 2011 at 8:38 AM

It seems like they love raw milk now. They have finally looked into the truth.

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Bethany July 12, 2011 at 5:53 AM

yaa raw milk….

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Betsy March 31, 2011 at 8:15 AM

I live in Nebraska and while there are a few farms that sell raw milk (it’s illegal here to sell off-site, farmers can only sell on the farm direct to consumer and they aren’t allowed to advertise), none are close to where I live and I just can’t afford to drive a 300 mile round trip once a week for milk. I hope this raw milk movement keeps gaining momentum and more farmers join the bandwagon so more sources become available. I’ll be sharing this blog link on Facebook and my blog.

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D. March 31, 2011 at 9:40 AM

Betsy, even though you don’t want to make that long trip each week, you should still contact one of the local dairy farmers. They may be able to tell you if someone else from your area is buying milk and you could arrange a “carpool” type situation. That’s how we started out, until we found a farmer who lived closer to us. It couldn’t hurt to check.

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Kate April 19, 2011 at 7:05 PM

Betsy, where about in Nebraska. I’m in Nebraska too and I know a few farmers that sell from the farm as well as have drop off sites for their regular milk customers.

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Lynn_M April 19, 2011 at 9:26 PM

Kate,

I live in western Nebraska. I don’t think it’s appropriate for you to mention on a public forum that you know farmers that have drop off sites for their regular milk customers, since that is not legal in Nebraska and only invites enforcement action. I think the Nebraska law needs to be changed to allow deliveries to a customer as well as on-farm sales, but until it is, let’s keep those activities below the radar. I also request that the moderator remove both Kate’s and my posts.

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D. April 20, 2011 at 7:01 AM

@Lynn_M: Believe me, the feds already know who is involved and who isn’t. There is no “below the radar”.

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Erica April 20, 2011 at 7:07 AM

LOL! So true D. Big Brother is definitely watching everyone whether they like it or not. We have more than enough good technology for them to do just that.

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Lynn_M April 20, 2011 at 3:00 PM

D and Erica,

Maybe so, but maybe they’re not as totally omniscient as you imply. Let’s not make it any easier for them by acting like they know it all anyway so it doesn’t matter what you say.

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Erica April 20, 2011 at 4:10 PM

Hi Lynn,

I was just being sarcastic and funny, lol. Of course they don’t know it all.

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Erica April 20, 2011 at 4:28 PM

However, since more and more people are starting to switch to raw milk, I think there will be far more raids in the future on our raw dairy farmers, and a close eye on who’s selling raw dairy products. Large corporations are very angry with the traditional food movement that is spreading rapidly throughout the country. They will certainly do what it takes for us to perpetually spend our money on their junk (shouldn’t be labeled as food).

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Kate April 20, 2011 at 6:26 AM

Oh, so sorry, Betsy. I didn’t mean drop off sites literally. Someone still has to go to the farm and get the milk, but brings it back for a group of people. They take turns – a coop sort of. I hope no offense was taken and I certainly didn’t mean to imply that anyone was breaking the law – because they aren’t. Again, my apologies.

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Lynn_M April 20, 2011 at 2:55 PM

Kate,
Thanks for clarifying. No offense taken. I just think we need to be sensitive about what is said on forums.

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Dan April 18, 2011 at 11:14 PM

Although California has great weather, I can tell you that the dairy farmers in California have a powerful lobby. They have managed to isolate their industry by pushing for laws that require certain additives that other states do not require and are not supported by health professionals. Just be cautious before you chose California dairy over a competitor because most of it is hype.

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Denise April 19, 2011 at 2:21 PM

What kind of additives? To the cow’s feed? Sounds scary!

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Love to Cook April 19, 2011 at 7:08 PM

Ok, I’m sold on the benefits of Raw Milk. I have given up drinking milk pretty much, except for my half & half (which I get at Whole Foods, comes from Amish Farmers in Eastern Iowa – love it, but it is gently pasturized). I would love to make some motz cheese with raw milk. I am going to look through your blog/website to maybe find a method. Thanks so much for this site – I just found it today and am very excited!

