|wild thing organics|
OUR COWS, OUR MILK, OUR CHOICE.
After almost 7 years of service to a great community we have decided to cease operations. We will miss you all.
Let us make your milk
Home of the "Creamsters Moonion" ™
Stay tuned for further updates on wild thing local #7362
"When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty."
Periodically you may need a doctor, a lwayer, a policeman or a preacher, but three times a day, every day, you need a farmer.
Please take the time to join Up with the BC/Alberta ARMi if you believe in the right to choose what goes on your plate!
Welcome to our home of unruly beasts and rurally challenged humans (admittedly, I'm the rurally challenged one). For those who haven't been following the Staven household's travels and travails from the beginning, here's a quick synopsis to bring you up to speed:
1. Karen pulls up stakes in L.A. in 2004 and moves herself and her 2 newly adopted rescue dogs to Canada (Calgary, Alberta) to live with her new husband, Kurtis, and his dog.
2. Fast forward a year and a half. Both parties tire of Calgary's climate (drier than the Sahara, colder in winter than wherever you are unless you're in Barrow, Alaska), type-A stress junkies, L.A.-style traffic, and out-of-control tract home development. And an ever-expanding array of bylaws to micromanage it all.
3. Visions of rolling pastures, open roads, self-sufficiency, off-grid living and grass-fed raw milk dance in their heads. Yes, they're idiots.
4. A lovely cedar A-frame on an acreage is located and purchased in a small mountain town in southern B.C. The house has a colourful botanical history, one involving hydroponic trays and an RCMP raid. More on that later.
5. Renovations begin, and haven't stopped. (2009 update: we still don't have a bathtub, but I'm not bitter.)
6. Free-range laying hens enter the equation.
7. A dairy cow that can run like a racehorse is trucked in. Raven escapes, hoofs it over the U.S. border, and is returned after 3 months.
8. Four Toggenburg dairy goats are trucked over. So far, so good.
9. Somewhere between entries 6 and 7, dog #4 finds its way here from the SPCA. His organizational and engineering skills are highly developed, even by human standards. (Not to be outdone by an irritable, demon-seed cow, Rascal has his own blog series, too.)
10. Suzy the Jersey arrives from Saskatchewan, and she is MILKABLE!!!!
11. Ellie the Jersey is chauffeured in from Grand Forks, and joins Suzy in her willingness to be milked. Raven, BTW, still hates all humans.
12. Fast-forward to 2009. We are up to six dairy cows and more soon to come, along with eight pregnant does and one buck.
13. Greta, a dark chocolate brown Jersey cow, joined us in early spring. She has some rather odd habits for a cow.
14. More Jerseys, Pam and Yvette, joined us over the summer. Pam is what I'd call a cow's cow. Yvette is another story.
15. Biscuit, our sweet Jersey with some Guernsey thrown in for good measure, arrived in early October. Greta quickly took her under her proverbial wing and taught her some of her more unusual habits.
16. The goat count is six Toggenburgs, including Souvlaki the buck; and three sweet, winter-white Saanens who arrived over the summer. The girls are all ballooning up and should be kidding in the next month or two. Eight pregnant does will mean at least a dozen kids, which could make for a lively winter around here.
For more details and pictures on the above check Blog1, Blog2, and the Gallery Page.
We moved out of the city and started our pasture-based farm in order to eat real, unadulterated food and bypass the doomed industrial food supply as much as humanly possible. We are excited about now being able to offer animal boarding, maintenance and care to herd share members, so that they, too, may enjoy the privileges of ownership. The animals graze and forage the way nature intended, on chemical-free pastures with fresh air and sunlight. Heritage-breed chickens run around, scratch and break down the cow and goat manure, efficiently spreading and distributing it for natural fertilizer and plucking out the bugs and worms for their own nutritious dinner. This translates into nutrient-dense, deep-orange egg yolks. The chickens' supplemental feed is 100% organic and free of soy and canola. We work diligently to keep GMO's off of our farm and away from the animals (and humans), and regularly treat them to organically grown greens, vegetables and scraps from the garden and kitchen. We're also starting to do our own large-scale sprouting and will soon able to provide the animals with something fresh and green year-round, no matter how much snow is piled up outside.
THE "ORGANICS" IN WILD THING ORGANICS:
We include the word "organics" in our company name in order to express our values concerning how we treat and feed our land and animals; in the original, undiluted sense of the word. But our practices exceed current organic standards, and we have incorporated many biodynamic principles in tending to our farm. After much deliberation and debate, we decided against organic certification for several reasons:
1. It is prohibitively expensive and laden with bureaucracy; this expense would have to be tacked on to our farm services in the form of higher share and maintenance prices.
2. Sadly, it has become so watered-down in recent history (as in "Wal-Mart organic"), that requirements for animal feed, pesticide and chemical usage don't reflect our own standards, and allow toxic substances and practices to enter the ground, feed and animals. Monocropping is common practice, and we don't agree with it.
