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Where can I get my hands on some raw milk?

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The Kefir question on this board made me curious. After some research and having a drink of TJ's Kefir drink, I moved onto the quest of obtaining some raw milk for possibly culturing some Kefir (or at least drink it to see what the excitement is all about.)

If I would like to get my hands on about half a gallon of organic raw milk around the metro DC region, what's the easiest legal way of doing so? I am in Montgomery county Maryland...
Are there any farm markets on this side of Virginia that sells them? Or are there some other sources even closer and easier without having to own a portion of a cow?

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  1. I've been vaguely looking at this for the last year and legally - I don't think you can - even the cow-share option is coming under scrutiny.

    now if you were able to make contact with a farmer who 'gave' or bartered some, well that's different.

    1. I feel like I've seen this at the Dupont Farmer's Market in the past.

      1. You might want to contact South Mountain Creamery and they may be able to help you...

        http://www.southmountaincreamery.com/...

        1 Reply
        1. re: Smiles2008

          Check out the following site:

          www.westonaprice.org

          Contact one of the Alexandria or DC Chapter leaders. They will give you instructions.

        2. Cfoodie, isn't that dangerous? (A'la Louis Pasteur...anthrax...cow pox...etc??)

          3 Replies
          1. re: Sean D

            Thanks for the info from all of you. At least, I got some good lead on some good pasturized milk. I guess I'll have to contact the Weston Price foundation and perhaps go to PA to pick up some. Perhaps the conclusion may be that they taste similar to the "good" non-homogenized pasturized milk. However, live to eat....

            Sean, I don't know the answer to that. All I know is, the stuff I am drinking has rbst, homromnes and chemicals. The older folks used to drink it...and today it's probably easier to go to the hospital and get it over with if I get infected from some of these buggers... I surely won't feed these to my kids, but hey, I wanna try some...

            1. re: cfoodie

              You can buy non-homogenized milk in MD in stores. Trickling Springs Creamery (at MOM's Organic Market, Roots, etc has milk in glass bottles with thick layers of cream on top. Very old fashioned. It is pasteurized. South Mountain Creamery has the same thing, but it's more expensive.

              Organic milk is free of growth hormones and antibiotics.

              For raw milk in MD you will need to join a milk share program, where you essentially buy part of the cow and get the milk for free. Here's a list of milk share programs in MD, it might be out of date.

              http://www.ediblechesapeake.com/conte...

            2. re: Sean D

              I drank raw milk for years as a kid b/c my mom didn't want me to drink the store bought stuff and I never had a problem other than my friends thinking it was weird.

            3. Raw milk is not legal in DC, VA and MD. You might want to check out some resources in PA. That would be your closest (legal) bet.
              Raw milk is not sold at the Dupont market, but there is AMAZING milk and chocolate milk to be had.
              You could also research the underground networks which source raw milk via the "black market".
              www.houndstootgourmet.com

              7 Replies
              1. re: monavano

                This past weekend I noticed some unpasteurized and unhomogenized milk at a stand in the Reading Terminal Market in Philly. I know that's a haul from DC, but you could get a decent roast pork sandwich from Dinic's and and solid Italian hoagie from Salumeria while you're there!

                1. re: aburkavage

                  That's at the Fair Food Farmstand: see post here
                  http://houndstoothgourmet.com/fair-fo...

                  1. re: monavano

                    That's the one! How good are those roast pork sandwiches from Dinic's?!

                    1. re: aburkavage

                      How good? I never miss a chance to get one when I'm in town, even choosing a roast pork over a cheesesteak if I have to. That good! Of course, I get it with sharp provolone and rabe.

                      1. re: monavano

                        I'm not ashamed to admit that I'd take a roast pork with sharp prov and greens or rabe over a cheesesteak 10 times out of 10!

                        1. re: aburkavage

                          I hereby propose a moratorium on any further references to italian pork and rabe on this board until such time as Tony Luke's opens up a branch here on DC, since every time someone mentions them, I find myself trying to think of excuses to head up to Philly.

                          1. re: sweth

                            what more of an excuse does one need? boss out of the office - long lunch or off-site staff meeting. 10 - 4 done.

              2. Educate me, someone. What is the attraction/advantage of raw milk? (I've never even heard of it, until this forum.)

                1. Here's an excellent site-The Bovine
                  http://thebovine.wordpress.com/

                  1. I think a lot of the hysteria surrounding raw milk has much to do with the commercial milk industry and even the Dairy Council. It's better for large commerce that consumers fear small farms and buying direct. This way both the consumers and dairy farmers are beholden to the commercial dairies.

                    Truth is, you're going to get a better quality product when you work with small creameries or farms who produce quality milk. I've drank milk literally straight from the cow and it can be delicious. However, for the quantity of milk that I need to procure, it isn't always convenient to do business this way - nor is it legal in Maryland to sell "raw" milk.

