Proponents of raw milk claim this magical elixir can cure childhood asthma and even allergies. I’m skeptical, but the evidence is overwhelming that the unpasteurized stuff goes down easier for lactards. But it doesn’t protect against stomach viruses.
Although I really like Straus Family Creamery’s pasteurized-but-not- homogenized milk in the glass bottle with the cream on the top, I’ve been buying Organic Pastures’ raw milk for the last few months because I wanted to support Mark McGee and his business during the rough time following the E. coli scare. (There’s a lot of controversy over whether the milk was to blame, and no hard proof.) I was hoping all that good bacteria I ingest daily was going to serve as my intestinal SWAT team against the nasty stomach virus that reduced the Potato’s 82-year-old aunt to a quivering lump last Tuesday, but no such luck. Wednesday night I was hugging the porcelain pillow with all my might.
Which is to say that when I saw raw cow’s milk for sale at the Ever’man co-op in Pensacola on Friday, I was thrilled but wary, as I still wasn’t eating a lot of solid food. In accordance with Florida state law, the milk was labeled “For pet food only. Not for human consumption,” and even my adventurous Auntie Pathy raised an eyebrow when I put it in the cart. I explained why that was so, and reassured the Dairy Queen Mother that I wouldn’t be trying the milk until today at the earliest.
The milk was delicious! It was slightly sweeter than the Organic Pastures version, but about the same consistency. (Both seem to have the cream skimmed off before sale, boo hoo.) I may have been imagining the grassy aftertaste, suggested by the label’s statement “Our animals are grass fed;” regardless, the milk had a very pleasant flavor.
Granny Sweet’n'Sour had a sip and pronounced it rich and delicious, just like the milk and home-churned butter she remember her mother bringing when she came to visit the family, from the cow she kept in her back yard. I had never heard about my Nana, a tough-as-nails sharecropper’s daughter, owning a cow until now; I also learned she loved to make head cheese.
Golden Fleece dairy is in Lecanto, which is not really local to here — about 10 hours away, near Tallahassee. A Google satellite check revealed a preponderance of brown rather than green, which is standard for Florida right now, but also lots of trees that I hope their cows get to take refuge under during the summer heat. The dairy also has goats and sells raw versions of both types of milk, with the aforementioned caveat. They also sell some yummy-sounding cheese.
Mostly, I’m hoping this milk along with the Redwood Hill goat’s milk yogurt I bought, can rebuild my stomach’s defense systems.