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Denise April 20, 2011 at 4:25 AM

Love to Cook, we make cheese from raw milk, its pretty easy and really delicious, a soft cheese suitable for spreading or even making cheesecake! You make curds and whey, which means leave the milk out on the counter for about 4 days or until it separates. Then you strain the curds out with cheesecloth. Don’t throw out the whey, its great for a lot of things! Once you have the curds in the cheesecloth, it will still be pretty wet, so shape it nicely and then leave it bunched over something where it can keep draining. I can’t remember how long my husband left it like that, maybe a couple of hours. When you unwrap it, you will have a pretty and delicious cheese wheel!

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D. April 20, 2011 at 6:58 AM

@Denise: isn’t what you’re describing (the end product after you drain the whey) actually cream cheese? That’s what we call it. It’s a soft, spreadable cheese anyhow. We mix herbs and some sea salt, or else some strawberries and honey or some other fruit and put it on a sourdough wheat cracker.

Also, I’m having a hard time figuring out what you mean when you say “bunched”. I usually leave some of it in the cheesecloth to continue dripping more whey until it’s quite dry, but that will take several hours, total. Still sorta like cream cheese, just a little more dry and can be used in lasagna or stuffed manicotti, etc.

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cheeseslave April 20, 2011 at 10:46 AM

Here’s how to make “cream cheese” and whey:

http://www.cheeseslave.com/2009/05/01/how-to-make-whey/

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D. April 20, 2011 at 1:26 PM

Yes, I know how to make cream cheese and whey. Been doing it myself for over 35 years and helped make it when I was a kid, too. We call the process of letting the milk reach room temp for several days *coddling* whereas you call it separating. To a farm girl, separating is what you do with raw milk in order to get the cream, so even though the terms are somewhat interchangeable, they mean something entirely different.

Denise mentioned ending up with a cheese wheel, and that’s not what I end up with when I drain the whey. Of course it depends on how long you let it drain, too. The longer it drains the drier the cheesey part will be. Somewhat moist will be like cream cheese, drier will be like ricotta. Is this not the experiences you have when you make it? Maybe I’ve been doing it all wrong for 35+ years!

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Bethany July 12, 2011 at 5:50 AM

thanks for the link !

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Erica July 12, 2011 at 6:05 AM

Yea, I love cream cheese. I just need to wait on the waiting list for my raw milk. I think I’m the 4th one waiting so far… :)

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mindymayhem May 30, 2011 at 2:41 AM

I was annoyed by the “99% of California dairies are family owned” claim on a California cheese commercial (I found this statistic incredibly misleading), so I googled it and found this post. I’ve now been reading all the comments for a silly amount of time, and am convinced I need to give raw milk a try!

I was vegan for 9 years, and I’m not sure if I lost my taste for milk during that time or what, but I still use soymilk for almost everything but a select few recipes I’m afraid will be botched. (I do eat dairy foods, if not totally organic, then at the very least, r-BGH free.)

Luckily for me, one of the commenters mentioned getting raw milk at Sprouts in Seal Beach, and that is very near to me, so I already know I can get my mitts on it!

If I had the money to do it, I’d just buy some land and live off of it, mostly. I honestly think about moving to my dad’s (population 500) hometown in Kansas to do exactly that, but the loneliness as an atheist, leftist thinker, and genuine animal lover would probably drive me a little insane! (They can’t even comprehend having an indoor pet.)

I love this blog, the pictures, the comments… Everything! I plan on visiting the associated links and following up. Thanks so much for the information!

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Jill C June 2, 2011 at 1:09 PM

Wow! Impressive thread! I believe that the cows are kept locked up so that they don’t have to bring them in from pasture in order to milk them. It is something that is impossible to do when you have 2000 “happy” cows. Unless you have to foresight to build a mobile milker. But even then, 2000 cows would be tough. Which is why small-scale farming works better. The farmer I buy from has two cows, which they milk by hand. Those cows serve about 20 families and their milk is absolutely delicious! Also – has anyone else noticed this? I don’t have to shake the milk as often in the summer, sometimes it stayes “hand-homogenized” for more than 24 hours, which is usually longer than we can get a half gallon to last.
My apologies to “D.” in advance in case I made any spelling or grammatical errors.

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Jill C June 2, 2011 at 1:17 PM

By the way, is this a record long response for you?

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Bethany July 12, 2011 at 5:47 AM

So thankful I have a source of good fresh raw milk….thanks for the article on this topic, it never ceases to amaze me.