                    If you're looking for great milk that isn't necessarily "raw," I strongly recommend Trickling Springs Creamery out of Chambersburg, PA. Even though they are a bit away, their distribution network makes it easier to find their product in both the Baltimore and DC metro areas.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: onocoffee

                      South Mountain Creamery DELIVERS!!! Go to their website and input your zipcode to see if they deliver to your area. I prefer Trickling Springs, but can only find it at MOM's and Lewis' Orchard. South Mountain brings their lusciousness right to my door.

                    2. I belong to a raw milk co-op (one of several in the area). They get their milk from PA farmers. It is technically illegal, but seriously... it's milk. I grew up drinking raw milk, and it tastes SO much better than store-bought milk. It is also much healthier than pasteurized milk -- see http://www.raw-milk-facts.com/raw_mil.... The co-ops are all word-of-mouth. You need to find someone who is already in the co-op to join. The Weston Price Foundation might be able to hook you up. Lots of folks in the co-op follow their diet.

                      11 Replies
                      1. re: amymon

                        So, the consensus here is that raw milk is desirable primarily for taste?

                        1. re: Sean D

                          I wouldn't completely agree with that. I feel like I'm a bit lactose intolerant and I had a glass a couple of years ago with no repercussions. Plus, people think that it helps kids be more healthy since the pasteurization kills some helpful bacteria as well.
                          I would get some if I could find any....and hide it from my wife.

                          1. re: Fuzzydave

                            With all this talk about the wonders of raw milk, it's important to remember that you can get listeria, salmonella, and other nasty bacterial infections from drinking raw milk. It is definitely not a good idea for anyone with a compromised immune system.

                            Pasteurization kills bacteria. Think eating peanuts and pistachios is scary? Think twice about drinking raw milk...

                            1. re: darlin_clementine

                              that is a strong point, and one that I hope the possibly affected have heard.

                              still wanna make cheese with it (never to be served w/o a disclaimer)

                              1. re: hill food

                                Well folks, you've truly scared the crap out of me! I'm afraid raw milk will reside on the same list as putrified Swedish fish and 1000 year old eggs.

                                (I really have a fondness for gastro-intenstinal wellness.)

                              2. re: darlin_clementine

                                Oh God, please...

                                While it certainly is possible to contract listeria, salmonella and a host of other unfriendlies, it's also very possible to contract those things just by eating chicken or beef. Don't let your paranoia run amok on you.

                                The key is source your product (any product really) from reputable producers and reduce your chances of encountering those problems.

                                Source smart, don't allow ignorant paranoia to rule the day.

                                1. re: onocoffee

                                  Onocoffee, my family come from countries where milk-born pathogens are still an issue. I also know that in many countries, public health is in serious trouble because people stick to traditional/nostalgic eating habits. Furthermore, many of these countries have public health issues because the people refuse to take advantage of basic food and sanitation precautions.

                                  As a businessman, missing a single day of work can cost me hundreds or thousands of dollars. This is also the case for many people out there. Few of us can afford to risk our health for a minor indulgence.

                                  Hey...if drinking raw milk is your thing...go for it. But, it just isn't worth even the remote risk of illness for me.

                                  1. re: Sean D

                                    With your worries about illness, I hope you don't buy meat or poultry from a grocery store?

                                    1. re: Transplanted Texan

                                      Exactly. I will buy and drink raw milk from a local farmer who I know raises their cows sustainably, on pasture, with minimal grains. Its also the only way to make your own fresh moz. The reason we need pasturization is because of the horrific conditions under which most feed animals are raised. When they're raised in confined feed lots knee deep in manure with no access to pasture of course there are going to be problems with their milk, and meat for that matter. Hence all of the antibiotics and tehe need for pasturization. Stay away from anything sold to you in a plastic containers in a supermarket and you'll be much better off. Especially those ground beef and poultry products in the supermarket case. That's where the real danger lies. Most of the cases of food poisoning in this country and the millions of pounds of recalled food products come from "safe" USDA approved products. I used to get daily bulletins listing all of the recalled food products and I can assure you that the general public is only aware of about 5% of what is actually reported and recalled. I prefer to get my raw milk, meat, poultry and eggs from the farmers I have gotten to know. I've never had a problem and never expect to. i am much more afraid of what is in the meat case at Giant or the drive-in lane at Mcdonalds than what farmer Joe is peddling.

                                      1. re: Transplanted Texan

                                        Actually, you touch upon something legitimate, Tex. I don't buy ground beef anymore, from any store. I also stay away from grocery store fish. As for meat and poultry, I buy it from only 2 or 3 places. (Asian markets, Halal butchers, or the Canales Meat shop.)

                                        1. re: Transplanted Texan

                                          Nope, I buy meat from Grocery stores all the time. But I don't eat it raw, I cook it first!

