While my personal view may have been rather subtle in last week’s article, I do have opinions about dairy. And as a family, we know why we choose raw grass-fed milk. I grew up on raw milk—goat milk. My parents were probably already on the lunatic fringe then (which explains why Esther and I have become complete lunaticsJ), but we always had a few milk goats in the pasture on our tiny four acre farmstead where my father had his cabinetry business. And during the winter when the goats ceased milking (goats kid—and milk—seasonally), we would purchase raw cow’s milk from a neighboring dairy farm.
So we drank raw goats milk, and liked it (even when our friends thought it to be loathsome). When I was in my teens my parent’s discovered the Weston A. Price Foundation, and decided they wanted to make butter. Because goat’s milk is naturally homogenized (the cream doesn’t separate from the skim) they sold the goats and purchased a cow. We immediately fell in love with the cow, liked her milk, and were awed by the golden yellow butter we were able to make from the cream. And 20 years later, not only do I still love milk, but also love cows, and against the odds, have become a dairy farmer. However, true to our identity, our dairy venture is very much on the lunatic edge where milk is produced not from cows fed grains, soy, and antibiotics for the sole sake of maximum production with minimal input, but is produced from perennial grasses for the sake of utmost quality and optimal yield.
Like I mentioned last week, numerous organizations such as PETA and HSUS, along with thousands of individuals, are very opposed to dairy (and beef, for that matter). To be honest, I agree with them in their opposition to commercialized dairy as it has become in the greater dairy industry. However, I feel they err in their condemnation of dairy by failing to consider the various production protocols implemented.
As humans, our health has a direct relation to the soil on which our food is grown. What’s more, if we consume too many highly processed foods made from artificial ingredients having marginal connection to soil, our health declines accordingly. It’s an irrefutable fact that the majority of the soils of the USA have become a mere shadow of their former vibrancy. Most of that is due to the ongoing practice of monocropping as well as the uninhibited use of synthetic fertilizers and chemical pesticides and herbicides, all of which destroys soil microbiology on which natural fertility and carbon breakdown depends.
That grass and cattle can be managed to complement one another is a little known fact today, nor are people thinking about the fact that the great soils of the Americas were built with grazing herbivores and grass. The reality that milk from cattle feeding solely on perennial grasses is one of the most complete and healthy foods is even less known.
Milk has become demonized in recent years—and perhaps rightly so, given the rise of highly industrialized dairy “factories”. Big Food now promotes highly processed “milk” made from soy, almond, or coconut on the premise of it being a healthy and/or humane alternative, and attract thousands to the unsustainable vegan table. The masses fail to recognize these alternatives for what they are—i.e., Big Food’s craving for new hype due to milk falling out of consumer favor. And no surprise, given the lack of flavor and palate satisfaction of the pasteurized, homogenized, industrialized, fortified, reduced fare it has become. All boast aside, grass-fed raw milk remains an age-old natural product, is healthier, more humane, enhances ecology, allows cows to be cows, and above all, tastes like real milk. That’s my raw opinion, and this is The View from the Country.
P.S. Click here for a detailed list of the real-life difference between status quo dairy and real milk.