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Saba November 18, 2011 at 12:33 PM

This is terrible. As a woman, how can you possibly find it okay to suck on another woman´s nipples? That is what youre doing, whether it´s indirectly or not. There aint nothing nutritious about dairy either… I can give you a link to a site that exposes the effect of dairy on the bones – dairy can actually cause osteoporosis.

It´s awful to see someone be so brainwashed, but not only that, but also actually promote this horrible pus-filled drink that is unfit for human beings. Yes, milk contains pus. Over 130 million pus cells. That´s like drinking pimples!

However since you do not seem to care about your own health at all, could you even consider thinking about the ethical point of view on this? Those mothers are standing lined up somewhere, inside, which is not where they are supposed to be, and they are being basically raped so that they will give birth and create milk. For you guys. All their lives, that is what they do. Give birth, have their baby taken away, get milked and repeat. They are slaves.

I dont understand how you guys just think it´s completely normal to eat animals and their by-products, how you just allow all of that propaganda in to your brain and never stop and think “Oh wait, I´m not a calf, so maybe I shouldnt be drinking milk?”. Human milk for humans, cow´s milk for calves. Go vegan and no one gets hurt. Sounds good to me. I mean why cause unnecessary suffering to anyone? You wouldnt buy dairy if it were from factory farmed human mothers from somewhere like the Philippines, right?

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Raluca Schachter November 18, 2011 at 3:52 PM

To Saba – I suggest you read The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith – a former vegan..and you’ll hopefully understand….

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Jill C November 19, 2011 at 11:32 AM

Saba, as a woman, I did once suck on another woman’s nipples. My mother’s. I don’t remember it well, but I turned out okay.

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cheeseslave November 19, 2011 at 12:58 PM

“Go vegan and no one gets hurt.”

Veganism is not sustainable. We need animal manure for crops. If you think you can grow crops without animal manure, think again. Oh sure you can do it with synthetic fertilizers made from fossil fuels but how is that sustainable?

If we all lived like vegans, we wouldn’t even have cows or other animals — they would die out. Besides, how are cows hurt by being milked?

And people are hurt by practicing veganism. It’s unhealthy for humans and makes us sick. Read The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith.

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Cathy November 19, 2011 at 10:30 AM