3. Certifying organizations are becoming increasingly beholden to big business and do not fairly or adequately represent the small, independent producer. They don't share our values or concerns and we don't want them determining what we can and can't do, while paying them for the privilege of restricting our independence and forcing us to agree to a reduced standard that is in place simply to be met by big corporations that have anything but our good health in mind.
4. The dilution of standards hurts small producers by sharply reducing their profit margins, as they get undercut by the low-balling and "corporatizing" of organic foods. Thousands of small producers go out of business each year because of it. Most consumers don't have a clue what's going on, and are simply happy to get their "organic" products for a lower price. We prefer to see small farmers, ourselves and anyone else, deal directly with the consumer (or share owner, in this case) and make a decent profit while engaging with their communities and ensuring the best care for their farmland and animals.
Other than not yet growing our own alfalfa hay for winter feed for our boarded animals, and grain for supplemental chicken feed (and we're actively looking into both as more property becomes available to us), our farm is a self-contained system. What the animals and garden take from the earth, we replenish. We recycle what we can and practice composting. We refer to what we do as traditional, integrated, pasture-based farming, organic in the original sense of the word. It's a little cumbersome for a business card, but you get the idea. We're always learning new things from others who have done this a lot longer than we have, and constantly strive to make improvements. We try our best to stay awake and alert and learn from our mistakes.
HOW WE FARM:
The animals on our farm are not confined, drugged, mutilated or fed food that is unnatural to them. Our chickens are truly free-range, never see cages, still have their beaks intact, and get to run around with the cows and goats; foraging for bugs, worms and greens in the fields. They have comfortable, straw-lined nest boxes in their coops where they can lay eggs. Our cows and goats are free to roam and forage, follow the sun for good nap spots, play together and walk, run, stretch and climb hills. They also get to nurse and raise their young. They drink fresh well water, slurp the mineral licks whenever they like, and have the option of hanging out in the covered, straw-bedded shelter when the rain and snow get to be a bit much for them. In truth, they're pampered and spoiled rotten, just like our dogs. In the winter, we put out high-quality alfalfa hay until nature presents them once again with fresh grass and foliage. Cows and goats are herbivores and can become ill and bloated if stuffed full of grain.
The best part of allowing the animals to range and mingle, aside from knowing that they are contented and healthy living this way, is observing them socialize and express their sense of humour, personality and authority; which, in the factory-farm system, they never get to do.
Factory farming, battery cages, and the whole industrialized system are cruel to animals, the environment, and humans alike. We all suffer the consequences of this model with millions of sick, miserable, abused animals; tainted, dyed, "atmospherically enhanced," toxin-laden meat on the shelves; their by-products and drug residues entering both the human and pet food supplies; and consumers who develop illnesses and conditions due to the long-term consumption of the compromised products that issue from these sick animals and the methods employed to cover it all up.
Pasteurization and irradiation don't exist to keep the population healthy or "safe." They are utilized to cover up the sins of these industries while allowing them to continue their unhealthy practices because it is cheaper and easier to do so. And organic standards continue to be lowered in order to level the playing field and enable factory farmers to claim that their feedlot meat is "organic" so that they, too, can justify higher prices for their inferior products. The animals stuck in this system live sick, miserable, short lives. A healthy, pastured cow can live upwards of 15 years, but cows in the feedlot don't usually survive past 4.
The only way around this is to speak loudly with our food dollars. If we stop buying the products that issue from this system and instead purchase from producers who raise their animals humanely on pasture without drugs, confinement and toxic feeds, we send a clear message. By choosing not to support the feedlots and conventional dairies that engage in these harmful practices, we can affect their bottom line and put them out of business. It IS happening, one household at a time. We ARE making a difference.
Another point not often brought up is that the financial support of consumers (or shareholders, in the case of a herd share) enables pasture-based farmers to maintain and stabilize increasingly scarce, non-hybridized heritage breeds that would otherwise risk rapid extinction. By consuming the meat, eggs and milk of these animals, you justify the continuation and maintenance of their dwindling breeds, thereby ensuring greater biodiversity, integrity (and less inbreeding) in the food chain. This is very important and much misunderstood. Diversity isn't 10,000 coloured boxes of industrially processed pseudo-foods on supermarket shelves that all contain some variation of genetically modified corn, soy, refined sugar and toxic chemicals; yet are slickly marketed as different products.
Real biodiversity begins with the integrity of the soil and the varied plant life that takes up its nutrients, which serve as the very basis for life as we know it, and is at the core of pasture-based farming. The manure of healthy, unconfined animals replenishes the soil and supports the growth of nutrient-dense plants whose goodness both directly nourishes and is concentrated by the animals; and supports the health of the humans who are fortunate enough to partake of their milk, eggs and meat. Our garden vegetables benefit, too. Please stop to consider the harmony, logic and inherent wisdom of this elegant system before being seduced by the cheapest, "bargain" products on the shelves the next time you shop.
