Monday, September 5, 2011

There's raw milk in my house... and I'm drinking it!

It was reading Nourishing Traditions that got me thinking about the milk I drink.

At one point I chose to drink skim milk, because I thought it would keep me slim. Then I learned that full cream milk is actually best for you, so switched to buying silvertop (full-cream, pasteurised but not homogenised) for a while.

However, I couldn't get that in organic, and the chunk of cream sealing the top got annoying so I started buying Zoorganic's blue-top milk (pasteurised and homogenised).

What I really wanted though was full-cream, organic, unpasteurised milk, but that's impossible to buy in the supermarket, or any shop for that matter. Did you realise that raw milk is more tightly controlled than any other food? Liz from Eight Acres has written an interesting post about why that might be.

Legalities of buying raw milk
In New Zealand we are legally allowed to buy up to 5 litres of unpasteurised milk directly from the farm gate as long as we intend to consume it ourselves or provide it to our families. The farmers selling this milk must harvest it according to a risk management programme that has been approved for this purpose under the Animal Products Act.

There are no restrictions on how much milk a farmer can consume from their own herd.

Which is how I came to own a herd share in a local, organic, A2, Jersey dairy farm.
Looks like any old bottle of milk, but this one hasn't been pasteurised or homogenised.

One nice thing about my farm is that calves get to stay with their mothers for 12 weeks. Having helped out on calving once in my job at LIC, I know how horrible it is for dams and calves to be parted after just a few hours. (It made me tear up to hear them mooing for each other!)
Feeding newborn calves during my time at LIC.
Why I want to drink raw milk
  1. According to Nourishing Traditions and the research of Weston A. Price, raw milk is healthier. In fact, milk is amazingly healthy in its natural state. Unlike pasteurised milk, raw milk still has all its vitamin, enzyme and probiotic qualities intact. And unlike homogenised milk, the structure of raw milk's proteins and fats haven't been changed to a state our bodies can't recognise as food. Check out this campaign for real milk to find out more.
  2. It's creamy and delicious.
  3. I'll be able to make my own cheese products with it.

But is it safe?
  1. Raw milk contains lactic acid, which kills off unhealthy bugs in the milk - read more about raw milk safety here.
  2. The farmers looking after my herd share regularly test their milk for listeria. So far no sign of it.
  3. The farmers collecting my milk do so in a hygienic manner that prevents dirt and bugs entering the milk.
  4. There is a world of difference between the milk I'm drinking, which comes from healthy, organic, pasture-fed cows, and the milk of cows housed in confinement and fed an unnatural diet of grains.
Lily enjoying a raw milk fluffy.
My farm is holding open day next month, which I'm keen to get along to. If I do make it, I'll update with you more information about my raw milk supply then.


  1. Oooh!! I'm jealous! I've just started looking for somewhere down here where I can buy raw milk. I want it to make yoghurt with! Let me know if you know of any deal like yours in the Christchurch area! I'm on an interesting journey re food at the moment as Melody is allergic to something. Still trying to work out exactly what. I'm just about to go and find the best deal for stevia. :o)

  2. yay! so happy that you finally go access to raw milk and that you're enjoying it. I hope you get to check out the farm too.

  3. That is so cool Emma. I have some contacts for Raw Milk in Chch. I will facebook you the details Elizabeth.

    I wondered about one of you last comments Emma - I would not have thought that any cows in NZ were housed in confined areas and fed grains (but I am making an assumption here so no doubt have no idea!!).

    Is it really creamy and delicious? I would like to drink raw milk but the thought grosses me out - I don't know why. I don't like to drink milk at the best of times. I am ok with it on my cereal but not to drink in a glass. I do however love cream on my cereal or fruit etc.

    I went from feeding my children bottles/cups of milk - sometimes organic (probably around 600ml per day) to not really giving them any milk (last 3 children) as a drink but plenty of dairy in their diet (based on research I had read).

    After reading Nourishing Traditions and other books I have been thinking about trying to include more milk in their diets - although raw would be best.

    Nourishing Traditions annoyed me with their research data which was 20-40 years old. Perhaps nothing has changed over that time but I would like to have seen more recent research data in the book.

    Anyway - will be reading on with interest to see how you get on with it. I would love to use raw milk to make cheese/yoghurt.

    1. Hi Louise
      I know this post of yours is several years old but just wondering if you would be able to help me find some raw milk in Christchurch please.
      Thanks, Abby

    2. Abby, did you find some???? Can you email me your source please?

  4. Hey Louise,
    You're right that NZ dairy farms are mostly pasture-based, which is one of the awesome things about our dairy and beef products here. That commment was more for overseas readers.

    Have you noticed any difference in the health of your youngest three because of reducing their milk intake compared to the eldest three?

  5. Hey Elizabeth, looks like Louise can hook you up with a contact. Otherwise you can check out this website:
    and get in touch with the people who run it to find out more.

  6. Yay! Emma that is awesome that you are finally getting raw milk. It is the best product. I'm guessing that you get it from Deb and Iain? They are so great, when we were down in wellington I cam to pick up some other products from the house and she told me that I only had to ring and let her know we were coming and she would get me some milk for our next trip. We have recently switched suppliers up here and we pay the grand total of $1 per litre. This means it is really cost effective to make our own cheese (currently I have blue vein ageing and just got 10L today to make camembert).

