Raw Rebel

I had a big glass of the white stuff last night. Pure, unfiltered. It tasted like lawbreaking. Which is funny, because it’s not technically illegal in California. You can pick it up in select grocery stores, or fresh from the source.

It all came about because Peaches and I went to Elephant Pharmacy so that she could pick some things up. Elephant is a pretty cool place…they have lots of natural, organic, tasty stuff. And…I noticed that they sell raw milk. I couldn’t resist buying a bottle of it, and as soon as I got home, I cracked the top on my bottle of Claravale Diary whole raw milk. Puff looked askance at me, taken in by corporate dairy rhetoric about the “dangers” of raw milk.

I poured myself a small glass, and started sipping.

Because it’s March, I suppose it would be classified as winter milk. The milk certainly didn’t have the grassy, floral flavor that it will attain later in the summer, but it did taste more fresh. Richer, as well, thanks to the cream on top. There were faint hints of hay, and the milk had the full bodied, fresh from the cow feeling that I remember from my childhood. It tasted like…milk.

What’s the deal with raw milk?

I grew up drinking it, thanks to having ready access to milk producing animals like goats, sheep, and horses. Raw milk is exactly what it sounds like: fresh milk from healthy animals, delivered directly from the udder to the bottle to you. Raw milk is not pasteurized, meaning that it has not been flash cooked, removing a lot of essential nutrients along with the risk for potential bacterial infection. It also is not homogenized, so the milk has all of its component parts, and, yes, the cream rises to the top. Because that’s what happens with normal milk. Nothing is added to raw milk, and nothing is taken away. The milk is often organic, and it comes from a conscientiously run dairy with clean, healthy cows. Dairies that sell raw milk are also subject to stringent USDA inspection to protect consumers, which is something I am ok with: milk is kind of a petri dish for bacteria, and can pose a serious risk if not handled with care.

Raw milk, and the debate over it have also been in the news a lot lately. An indicator of how popular it is becoming, how concerned conventional dairy is, and how the USDA/FDA are fretting.

My stance on raw milk is that it is delicious, superior to conventional milk, and should be made readily available. Nothing beats raw milk for flavor and nutrition. States which have banned raw milk should reconsider their bans, because people are going to seek it out anyway, and potentially put themselves at higher risk. Coat hanger abortions…back alley raw milk sales. Legalization opens the doors to regulation, which I think is a good thing in this instance. Consumers can make an educated decision about whether or not they want to drink it on their own…they do not need a nanny state to tell them what to do.

I’m hoping that the frequency of occurrence of raw milk in the news will intrigue consumers. Perhaps some will even go out and try it, or try to learn more about it. And perhaps, someday soon, there will be a raw revolution. Pasteurized milk will become the lesser known substance, while the rest of us cavort in green fields with unicorns, hoisting glasses of foamy, fresh, cool raw milk aloft to the heavens.

[raw milk]