Doing this is admittedly hard work, but it's far more rewarding and satisfying than living in a big, polluted city and working for unstable mega-corporations with questionable ethics (been there, done that). And the animals, feisty and high-maintenance as they can be, make us laugh every day. We like being able to cut out the middlemen and be closer to our food and nature's cycles (although I'm really tired of all this snow). And we're excited to be able to board and house animals for those who don't have the land or time to do so. Like you, we demand to know exactly what goes into the food on our table and what has or hasn't been done to it. Please consider joining us if these things matter to you, too.
A thought provoking story below
How to catch wild pigs
A chemistry professor in a large college had some exchange students in the class. One day while the class was in the lab the Professor noticed one young man (exchange student) who kept rubbing his back, and stretching as if his back hurt.
The professor asked the young man what was the matter. The student told him he had a bullet lodged in his back. He had been shot while fighting communists in his native country who were trying to overthrow his country's government and install a new communist government.
In the midst of his story he looked at the professor and asked a strange question. He asked, 'Do you know how to catch wild pigs?'
The professor thought it was a joke and asked for the punch line. The young man said this was no joke. 'You catch wild pigs by finding a suitable place in the woods and putting corn on the ground. The pigs find it and begin to come everyday to eat the free corn. When they are used to coming every day, you put a fence down one side of the place where they are used to coming. When they get used to the fence, they begin to eat the corn again and you put up another side of the fence. They get used to that and start to eat again.. You continue until you have all four sides of the fence up with a gate in The last side. The pigs, who are used to the free corn, start to come through the gate to eat, you slam the gate on them and catch the whole herd.
Suddenly the wild pigs have lost their freedom. They run around and around inside the fence, but they are caught. Soon they go back to eating the free corn. They are so used to it that they have forgotten how to forage in the woods for themselves, so they accept their captivity.
The young man then told the professor that is exactly what he sees happening to North America. The governments keep pushing us toward socialism and keep spreading the free corn out in the form of programs such as supplemental income, tax credit for unearned income, tobacco subsidies, dairy subsidies, payments not to plant crops (CRP), welfare, medicine, drugs, etc.. While we continually lose our freedoms -- just a little at a time.
One should always remember: There is no such thing as a free lunch! Also, a politician will never provide a service for you cheaper than you can do it yourself.
Also, if you see that all of this wonderful government 'help' is a problem confronting the future of democracy in North America, you might want to send this on to your friends. If you think the free ride is essential to your way of life then you will probably ignore this, but God help you when the gate slams shut!
'A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have".
AVAILABLE TO MEMBER-OWNERS:
As a co-owner of a herd of dairy animals, you are entitled to consume the milk they produce. Amounts will be determined by the number of shares purchased. If you purchase one share and pay for a percentage of the boarding, maintenance, shelter and care of the cows, you will receive that percentage of the milk they produce as a privilege of ownership. One share amounts to approximately 4 litres of whole milk. When our share members are out of town for an extended period of time, we can freeze the milk and ship upon their return.
SHIPPING AND PICK-UP:
Share members who have their dairy yields shipped and are in our overnight shipping zone (Osoyoos, Kelowna) can specify whether they would prefer the milk to be sent fresh or frozen. Depending on your location and the time of year, frozen might be a wiser option. The texture of the cream does change and become grainy, but it is still delicious. There is a small degree of vitamin and enzyme loss in the freezing process, but you will still enjoy a fabulous-tasting, nutritious product from your own cow. As a rule, we ship half the milk in the box fresh and half frozen for share members in our 2-day shipping zone (which is virtually everyone). The frozen containers act as extra cold masses for the box in case of heat exposure in sorting facilities and mail trucks.
We will ship with cold packs and provide plastic bags to avoid leakage in transit. All shipping costs are to be paid by the share member. Milk will be shipped in #2 HDPE non-leaching containers. Please recycle when empty. With freight cost to us factored in, these containers cost about $1 apiece and their cost is included in your quarterly Materials fee. Helping us to cover these costs enables us to continue providing our service to long-distance share members.
If you will be out of town or on vacation and will not be able to make your usual local or mail pick-up, please notify us at least two weeks in advance. We can freeze your share of product until you get back if you'd like.
RAW DAIRY INFO:
We assume that if you're interested in our herd share and have read this far, you are aware of the "risks" of consuming raw dairy products. For those who have been living on a diet of sterilized, pasteurized foods and are looking to make a change, we support you. But bear in mind that it is probably best to begin with small amounts and work your way up to consuming raw dairy products exclusively. Your system might need some time to adjust to the millions of (healthy) bacteria being introduced to it. Many people, ourselves included, transitioned seamlessly; but there are always some that need extra time. If you suspect you might be one of them, make a gradual change and gauge any detox reaction or discomfort you may initially experience. Many lactose-intolerant people have no problem with raw milk, as the lactase-forming bacteria is still intact and has not been destroyed by pasteurization (lactase is the enzyme that breaks down lactose, the sugar in milk). But pay attention to your own body's signals.
