Back to basics: What IS raw milk?

I think one of the questions we get most frequently from folks that have never tried raw milk, is simply: What IS raw milk? Most of our customers that own a herd share with our farm already know this but I know there are folks that may be just beginning their research into it.

The short answer, raw milk is milk in its most natural form. It has not had anything done to change it, besides being strained and cooled. What the heck does that do?! You might be thinking.

I usually feel it helps to also explain what pasteurized milk is. The pasteurization process was created to keep milk clean and keep people from getting sick. At the time, there was no refrigeration and thus, germs would simply multiply and make the milk really gross and cause the drinker to get ill with a variety of different diseases. Pasteurization is, essentially, boiling the milk at a very high temperature which burns out any bad germs that may be lurking in the milk. While this sounds great, you’re also losing two of the biggest benefits of the milk by boiling/pasteurizing it: good bacteria and natural enzymes.

So lets talk about these two main benefits and what they do for you. We’ll start with the good bacteria. Milk is a good environment for germs to grow. However, modern technology of bulk tanks allow us to cool milk to a temperature of 38 degrees (F) within about 20 minutes of milking the cows. Crazy! This effectively kills any germs or bad bacteria that may be lingering in the milk. The awesome part of leaving the bacteria in the milk is there’s also really good bacteria in the milk. These guys help to kill off any germs as well. The good bacteria will actually eat the bad! How cool is that?! And, bonus, when the good bacteria is taken into the body while drinking milk. it also works to strengthen your immune system which keeps you healthier. It even helps fight off seasonal allergies. Just ask my husband, Ben. He should probably never have been a farmer since he’s allergic to both certain grasses and calves…That’s kinda what cows and farming are about! That being said, when he’s regularly drinking our delicious raw milk, his allergies are virtually non-existent. Definitely don’t wanna burn that out!!

The second of the two main benefits of raw milk is probably my favorite: natural enzymes. These babies are truly amazing. I’m 32 and when I was growing up, not that many people were lactose intolerant. Of course there were some, but they were rather few and far between. Fast forward to now, and “dairy-free” is a thing and it’s everywhere. So many people are diagnosed as lactose intolerant. But did you know, this may not necessarily be true?! WHAT?! Yes. Remember how I said pasteurization burns out the natural enzymes in milk? Well those enzymes are what actually help the stomach to digest the milk. I have countless members of our herd share program that have been diagnosed as lactose intolerant and told they can’t drink milk or have dairy anymore. Personally, I would be DEPRESSED if I was told that. All that being said, my “lactose intolerant” customers can drink our milk because of the amazing natural enzymes! Their bodies don’t reject the milk because the enzymes break up those long protein chains that are sometimes harder to digest. I’ve actually found that almost nothing settles my tummy better than drinking a glass of raw milk.

So there we are! This tells you just a little about raw milk and why it’s delicious and SO good for you! Good bacteria that strengthens your immune system and natural enzymes that help even the more sensitive of stomachs to digest it! How cool is that!

~JoAnna B.