                            2. Milk a cow by hand, carelessly? <g>

                              1. It's obvious (and a bit laughable) that some here feel inclined to equate the caution of avoiding raw milk as a sort of hypocrisy. Yes, I would agree that there is plenty of reason to worry about other agro-products such as beef, chicken, fish, etc. However, most people generally cook these things until the potential microbial agents are dead. The very act of drinking milk straight from a cow excludes any such precaution. This is definitely a higher-risk approach to drinking milk.

                                Yes, its nice to have the occassional steak tartare, carpaccio, sushi, etc. But, personally I treat these things as rarities, due to the heightened potential for raw-food-related illnesses. I absolutely avoid raw ground beef (unless I make it myself).

                                I sometimes think that tirades like the ones I've read here about the supposed exaggeration of raw milk hazards are the obstinate pseudo-certainties of people who have already concluded that they could never be struck down by such illnesses. I can't say I'm surprised...especially in this country. We've become so removed from the disease realities that most of the world faces. For instance, the leading killer of children in the world is common diarrhea. In most cases, it is caused by impure water. Diseases from this water are often passed along the food chain and appear in meat, vegetables, and milk - where they start the cycle again.

                                I'm not saying that those of you who want to ignore over 100 years of proven public health practice and food safety should not indulge your desire to be non-conformist - even at the elevated risk of disease. Just don't try to sell everyone a bill of goods, here.

                                To claim that there is no risk in raw milk...or, that the risk can be sufficiently controlled in anecdotal ways (such as making friends with a farmer)...or, that the raw-milk-risk is equal to raw beef/poultry/fish risk is intellectually dishonest and rather irresponsible. When I was a restaurant manager, I was trained to remember that food-born disease is typically most dangerous for the very young and the very old. (In other words, the very weak.)

                                As some of you choose to eat risky, I would hope that you acknowledge this fact.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Sean D

                                  Exactly - pasteurization was developed at the helm of the industrial age that created the unprecedented societal comfort level we all take for granted now, and has nothing to do with the within-our-lifetime development of international diet perverting agribusiness. This seems less to do with love of food than with nature mysticism.

                                2. so whats the conclusion on this topic? Is there a way to just taste the stuff before committing to a whole cow's worth of milk? I am super intrigued as i have been pushing my family towards the grass feed, local stuff! If anyone is already part of a co-op and would be willing to share a glass with a fellow chow hound please contact me. i will gladly pay you today for a glass of milk tomorrow :) negyaz at gmail dot com

                                  1. I've been a member of a cow-share since September 2008. My jersey cow is pasture-fed and the milking room looks more like a place you would have open-heart surgery. Once I started drinking raw milk vs. cooked, my sinus congestion, headaches and lethargy ceased. Apparently I had an intolerance to cooked milk and wasn't even aware of it. I noticed a difference in taste immediately. My milk is actually about 6-8% milkfat. I buy treats for my cow and my cow gives me super thick, spreadable cream which I promptly turn into ice cream also using my raw, organic eggs. With the raw eggs it is of the utmost importance to wash each egg with soap and warm water before you crack it.

                                    In the past five years the only foodborne illness I've ever had has been 3x with cantaloupe. And no, I did not have raw dairy on my cantaloupe.

                                    Except for an occasional tablespoon of half & half in my coffee (which is hot enough to cook raw milk so why waste the raw stuff) and mass-produced block cheeses, I avoid cooked milk like the plague. My pregnant wife, due in November, practically guzzles the raw milk. We have had to double our ration in order for there to be enough for me to dependably have some. Lately, if my wife drinks cooked milk, she gets a really really bad headache. On a recent trip we ran out of raw milk we packed in our luggage so we had to go to Whole Foods Market to find some raw cheese.

                                    -----
                                    Whole Foods Market
                                    1700 Duke St, Alexandria, VA

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Raw_Milk_Snob

                                      this is sort of OT, but since R_M_S brought up egg hygiene, if one is truly cautious, yet wants to use raw egg like in a caesar, boil it just long enough (maybe a minute) so the outer membrane cooks, the salmonella lives between that and the shell, the interior will still be liquid.

                                      1. re: Raw_Milk_Snob

                                        RMS:
                                        Could you give some details about your cow share? Or how you found it? I can be reached at negyaz at gmail dot com.

                                        Thanks!

                                        1. re: Raw_Milk_Snob

                                          Hello,
                                          Just moved to DC from CT where we are allowed to buy raw milk from whomever wishes to sell it. Becasue my son & I have severe allergies I switched to raw milk. Now I need help in finding out how to obtain someon a regular basis. RMS if you could contact me to tell me how you purchased your cow share, I would really appreciate it. Thanks. My email is
                                          cpahaham@prodigy.net