Those who are sensitive or allergic to casein, the protein in milk, will still experience symptoms with raw milk. We ask that if casein sensitivity is a problem for you or someone in your household, you do not choose to own a cow share, as the consumption of your share of the milk could cause an unpleasant reaction. You might prefer to purchase a goat share instead (limited and the goats are on hiatus in the winter) as the casein in goat's milk tends to be more easily tolerated. Please speak to an open-minded healthcare practitioner about this, as everyone's system is different. For more discussion on the subject of casein, lactose intolerance and All Things Raw Milk, please visit the Weston A. Price Foundation web site (www.westonaprice.org). Their board members include experts on raw dairy and other nutritional subjects, and they offer hundreds of reliable, well-researched articles and features. If you appreciate what they have to offer, please consider joining and supporting their organization, as we are proud to do.
We keep the animals and milking equipment clean, filter the milk prior to bottling and don't expose the animals to drugs or chemicals. We will do our best to ensure a consistently healthful environment for your animals.
TO FREEZE OR NOT TO FREEZE:
Unlike the world of pasteurized and UHT products, shelf stability is not the name of the game with raw milk. Often this milk will be fresh-tasting and drinkable after 2 weeks or more in the refrigerator, and other times maybe a week; it's unpredictable. You can use soured milk in baking, mix it into smoothies with honey and fruit, or simply pour it into a bowl for your dog or cat, who will be ecstatic at the offering. If you realize that you will not be able to finish your jug of milk, the HDPE containers will freeze beautifully. Simply leave an inch or two of room at the top, date the container and freeze for later thawing and use. We've frozen raw milk for as long as 2 months and it still tasted great when defrosted, though we know that some nutrient content gets compromised in the process.
CYCLE OF LIFE STUFF:
Wild Thing will bear the cost of AI (artificial insemination) for the dairy animals, and will retain ownership of all calves and kids. The cows and goats must, of course, bear an offspring each year in order to stay in milk production. It is necessary to "dry them up" for about 3 months prior to giving birth, so we will stagger their pregnancies in order to maintain a steady supply of milk for share members. Still, there will be times when production is down, perhaps due to occasional reduced water consumption or winding down from lactation. This is understood to be a part of farm animal ownership, and will be borne equally among all share holders. Every now and then a cow will be in a testy mood (like any human), and kick the milk pail while milking is in progress, thereby ruining that session's supply. We take events such as this into account when determining the number of available shares to distribute to share members, so it shouldn't cause a problem.
The animals are healthy and strong, but if there is a life-or-death situation (such as a difficult birth), we will not hesitate to call upon a vet (and rest assured that ours is not a pill pusher) to administer an antibiotic or other medication in order to save the animal's life. The milk of the animal in question will be taken out of the rotation until her health is fully restored and every trace of the medication has left her system. We would only offer medication of any kind in an extraordinary circumstance. Absolutely NO antibiotics, hormones or soy products are given to the animals housed here, and our land is free of chemicals, synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, etc.
In order to maintain the health of our land, we will rotate the animals regularly to different fields (except in winter, when we're snowbound and they are eating hay), providing them with fresh pasture and assuring that all fields will be fertilized equally. The chickens follow the cows and goats, breaking down their manure and munching the grasses that the goats and cows have voraciously trimmed down for them.
Strict regulations here in Canada determine the parameters of our herd share agreement. Please note that we are NOT in the business of "selling" raw dairy products, which is forbidden by law. We simply board and maintain the animals for our share members, and as part owners of the animals, you are entitled to a portion of the products that come from them. Your quarterly payments cover feed, maintenance, shelter and care for the animals. The milk that issues from this relationship is not bought and sold: it is simply a privilege of farm animal ownership. And since most people can't make use of the 5+ gallons a day of milk a Jersey produces, it makes sense to offer shares that enable many individuals to own a percentage of the animal and take the corresponding amount of milk production. The more shares you purchase, the more of the animal you own, and the more milk you are entitled to take home. Since we have the land and facilities, we will board and care for the animals for you.
For more information contact us at email@example.com
GOAT SHARE (GOATSHARE) INFO:
Basically, it's the same drill as the cow share. Here's how it differs:
1. The goats, being more compact beasts, have a much lower milk output than the cows (say, 3L or less per day vs. a cow's potential 24-30 or so litres at peak milk). It takes a lot more time, labour and animals to extract smaller amounts of milk, so the quarterly Boarding fees are a bit higher. Other fees remain the same.
