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Jul 30, 2010 07:26 AM

Raw Milk Buying Club?

I just recently moved here (live in Arlington, work in Boston) and am wondering if there's a raw milk buying club I can join? I don't have a car, so driving out to a dairy farm is not an option for me. I'd be looking for home delivery, or a weekly pickup location that's near a bus or train line. Any leads greatly appreciated - thanks!

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  1. You know, my boyfriend and I recently had an argument over raw milk. He says that the risk for salmonella outweighs the health benefits. What's your take on it?

    I don't have much information on it, but I'm a big believer that most of the food that the gov tells us is dangerous isn't actually dangerous (eggs, whole fat dairy, butter, animal fat, etc).

    4 Replies
    1. re: your_outreach

      I'm not sure how helpful this will be, but my mom lives in VT across the street from a raw milk farm. Here is their website: http://familycowfarmstand.intuitwebsi... II just looked at it briefly and they did say something about raw milk shares, but not sure if they are doing them outside of the VT area- worth emailing them. They are a lovely family farm.

      1. re: MParente


        "WE NOW DELIVER TO BURLINGTON [Vermont, that is] and SOON TO JERICHO [ditto]! (to milk share customers only.)" Not useful to a Bostonian with no car.

      2. re: your_outreach

        Salmonella is not actually the bacteria to worry about in milk (unlike eggs). E coli is much more common, and can be very virulent (or deadly), and many other coliform bacteria can contaminate unpasteurized milk.

        Personally, I dislike the taste, and would not drink it anyway. The health benefits of raw milk are questionable at best, and the risks are real, if rare. If there is a producer you know and trust, and you like the taste, then you should go ahead. If the FDA relaxes the rules and Monsanto or Cisco or other large corporation is providing your raw milk, I think you would be a fool to drink it. I do think the ban on (young) raw milk cheeses is probably unnecessary, and to be fair, the FDA has been relaxing the rules as more data comes in. Cheese is a living, breathing product and contamination should become obvious during the production process, unlike milk.

        There is a tremendous amount of controversy regarding both the benefits and risks of raw milk, with both willfull and unintentional misreading and misrepresentation of the (spotty) data about it. My reading is what I said above: the risks are real, albeit small, and the health benefits unclear and probably non-existent. If you want to drink it for taste, all power to you, other foods are probably more dangerous.

        1. re: your_outreach

          Folks, if you've got local information, please post it here -- but we'd ask that any discussion of health and safety, we'd ask that you take to General Chowhound Topics. Thanks!

          1. I hate to rain on anyone's parade but people should be aware that raw milk buying clubs are illegal in Massachusetts. The Department of Agriculture's regulations prohibit them, a position that is support by the state Department of Public Health. It is legal to buy the raw milk directly from the producer at the farm, but the buying clubs are illegal because of concerns about how the product is treated and stored during transit. There is controversy over this prohibition as evidenced by the raw milk protesters on the Boston Common a few months ago. If you google around you can find the details, and there are FAQs on the Mass DAR website.

            1. Just got this in my email from the Braintree's Farmer's Market. This saturday Lawton Family Farm will be there. They are license to sell raw milk in MA.

              This week's Featured Vendor is Lawton's Family Farm-home of the famous Foxboro Cheese. This Massachusetts celebrated century farm has been in the family as a King's Land Grant . The farm is all that is left from the original 1000 acres. Daughter, Terri, is licensed by the state to sell raw milk. The milk they sell far exceeds the standards of "cleanliness". This grass based raw milk business is the base for all that goes on at the farm and goes into the products they offer for sale.

              Their cheese is made from their own Ayrshire cow's milk generally once a week and sometimes more often. The Fromage Blanc is a soft spreadable cheese. It has a cream cheese texture and a yogurty or citrus tange to it. They offer the Fromage Blanc plain or flavored with chives, lemon honey and tomato basil. This Cheese is excellent as a spread, mixed with fresh local fruit, fresh local vegetables, mixed in salads, eggs, and with your Italian dishes. They also make an Asiago which is a young aged cheese that's meltable and has a wonderful nutty buttery taste to it.

              Although the farm is not certified organic they practice organic methods and they do not use antibiotics or growth hormones on their cows. Their grass fed beef is from their own herd of cows. Being grass fed it is extremely lean and higher in CLA (Conjugated linoleic acids) which are good for us.


              1 Reply
              1. re: Chocomom

                This vendor recently was at the Belmont Farmers Market. Alas, when they were there, they sold their cheese but not their milk.

                Apropos the legality of buying clubs, I believe there was a recent attempt to make that illegal, but the legislation was tabled.

                As to whether raw milk tastes good or is dangerous for you, I suppose taste and appropriate risk level is up to each of us to judge for ourselves and our situations. Just like making mayonnaise from raw eggs, it is a matter of taking into account the general health risk, the provenance of the ingredients, and any health issues that make specifically affect the people who consume the food. What is appropriate for a very healthy person may not be for someone with a compromised immune system or other condition.

                Personally, I have tried raw milk on multiple occasions and really like it. I don't know if it is more nutritious, but to my taste it is more delicious. It may have something to do with what you are used to or grew up with. I have a friend who absolutely prefers the taste of UHT milk. To her it tastes fresher. (My mind boggles every time she says this!) My favorite pasteurized milk is from Shaw dairy - it seems the least cooked, even compared with High Lawn, and is delightful compared with other brands of pasteurized milk.

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