Dear Saba,
I totally get your point of view completely. Yet, I think you are barking up the wrong tree here. Let me explain. From everything I’ve researched regarding pasteurized milk, you are absolutely correct that it causes osteoporosis, as well as a host of other ills to humankind. The key word is pasteurization, because humans have only been pasteurizing milk since the 1930’s on, and even back then it wasn’t as common as it is now. Previously, humans had been consuming milk and milk products for thousands of years with strong bones and teeth to show for it. I’ll spare you the rest of that history lesson, but here’s a great link that further discusses this history of milk and humans: http://www.raw-milk-facts.com/milk_history.html In addition to pasteurization of milk in recent years, the diet and living condition of cattle in conventional dairies as well as CAFO’s (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations better known as feedlots) has rapidly gone down hill. It’s not natural for milk to be full of pus, and you are right, the thought of drinking it is down right horrible (Makes me want to vomit!). The reason for all of that pus is unnatural living conditions (some of what you described in your comment); including a diet in grains and high-starch that literally makes the animals sick, hence the pus and high white blood cell count. Cows eating a diet of grass and living in more natural environments simply do not have pus in their milk, period, because they are healthy (and happy, I would further say). The milk that this website and this particular blog is supporting is grass-fed, raw (unpastuerized) and the cows are raised as naturally as possible, living in a pasture environment. In response to your comments on the ethics of eating meat and drinking milk, I also completely resonate, although I both eat meat and consume dairy products. Sounds hypocritical, doesn’t it? Let me explain. The only meat I eat and milk I consume is from grass-fed, pastured animals living in natural environments. I live in an agricultural area of Colorado, and believe me, it makes me ill to drive past all of the feedlots and conventional dairies out here with animals standing knee deep in their own foul excrement, the air thick with the stench of manure. Kind of like Calcutta, India for animals instead of humans. Extremely unhealthy, and not right: for the welfare of the animals, the health of the humans who will be consuming those animals or their byproducts, and awful for the environment. I think from an ethical standpoint of animal welfare if one can not get their hands (due to lack of access or lack of $$$$) on naturally raised, 100% grass-fed meat and dairy, then indeed going vegan is the right thing to do. However, from what I’ve read there can be dietary challenges that come with choosing a vegan diet. Because humans are inherently omnivore by nature (just check out our teeth structure and intestinal make up if in question), many people can’t stay healthy long term on a diet without animal fats or proteins, although it does seem to vary from individual to individual, depending on hereditary makeup and probably a host of other variables. The second issue with a vegan diet is one of environmental sustainability. A vegan diet by nature is very heavy in foodstuffs that depend on tilling of the ground and intensive fertilization. Without animals providing manure for that fertilizer (which is how food in the store labeled “Organic” is fertilized for the most part), the only other option for fertilization is with petroleum products, certainly NOT a sustainable option. Additionally, land that is tilled for grain production is much more destructive environmentally (causes erosion, and decrease in soil health, etc) rather than land kept in pasture for grazing of grass-fed animals. I am sure you’ve heard the figures stating with the grain it takes to feed a cow vs. the grain you could be feeding humans; it’s close to a 7:1 ratio. When looking at those stats it would seem a no-brainer: feed people with the grain, not the animals! ESPECIALLY because cattle shouldn’t be fed grain in the first place. Literally, it makes them ill if they get it in anything more than small amounts (hence the pus-filled milk, and a host of other bacterial infections that get passed onto humans). A balance of grain being raised solely for human consumption and 100% grass-fed cattle in on pasture raised for beef, milk and manure production would be a great compromise, although the cheap, unhealthy beef that makes the Big Mac possible would not longer be a possibility. But, I digress! Some great resources that tackle these topics are the following books: Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollen, “Folks, This Ain’t Normal” by Joel Salatin, and “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver as well as the documentary, “Food, Inc.” Lastly, I know you addressed that it was wrong and cruel for cows to be bred every year against their wills, and then milked, again, against their wills, almost like slaves or concubines. My question to you is what do compatible animals do on their own and in the wild, if left to their own devices? Out here in Colorado, we’ve got a lot of elk, which are similar to cattle in many ways, being ruminants and mostly existing in a small herd environment. The cow elk do indeed breed every year, by their own choice. With cows, we just facilitate the process a little more, and share a momma cow’s milk with her calf, because dairy cows have been bred to produce more milk than their calves need. Cattle and dairy cows who are grass fed and raised in pasture have a very natural life- not much different than the elk out here! As for eating beef, I think if a cow or steer could choose to die slowly and painfully like an elk might from a mountain lion’s attack in the wild vs. a quick and painless death by a blow to the head like a steer might experience, I am guessing they would choose the blow to the head (I would!). I don’t know for what reasons you have decided to become a vegan, I know there could be many. I would love to hear more of your story and thoughts, so if you are interested in further dialoging, please respond and we can exchange emails!

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Kristen Papac November 26, 2011 at 12:58 PM

Just to add ONE more comment to this voluminous comment section, here is a video tour of the two certified Raw Milk dairies in CA: Organic Pastures Dairy, a large 450+ cow raw dairy, and Claravale, a 60 or so cow operation.
http://www.healthytraditions.com/blog/post.cfm/certified-raw-milk-in-california-visits-to-the-two-raw-milk-dairies

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Sam April 7, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Milk, to drink or not to drink? My son is a toddler and I must feed him milk. Now what type of milk is the next question. Must be organic of course, and pastured. From which farm?

Well, after extensive research the best would be from a farm that predominately have the guernsey breed, which by far produces A2 milk. Look up A1 vs A2 milk people, and note A1 milk is linked to autism, schizophrenia, coronary disease and diabetes. Holstein breeds make more than 90 percent of the milk produced in the US and produces the highest content of dangerous A1 milk. No thanks to Holsteins, which can be identified as the black and white cows. Then you have the jersey breed, which makes up the second highest A1 milk, no thanks!

Now where in California can I buy guernsey milk? They have it available in the Seattle area but not in CA. What is a father to do? I believe the best decision a parent in my situation can make is buy goat milk, then you do not have the concern with the venomous A1 milk. However, goat milk is five bucks for a quarter of a gallon, it is just so hard.