2. Unlike non-homogenized cow's milk, with its thick layer of cream resting atop the milk fraction, goat's milk is naturally, partially homogenized (no damaging machinery plays a role here). The milk is rich and creamy, and often boasts a thin cream line at the top in addition to the cream naturally incorporated into the body of the milk. Most of our goats are Toggenburgs, an old-fashioned Swiss dairy goat bred over many centuries for rich, creamy milk earmarked for cheese making.
3. While pastured cow's milk is yellowish in colour, due to the beta carotene from the grasses they eat; goats are more efficient at converting the carotene to Vitamin A, so their milk is white.
4. Goat's milk freezes beautifully, with no compromise in texture. The cream in cow's milk clumps up when subjected to freezing, but goat's milk thaws smoothly.
5. Unless you are picking up here at the farm or your goat's milk yields are going onto a chilled delivery truck, we will freeze it for transport with any other carrier, such as Greyhound or Canada Post. We've found that goat's milk is extremely sensitive to changes in temperature and want to ensure its freshness and drinkability. We've found goat's milk to sour more quickly than cow's milk in general, but have also experienced exceptions to this. The souring bacteria are quite unpredictable.
6. Unlike cows, who have a heat cycle each month, goats go into heat in the late summer/early fall. With our resident buck doing his manly duties, all the girls are bred during the same window of time and deliver their kids within days of each other. Because nature will not permit us to stagger their lactations, those owning a goat share (goatshare) should be aware that there will be 2-3 months out of the year (winter) that the goats do not produce milk; their resources are rightly diverted to their developing babies.
7. When the goats are producing, we offer a limited number of cheese shares (fresh raw chèvre). We will put out a notice to our share members to let them know when these shares become available.
8. Some people who are casein (the protein in milk) sensitive, find they can more easily tolerate goat's milk, but often both cow's and goat's milk, even raw and pastured like ours, are a source of discomfort for those with casein intolerance. Please consult with an open-minded healthcare practitioner regarding your needs.
For more information contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Weston A. Price Foundation has a similar FAQ posted on their “campaign for real milk” site. It is available both there and here to inform readers about cowshares and how they work; and may be used and adapted freely in cowshare programs.
We have since edited the text to reflect our improved practices here at wild thing organics, and are grateful to all for generously sharing their work with the raw milk community.
For more information contact us at email@example.com
WILD THING ORGANICS COWSHARE (COW SHARE) FAQ SHEET
In an attempt to answer most of the questions you might have about your cowshare at wild thing organics and about the uses of high quality raw milk, we are providing this sheet of frequently asked questions. Please let us know if you need more information.
1. How is the cowshare (cow share) with wild thing organics set up?
2. Are cowshares (cow shares) legal?
3. How are the cows milked at wild thing organics?
4. Is the milk ever tested for e. coli or other bacteria?
5. How should I handle the milk from my cow?
6. How long will raw milk keep?
7. How can I tell if raw milk is spoiled?
8. What should I do if the milk smells bad after only a couple of days?
9. What should I do with milk that is more than a week old?
10. Why does a large layer of cream form on top of the milk?
11. Can I use the cream separately?
12. Can I make my own butter from the cream?
13. Are there other ways to use raw milk?
14. What happens in the milk during the culturing process; and why should I bother?
15. Can the milk be frozen?
16. Why is the milk so yellow?
17. Can the milk be pasteurized on the stove top?
18. Tell us more about our cows at wild thing organics!
19. Are the cows tested for disease?
20. Are the cows ever treated for worms?
21. What do the cows eat?
22. How much milk do the cows give?
23. What is done with the extra milk not needed for the cowshare (cow share) program?
24. Will the births of the calves have an impact on milk supply available to cowshare (cow share) owners?
25. What will happen to the calves?
26. As a cowshare (cow share) owner, will I have a share in the calves?
27. What are good sources for more information about raw milk and its uses?
28. What are sources for milk cultures?
29. Can I visit my cows?
30. ALLERGY ALERT Please read!
You make a one-time payment of $80 to buy a share in wild thing's cows. From that point on you actually own an undivided share of those cows. In addition, you pay a boarding fee quarterly for the feeding and care of your cows. Your share entitles you to approximately 4 litres of milk each week. Note: share ownership is NOT transferable. It can be returned to wild thing organics during the life of the share for a partial refund.
Yes, they are. It is not legal in Canada to sell, trade or give away raw (unpasteurized) milk to the public. However, you may use as much raw milk as you wish from your own cow. Since you own a share in wild thing's cows, you may legally use the milk from your share in any way you see fit. During the past few years, several cowshare programs have been implemented in Canada, and have been functioning well.
wild thing organics has consulted with its lawyer in setting up its cowshare (cow share) program. (You will be asked to sign a contract for your cowshare (cow share) at the time of its purchase.)
