I am becoming a milk and dairy connoisseur. (or snob if you will. I lift my nose in a snooty way at inferior dairy.)
When we hit fun stores like Mothers Market or Whole Foods, it is like a family field trip. (It’s about as entertaining as most movies these days only even more expensive by the time we each get a goodie or two.) We split up and go looking for our own favorite areas. Mine is dairy and flours (duh). Phil may hit the honey aisle. Hubby heads toward soaps and such, then has to peruse every aisle. We meet in the middle and then drag each other to see what our special finds. (youngest son is not interested in the least. Where is his sense of adventure? Okay, its just a store. He is probably thinks we are just kooks and he is most likely right. Happy kooks.)
I check out the raw milk, what do they have this time around, expiration date, how about new yogurts, etc.
Do you know raw cream, for a pint is about $11!!! Or is it a cup? I forget.
I have decided that since raw milk is cost prohibitive for now, I will look for the closest thing possible and that is cream top milk. Preferably from pasture fed cows. The minerals and nutrition the cows get from grazing on grass all day does not in any way compare to feeding cows grain all day in feed lots. And that would be the lucky cows. Grain and ground up waste products from industrialized foods as well for the less lucky, and for the really sad, unlucky cows, ground up animal by-products as well.
This last trip I found a treasure. It is called ‘Saint Benoit’. Their website is here.
I bought some Organic Whole Jersey Milk. Not just cream top milk, but organic and pasture raised and …Jersey cows!
Okay, big hairy deal, right? But Jersey cows have always been known for giving somewhat less milk, and that the milk is creamier and tastier than any other. Jersey milk was known back-in-the-day as table milk, while Holstein and the others were used for butter, cheese, etc.
In fact, in the raw milk world, Claravale Farms also uses Jersey cows. It was from a radio broadcast with a spokesperson (owner?) from Claravale farms talking about their farms and raw milk in general that I learned about Jersey cows.
Some interesting things about the milk from Benoit was:
The glass bottles, which the best milk always comes in. Ever see Strauss milk in anything but glass bottles? And I always thought of them as the gold standard for regular homogenized pasteurized milk. When you buy any milk in a glass bottle of course, you are paying a hefty bottle deposit. But after your first purchase, you turn in the bottles each time to get it back (and pay it again and get it back and…).But somehow the flavor just is that much better than from plastic or cartons.
Also the small family run artisan dairy it comes from. You can see pictures on their site. The owners grew up in France and brought the quality craftsmanship style with them. They partnered with a neighbor who raised the Jerseys.
We have been buying Organic Valley Grassmilk, which is from 100% grass-fed cows as well. Their milk comes from a variety of farms and cows. On their site they point you to the farms closest to you that your milk probably comes from. Or is is mixed with the other small organic farms milk. It comes in cartons, is slightly less expensive, and is cream top, which means you need to shake it up before drinking. Do this over the sink since it usually has a leak somewhere in the opening.
My youngest son, 6’2″ and who needs all the nutrition I can get into him, drinks this, but insists on pouring it through a strainer first to get out the clumps of cream.
Get out the clumps of cream? There is often a cream build up around the pour spout which I pull out with a spoon and eat. Nirvana. But he doesn’t like the feel of the clumps. Funny thing though. I poured some milk from this new bottle of milk and no clumps came out. Was it because it was from a glass bottle? Was I just lucky that day and it was fresher? Time will tell. I will buy another, for research you understand, and see.
OV Grassfed milk is the milk I made a batch of cream top yogurt out of. Only I waited until the day before it expired and the yogurt had a kind of buttery taste to it with little flecks of buttery yellow on top. Is this a bad thing? Not really, just different.
Now on top of all this I will soon be starting the book “the Untold Story of Milk” which I read years ago. (Yeah, it probably sounds as exciting as watching paint peel, right? But not to me, the dairyqueen.) It got me started, way back then, on my dairy journey. (Was I a German milkmaid in a previous life?) It was an interesting book telling about the long history of dairy, how the industry of dairy came about, some of the ways man has tried over the years to cheat ‘mother nature’ by feeding their cows garbage and then selling the milk for kids to drink. Why they now have to add vitamin D to milk (by law), and how big dairy is continuing to try to get rid of the small raw milk dairies. Well, I haven’t read it in years, so I can’t say much more about it. I will do a review when I am done. Right now I need to finish “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration” and that is no easy read.But I am 3/4ths of the way through!
Someone mentioned that there are little cows being breed now? Like dog size that would give just a bit of milk? Hmm, food for thought. Did I just hear hubby scream?