Arcadia Farms

  (Portage, Michigan)
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Where to Find Raw Milk

7.9milk

{Image Credit}
www.mercola.com

Last week I wrote about the benefits of raw milk (and the irony of the corresponding dangers of pasteurized milk.) In that post I said that I would be bringing you answers to the following questions:

  1. If it’s illegal to sell raw milk in Michigan, how am I going to (legally) get it?
  2. Where can I get raw milk?
  3. Show me the numbers – how much is it really going to cost me?
  4. What about milk from animals other than cows, like sheep and goats?

In this post I’ll be answering the first three questions. The fourth question regarding milk from animals other than cows will wait until next week. Despite the fact that raw goat’s milk has lots of health benefits and I personally like the taste, I can’t convince my family to go that route. That’s a bummer because many of my farming friends and acquaintances are goat farmers. Just because we won’t be enjoying milk from a goat share doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have the opportunity – more on that next week!

How to Legally Buy Raw Milk in Michigan

Did you know that Michigan was the first state in the U.S. to ban the sale of raw milk? Silly Mitten… Despite the ban on milk in its healthiest form, farmers and attorneys have discovered a way to get around this legal hurdle. It may be illegal to sell raw milk but it is still legal to drink raw milk from a cow that you own. Don’t worry – you don’t have to run out and buy a cow (and hope your neighbors won’t notice the mooing from your garage). Instead, you can lease a cow from a local farmer. This arrangement is called a herdshare and it typically involves a boarding fee (for the care of your cow) and share fees (which cover the cost of milk).

Where to Find Raw Milk in Southwest Michigan

I found this fabulous website called www.realmilk.com that provided information about raw milk farmers in Michigan as well as an overview of each farm. Using this list, I narrowed my research down to a few farms within 100 miles of us which sell cow’s milk. You may want to look into some of the other farms listed, but here are the farms I researched.

Hickory Creek Dairy


 http://www.hickorycreekdairy.com

Location: Baroda, Michigan

Delivery: Delivers to Benton Harbor; On-farm pick up available; Willing to deliver to Kalamazoo/Portage Area (see Other Notes)

Type of Milk: Cow

Type of Herd: Unknown

Farming Practices: Raised on pasture from early spring to late fall (grass-fed); Hay in winter; Non-GMO grain only when milking; No hormones; Antibiotics only as necessary for infections but never as a pre-treatment; If antibiotics are used, that cow’s milk is withheld for 96 hours (double the recommended withhold time).

Herd Lease (Annual): $57

Share Fee (Monthly): N/A

Price Per Gallon: $6.50

Annual Cost (1 Gallon/Week): $395

Half Shares Available: Unknown

Other Notes: A share of Hickory Creek Dairy allows you to purchase up to three gallons of milk per week – an excellent option for those who want additional milk for cheese, butter and yogurt making! Hickory Creek also sells cheese, butter and cream.

Also, Hickory Creek Dairy is willing to deliver to the Kalamazoo/Portage area if there is a standing order of at least 12 gallons of milk from herdshare owners. If you are interested in purchasing milk from Shafer’s, please contact me as soon as possible to make arrangements: katie@arcadia-farms.net. This is an excellent opportunity to help a Southwest Michigan farmer increase business with mutual benefit to those of us who want convenient access to healthier milk.

Moo-nique Dairy



http://www.mooniquedairy.com

Location: Vandalia, Michigan

Delivery: Monday deliveries to Portage and Thursday deliverers to Kalamazoo; on-farm pick-up available

Type of Milk: Cow

Type of Herd: A2 Jersey

Farming Practices: Raised on pasture (intensively, rotationally grazed) from early spring to late fall (grass-fed); Hay in winter and as a free-choice (they eat it if they want it) feed year-round; Free-choice non-GMO minerals and molasses lick available to herd; Non-GMO grain only when milking; No hormones; Antibiotics if necessary to save a cow’s life but never as a pre-treatment; If antibiotics are used, that cow’s milk is withheld for “a very long time.”

Herd Lease (Annual): $10

Share Fee (Monthly): $27

Annualized Price Per Gallon: $6.23

Annual Cost (1 Gallon/Week): $334

Half Shares Available: Yes

Other Notes: A share of Moo-nique Dairy entitles you to one gallon of milk per week – since some months have five weeks it brings the cost per gallon down slightly. Moo-nique also provides raw milk cheese (aged appropriately so that it is legal) and Greek yogurt made from their milk. Both are available to herdshare owners only. Cheese: $8.50/pound. Yogurt: $5.99/quart.

Bluebird Farm


http://www.bluebirdfarmandorchard.com

Location: Three Rivers, Michigan

Delivery: None currently; Delivery to Portage or Three Rivers may be negotiable

Type of Milk: Cow

Type of Herd: A2 Jersey

Farming Practices: Raised on pasture April to October, weather permitting (grass-fed); Hay in winter (alfalfa, grass); Non-GMO grain only when milking; No hormones; Antibiotics only as necessary for infections but never as a pre-treatment; If antibiotics are used, that cow’s milk is withheld for several days

Herd Lease (Annual): $25

Share Fee (Monthly): $35

Annualized Price Per Gallon: $8.56

Annual Cost (1 Gallon/Week): $445

Half Shares Available: Yes

Other Notes: Bluebird Farm is a low-carbon farm. For example, they use a team of draft horses for haymaking operations, clipping pastures, logging, plowing, and cultivation. This commitment to sustainable farming may mean more time and expense than conventional practices, however the result is as natural a product as you can find. For those who are willing to pay a little extra for dramatically reduced impact on the environment, I encourage you to read more about their farm philosophy by clicking here.

Step-N-Thyme Farm


http://www.localharvest.org/step-n-tyme-farm-M8862

NOTE: I was not able to connect with this farm so all information listed is simply that which I was able to glean from the internet. Click on the link above for contact info.

Location: Scotts, Michigan

Delivery: Unknown

Type of Milk: Cow

Type of Herd: Unknown

Farming Practices: Pasture-grazed cows. No hormones or antibiotics used with any animal on the farm.

What Will It Cost Me?

While I’m sure you’ve already taken stock of the prices listed above, I thought I’d provide a quick-references summary of prices for these farms as compared to the cost of store-bought milk, namely Meijer Organic milk.

Milk Price Chart Organic

In addition to the costs of milk for drinking and baking, I’m working out comparisons for the cost of other dairy products such as cheese, butter and yogurt. Stay tuned! And don’t forget to check back next week to learn more about the benefits and costs of local goat’s milk!

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