The cows are milked in the dairy barn after the goats, at 8:00 a.m. and at 8:00 p.m. Please note that the cows are milked with a separate machine from the goats; and that their milk is kept separate from the goats' milk. The cows are milked using a closed-bucket system. That is, the milk is drawn from the cow's udder using a suction device and a set of tubes that empty the milk into a sealed stainless steel container. Since there is no exposure to air at any point, the most scrupulous level of sanitation is assured.
Yes, the milk will be periodically tested. Organic apple cider vinegar is used in the cows' and goats' water as an e. coli preventive compound.
The shareholders' milk will be raw -- that is, it is not heat-treated (pasteurized) or homogenized. For milk that is picked up at the farm: It will be chilled; and you should take care that it remains so until you can get it home and into your refrigerator. If you have some distance to drive or stops to make before you arrive home, it is imperative that you make provision with insulated containers and ice or chillers to keep the milk at refrigerator temperature until you return home. Shipped milk will have freezer packs placed in the box to maintain its temperature. If the milk is still frozen hard upon arrival, place jug on a paper towel on the counter and let thaw at room temperature for 8-12 hours, and then place in refrigerator to finish thawing.
If you handle as above, the milk will easily keep a week with no change at all in quality. We have kept raw milk in the refrigerator for as long as 3 weeks, and it was still mild and fresh-tasting. All containers are dated, so you will know which ones to drink first.
We are asked regularly if there is a separate cream share available. As we do not separate the milk, there is no extra cream on hand to offer as an independent share. The milk you receive is as it comes out of the cow. If you'd like to use the cream for other applications, simply scoop as much as you need off of the surface of the milk.
Most of us grew up with pasteurized milk; and thus are not familiar with the pleasant sour or tangy tastes and smells that develop in cultured dairy products. As you experiment with such cultured milk foods you will come to appreciate those new smells and tastes. (More about that below.) When milk is actually spoiled, however, it will smell quite unpleasant. Discard the milk if it has developed an unpleasant smell.
Discard it. Please let us know right away, and we will investigate and see if anyone else experienced the same problem.
As long as the milk still smells and tastes good to you, it is fine to use it. As stated above in #6, the milk virtually always stays fresh much longer than a week. If you find you consistently have extra milk, you can skim the cream off the top and make butter (transfer the milk to a wide-mouth jar and skim the cream with a small ladle), or you can turn the milk into kefir or yogurt. Your pets will benefit from small amounts of these products, too. Save any whey to use in baking or smoothies.
The shareholders' milk is not only raw (unpasteurized); it is not homogenized. That is, the butterfat has not been emulsified to force it to remain in solution. Therefore this butterfat, or cream -- being lighter than the other liquid components of the milk -- rises to the top. Wild thing's cows are Jerseys, whose milk is unusually rich in butterfat. For drinking or cooking with the whole milk, you should shake the container well before pouring, so that the cream is again dispersed into the milk.
Yes, you can. It is very easy, after the milk has sat overnight in the refrigerator, to skim off most of the cream. The remaining milk is nothing like the "skim milk" you would buy in the supermarket: It is still a rich, full-bodied milk for drinking, cooking, or even making fresh cheeses. (More below.) The cream you have taken off can be whipped for dessert toppings or cultured for sour cream.
It is easy to make your own butter from the cream, using appliances you probably already have in your kitchen. Note that you can make your butter either from the sweet or the cultured cream. See which flavor you and your family prefer! Please note that it takes about 6 litres (this can vary) of cream to obtain a pound (approx. 450 grams) of butter, so if you only have a small amount of cream, you might prefer to reserve it for another use.
As mentioned above, you should keep your milk refrigerated for normal beverage and cooking use. However, if you wish to experiment with the many forms of cultured milk and farm cheeses, it is easy to do so with raw milk (unlike pasteurized milk). For example, you can allow the milk to come to room temperature and simply sit overnight or longer until it partially solidifies like yogurt and develops a pleasant sour smell. When you culture the milk naturally this way it is called "clabber," and may be used just like yogurt. If you strain the whey (liquid) away from the solid portion using cheesecloth and add a little salt to the resulting "curd," you will have a tasty, incredibly easy-to-make fresh cheese. Cultures are also available for stirring into the milk to make other versions of cultured milk, such as kefir. Once your batch of cultured milk has reached the desired stage (more or less solid, more or less tangy -- depending on ambient temperature and the time it has sat out), you should then return it to the refrigerator in order to prolong the time during which it can be used.
We regularly receive requests from share members asking how to make raw yogurt without bringing the milk to pasteurization temperature. Here is an excellent article that clearly details the process: http://www.westonaprice.org/motherlinda/yogurt.html
I use a cheese-making thermometer and always add the yogurt culture at 112F, which I've found to be an unerringly dependable temperature.