    The research in Nourishing traditions can be a bit biased as it really only comes from two sources, either the WAPF or Mary Enig. There is some really good info coming out particularly about A1 versus A2 milk which is really important for NZ. There is a book written by Keith Woodford (2007, NZ), The Devil in the milk. Well worth a read and helpful for realising how scary A1 milk is for humans.

    Have you considered switching Sophie to a WAPF formula? Unfortunately the milk formula that is available in NZ is all from spray dried A1 milk.

  7. I've never heard of folks herd-sharing before, but it sounds absolutely brilliant. I've also never had raw milk before and that sounds brilliant also! Such an interesting post!

  8. Hi Emma, the comments about the references in nourishing traditions are interesting. I assumed (also from reading sweet poison) that the research is old because no new research has been done. Following on from my general conspiracy theory about raw milk, funding for research comes from big corporations, of course they don't want any more proof that raw milk is better, so they haven't funded any more research. The old research is back in the days when research was done for public good not for industry good. Much of our current information about health and nutrition comes from research funded by the food and drug industries. We are just lucky to have WAPF to try and balance that in some small way. Even if the WAPF research seems biased, I believe that all research is now biased, because of the funding system. What do you think? Cheers, Liz

  9. Hey Liz, thanks for sharing your understanding of why the research in Nourishing Traditions is old. I guess I don't mind if research is old - as long as it was well done when it was done. It is frustrating that research is so biased these days.

    For most foods now I just check whether people were thriving on it before the last 100 years of crazy food industrialisation. If they were, I reckon I'll probably thrive on it too.

    You've reminded me that I really need to check out sweet poison. I'll put it on my library watch list.

  10. Thanks Gwennie, I hadn't heard of people (except farmers) drinking raw milk till last year either, so it took a little while for me to get used to the idea.

    It makes sense though that it would be good for us, since people have been drinking it since the domestication of animals.

  11. Hey Pipee, thanks for your excitement.

    I am getting it from Deb and Iain - although I've only met Iain so far. He seems like a good dude.

    I'm especially glad that I have the raw milk to offer Lily. She loves milk. It's so expensive though, so I'm having to ration it a bit. How did you get yours for $1 per litre. That is incredible!

    Lily still has regular cow milk powder bottles in the morning and night, and Sophie has goats milk formula. We gave goats formula to Lily till she was about one, and then made the switch to cow.
    I've found goats formula lovely and gentle on the girls' stomachs - much easier for them to digest than cows milk. And being goats milk, I don't have to worry about the A1/A2 casein.

    I did a bit of research into the A1/A2 issue when I was working for LIC, because I had to write a document about it for our dairy farmer customers. I haven't read Prof. Woodford's book though, which is the main piece of work about it around - I'll add it to my list.

  12. You can make cheese and yoghurt with pasteurised milk too. In fact almost all yoghurt and cheese for sale in NZ (apart from a few French raw milk cheeses) is made from pasteurised milk.

    I wouldn't say that people were thriving 100 years ago in comparison with now. "In 1900 in some U.S. cities, up to 30% of infants died before reaching their first birthday" 1

    - Jessica


  13. The reason raw milk is more expensive in cities is because it has to travel.

    I checked some stats of recent illnesses and some of them occur more in children under 1 and also larger incidence in children from 1 to 5 years old. I guess that is how it was 100 years ago and care was not as good as now, children are/were more vulnerable. Does not mean it was food borne illness for all 30% anyway!! I can also comment that younger children are also more likely to drink raw breast milk which nowadays can have more than 200 chemicals.


  14. Hi everyone,
    I've recently moved back to NZ from the UK and am finding it really difficult to find organic non-homogenised A2 milk. We've never tried non-pasteurised milk, but that's mostly because we haven't been able to find a good local supplier, (we would definitely be keen to try it). Does anyone know where we can buy this in the Auckland region? Any farmer's markets that sell it or are there any farmers who will sell it direct from their farm?
    Thank you!

  15. Hi :D
    I have the same question as Natalie ^^..I'd love to buy non homogenised to make my own mozarella: it's too expensive to always be buying in the shops :D Thanks

  16. Hi, I am a 63 year old who has only had a couple of sick days in my life and I think it was from drinking raw milk as a child. And I do mean raw milk, straight from the teat as my father hand milked. I am six ft 2 and have two sons, both over six ft and they drank raw milk as well. Good genes or good food as a child, either way I'm a happy grandfather. Could you pass on the address of your supply as I want to get back to some good non-processed milk. I can also make butter and cheese thanks to my grandmother.

  17. I have been in Christchurch about 5 years now and i have been trying to find a source where i can get Raw cows Milk from Guernsey or Jersey cows. I am in Christchurch but if there is anywhere in the surrounding area in Canterbury i am willing to drive for it. Please let me know if there is anywhere that you could think of.


Thank you for visiting Craving Fresh, and for taking the time to comment. Your feedback is so important to me.