Breed info A1 vs A2
http://www.windsordairy.com/articles/a1-and-a2-milk.html

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Dora May 4, 2013 at 4:42 PM

I was considering buying a guernsey a few years back and the only guernsey milk around here goes into cheese, because, they told me it’s orange! I guess it has a high Vit A content. That’s just what they told me.

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LilKoot April 15, 2012 at 10:56 AM

Its very commen to see cream colored (jersy and brown swiss) at indutrial farms more because of a few reasons. 1, cream colored cows like jersys are usually easy to breed. 2, they are the cheepest kind usually. 3, they are for some odd reason, the best producers of milk usually.

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Marie Porter September 15, 2012 at 9:50 AM

I don’t eat animal products, I am vegan, but if I did…I think I would prefer raw dairy. I don’t like the big corporate dairy farms and factory farms, they look so unhealthy and abused..and those cows with abnormally big udders is disturbing, does this not effect the cows joints? how in the world can the cow carry ALL that weight from the milk without hurting them…..its makes me sad when I drive by these farms and the over-crowding, filth. the farms also stink from the cow’s poop….its not like that in natural farms. I think you guys are doing a good job, and seems like you are a threat to the un-natural farms.

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cheeseslave September 15, 2012 at 10:36 AM

@Marie Porter

Thanks for your comment. This is exactly why I buy all of our dairy products from farms who raise their animals on pasture. We can make a difference if we are conscientious about the food we buy.

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Dora May 4, 2013 at 4:39 PM

A few things, When you compare the size of the udders the OP cow looks like it was just barely milked. I have read of family cows giving 56 pounds of milk right after freshening. At approximately 8 pounds per gallon that would be 7 gallons, so it’s not that hard to imagine a 3.5 gallon udder. I’m just sayin’.

I just googled it and the cows weigh from 800 to 1200 pounds so I’m am guessing that the weight of the milk, approximately 25 or so pounds which is pretty much always coming and going doesn’t bother them. It’s what they do, I doubt it bothers that much.

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forgotmyusername April 1, 2013 at 4:37 PM

Hi Ann,

What are your thoughts on Organic Pasture’s milk coming from a mix of Holsteins and Jerseys? I live in Oakland, Ca and my two options are drinking OP or Claravale Farms. Claravale is more pricey, but I think it’s because their cows are all Jerseys. I’ve tried both brands and I honestly can’t taste a difference. Not enough, at least for me, to pay more for less (a quart vs. half gallon). But, I keep reading over and over again that only jerseys and guernseys produce A2 protein that’s associated with the health benefits of raw milk. It’s all so confusing…wondering which you would pick between the two.

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Kristina May 4, 2013 at 4:13 PM

Great article! My family will never use pasteurized dairy again, even if we have to milk our own cows!

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Dora May 4, 2013 at 4:35 PM

When you compare the size of the udders the OP cow looks like it was just barely milked. I have read of family cows giving 56 pounds of milk right after freshening. At approximately 8 pounds per gallon that would be 7 gallons, so it’s not that hard to imagine a 3.5 gallon udder. I’m just sayin’.

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Dora May 4, 2013 at 4:56 PM

I want to have a cow so bad I can taste it! Actually I can’t taste it but I wish I could!!!!

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Darla August 29, 2013 at 12:10 PM

Just have to say that my mother has a cow with an udder that nearly drags the ground. Make no mistake these are grass fed and only for raising beef. Even with only half her bag producing she still raises 3-4 calves at a time. Just saying that the size of the udder has everything to do with genetics and the selection process over many years. Oh yeah, our cows are all grass fed beef. We are a hobby farm for our own consumption.

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Alvin Kim April 16, 2014 at 12:49 PM

I see.. That answers my question. In the video from the Organic Pastures farm there is a cow with the same abnormally big udder that appears around 1:06 standing on the way left side. I was curious as to why OP would have such kind of a cow because the writer stated that an unusually large udder can be from hormone injection. Thanks for sharing your knowledge to all of us!

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www.abcdistributing.com December 5, 2013 at 2:14 PM

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Alvin Kim April 16, 2014 at 12:41 PM

You showed us a picture of the cow from the conventional from with the unusually big udder and said that it was unhealthy for it to be that way, but I saw a cow from the Organic Pastures farm with the same udder in your video (1:06 on the way left.)

Why do you think it is that way? Is that a sign of bad health?

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