We use the 'dehydrate' cycle on the oven to incubate it overnight. If you have a newer oven with this nifty feature, take advantage of it! After pouring the warm, just-cultured milk into a pre-warmed glass jar, place the jar on the centre (or lower, if using a very large jar) rack and set the dehydrate feature to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. We usually leave it in the oven for 12 hours, sometimes 13. When you see a thin layer of greenish-yellow whey at the top, it's ready. Immediately refrigerate the jar for about 6 hours to further solidify the yogurt. It will be runnier than store-bought yogurt, due to the competing bacteria described in the article. We like it thicker, so I line a strainer with unbleached muslin (you can use regular cheesecloth but fold it over a few times to tighten the weave) over a large bowl and pour the chilled yogurt into it. Let it sit for a few hours, folding the thickening yogurt over to shake off more whey. Use the whey in cooking or baking. As soon as it's as thick as you like, simply scoop it out of the cloth and transfer to a glass jar. Ours usually keeps for 3 weeks.
Here is another useful WAPF article on uses for raw milk that has started to turn sour: http://www.westonaprice.org/foodfeatures/maximize_rawmilk.html
There are benign, even beneficial bacteria in whole, natural milk. When these bacteria are able to multiply -- as in milk which is allowed to sit at room temperature for awhile -- they colonize the entire medium (the milk) and make it inhospitable to decay organisms, effectively preserving it from spoilage for several days or weeks. Some of those bacteria will continue to live in the gastrointestinal tract when consumed, boosting the multitude of intestinal bacteria, and contributing to more efficient digestion and elimination. Also, the bacteria active in milk cultures help break down or pre-digest both milk sugar (lactose) and milk protein (casein), making these components easier to digest. Indeed, some individuals with an intolerance of milk are able to digest cultured milks with no problem. Please note that traditional dairying cultures the world over have used various culturing techniques to make milk foods for thousands of years, long before mechanical refrigeration or pasteurization were ever dreamed of.
Yes, but some of the butterfat from raw milk will separate out as small clumps and will not fully blend in again when thawed. It will still taste good and can be used to churn butter, whisk into vinaigrettes, melt into hot drinks, etc. Raw milk will keep at least 2 months in the freezer.
Cows eating high-quality hay or fresh pasture grasses will give milk with a high beta carotene content. The beta carotene gives a slightly yellow color to the cream. As spring comes on and the grass grows more lush and green, the milk takes on an even richer color. You should know that cows eating a lot of high-quality forage give milk that is higher in vitamin A, CLA, and other fat-soluble nutrients, unlike their confinement-dairy cousins. You may have noticed that goat's milk, even though the goats forage on the same pasture, is much whiter than cow's milk. This is because goats are far more efficient at converting beta carotene to vitamin A.
You can pasteurize your own milk if you wish. For example, the milk can be heated to 145 degrees Fahrenheit (62.7 Celsius) and held at that temperature for 30 minutes. However, we cannot give a detailed prescription for the process here; and urge you to consult a reliable source of information on the subject. (E.g., The Joy of Cooking, by Rombauer and Becker; and The New Putting Food By, by Hertzberg, Vaughan and Greene. Both sources suffer from common misapprehensions about pasteurization and milk safety.) It is important to stress that pasteurization should not be done in a haphazard way. You should use a good thermometer and monitor the process precisely. However, there are many advantages to using milk raw, both nutritionally and in terms of its versatility, referred to above. Given the care wild thing organics takes for the health of its cows and the scrupulous hygiene of its milk, we feel you can be confident in using this high-quality milk just as it comes from the cow.
The herd has grown! Suzy and Ellie have been joined by Greta, Pam, Yvette, and Biscuit. All the girls are purebred Jerseys, an old-fashioned breed known for excellent milk with high butterfat content. Biscuit also has some Guernsey (another high-quality, old-fashioned dairy breed) in her from about 5 generations back. The cows spend their days together with the goats on a large pasture with excellent grazing. We practice rotational grazing here, to keep our cows on the freshest pasture possible throughout the growing season. Only the best quality, unsprayed dairy-grade hay is used in the winter months. As our weather patterns have been unpredictable this year and we didn't get the pasture re-growth we usually do, the cows and goats were treated to some of their favourite hay along with their pasture grazing, before winter actually hit. As we are inland, they are all given a bit of kelp at milking time to boost their mineral intake, especially iodine and selenium.
Yes, our cows have been tested for TB (tuberculosis), brucellosis, and Johne's disease.
If necessary, yes. We will use Diatomaceous Earth as a preventive measure.
The most important part of their diet is the pasture grass they graze on all day; and in the winter, high-quality alfalfa hay is used. High-quality forage produces the very best milk. Note that the pastures here are not fertilized with sludge, or any chemical fertilizer. No pesticides or herbicides are used on this property. While being milked, the cows may receive a treat of alfalfa cubes with a little kelp for extra iodine and trace minerals. They also receive a mineral supplement free choice (available at all times).
In contrast to soy-, grain- and hormone-fuelled, commercial dairy breeds, Jersey cows give a smaller amount of milk which is higher in butterfat. The shareholders' cows give about three gallons at each milking, depending on their stage of lactation. Please note that milk production varies with the season, the weather, the quality of the forage available; and the normal curve of the cow's lactation cycle.
We are experimenting with fresh and aged cheeses to offer as alternative share options for our share members in the future. All shares unclaimed by other members are owned by wild thing organics.
Yes, they might; and a shareholder should keep this in mind as we approach calving. During the final months of a cow's pregnancy, she should be allowed to be "dry" (not being milked) because she is putting so much of her body's resources into the growing calf. Also, after the birth, the calf will be nursing on its mother until it is weaned. Pregnancies are spaced at scheduled intervals through the year to try to maintain a consistent supply of milk for our shareholders. We will do our very best to maintain this schedule, and ask your understanding and cooperation if things go askew.
That depends on the gender of the calf. Bull (male) calves will be raised for meat. Heifer (female) calves will be kept as replacement cows or to be sold to others seeking good Jersey cows.
No, the ownership of all calves born to the cows will revert to wild thing organics.
We give our highest possible recommendation to the book Nourishing Traditions, written by Sally Fallon of the Weston A. Price Foundation. This book goes well beyond the conventional cookbook. It is a comprehensive compendium of information about food and health issues, with a focus on the whole, natural foods emphasized by traditional cultures throughout history. It is a book that may revolutionize all your thinking about diet and health. There are two chapters of particular note to those interested in or starting to use whole, natural milk: "Milk and Milk Products" and "Cultured Dairy Products," with guidance and recipes for making many of the cultured milk products mentioned above. The Untold Story of Milk, by Ron Schmid, is also highly recommended. Our own reading of this book revealed that almost all of what we thought we "knew" about the history of and the "need" for pasteurization was completely inaccurate. Chapters reassessing our ideas about milk as a vector for the transmission of disease; the nutritional qualities of raw milk as opposed to heat-treated milk; and the results of the industrialization of the dairy process -- all are essential reading.
G.E.M. Cultures: www.gemcultures.com Lehmans: www.lehmans.com Hoeggers: www.hoeggergoatsupply.com New England Cheesemaking Supply: www.cheesemaking.com Body Ecology: www.bodyecologydiet.com Dairy Connection: www.dairyconnection.com
The above resources are located in the U.S. If you are close to the border, as we are, you can arrange to have the cultures shipped to a U.S. address and simply bring them into Canada. If you're not close enough to the border for this to be viable, we've discovered a source in Canada: www.glengarrycheesemaking.on.ca
If you need more information about the cowshare (cow share) program, or advice or guidance in using your milk for a variety of nourishing dairy foods, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
At this point in history, and considering the current climate surrounding raw milk, the herd is held at an undisclosed location. This location is a private home and large property owned by a retired dairyman friend. Approximately two years ago this share made a decision to move the herd to another location and off the home property, which we'd rapidly outgrown. While the initial decision was based on availing ourselves of a larger property, better facilities, an onsite bull for breeding, and more grazing; it turned out to have additional security benefits. Holding the herd and facilities in this manner allows for the undisturbed operation of the share, without the worries of farm raids, milk confiscation, and other less-than-savory outcomes that have become all too common for share owners. It is unfortunate that these steps have to be taken, but at this time the protection of the herd and the share members has to come first and foremost.
If you or someone in your household is prone to allergies, please note that our kitchen is not gluten-free, and that we grind various nuts as well. Microscopic, airborne particles beyond our control could conceivably enter into the equation while milk is being bottled. The moisturizing balm we use on the cows at milking time consists of: virgin coconut oil; unrefined cocoa butter, pure aloe vera gel; extra virgin olive oil. It is unlikely that these ingredients will cause a problem, but please contact us if you have a known sensitivity to any of the above. We make the cow balm ourselves, with all-organic ingredients and no solvents or chemical cocktails of any kind. It helps to keep the cows' teats smooth, soft and free of chapping. The girls really appreciate this blend, especially in winter!
Recommended books on health, nutrition, cooking:
Nutrition and Physical Degeneration - Weston A. Price
Nourishing Traditions - Sally Fallon
Full Moon Feast - Jessica Prentice
The Untold Story of Milk - Ron Schmid
Your Thyroid and How to Keep it Healthy - Barry Durrant-Peatfield
The Whole Soy Story - Kaayla T. Daniel
The Fourfold Path to Healing - Thomas S. Cowan
The Cholesterol Myths - Uffe Ravnskov
Know Your Fats - Mary G. Enig
Wild Fermentation - Sandor Ellix Katz
Holy Cows and Hog Heaven - Joel Salatin
The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen - Paula Wolfert
The Cuisines of Mexico - Diana Kennedy
All About Braising - Molly Stevens
Kitchen Literacy - Ann Vileisis
For an ACCURATE history of raw milk and current scientific fact vs. fiction please read "Raw Milk Realities" Click HERE to view.