Monday, February 7, 2011

Milk anxiety

 Charlotte was pen bred, so I don't have an exact due date,
but her udder is big, and her ligaments are soft, so it should be soon.
For those of you who don't have your own milk supply, I can now say that I feel your pain. It's been a few years since we've run out of milk, and it was a terrible feeling. I scheduled the kiddings a little too tightly into a two-month period, and the last goat dried up in January before Athena kidded. And then my plans for starting to share milk with the babies was delayed, because I was worried about her little buckling nursing enough.

Giselle is due today, so she should kid this week.
My time without my own milk was a dark time. My children, who are accustomed to my rantings about commercially raised food, even got tired of listening to my angst, especially in the grocery store. I won't buy Horizon dairy products, because they're owned by Dean Foods, and they keep their cows inside, rather than letting them outside. And this isn't some animal rights propaganda. Dean/Horizon admits they keep the cows inside, as if there is nothing wrong with the practice. And since the class action lawsuit was filed against six different stores that were selling store-brand conventional milk labeled as organic, I'm worried about buying generic organic dairy. The label on organic creamer freaked me out because I had no idea what a couple of the ingredients were. Call me simplistic, but I think I should recognize all the ingredients in organic creamer.

Luckily, there is a local dairy that sells Jersey milk. I've been to their farm and seen their cows grazing in the pasture. I've asked the owner if they use rBGH, and he said no. Although their milk is pasteurized, it's not homogenized, so it is processed less than other milk. Although they don't feed organic grain, I understand because I can't get organic grain around here for my goats either. I'd rather have their milk than a certified organic milk that comes from a dairy across the country, where I have no idea how the cows are treated. The dairy world has become such a complicated maze, but I'm lucky that I have a good local option. I wish more people did.

12 comments:

Caroline in NH said...

I feel your pain, as far as the milk goes. It is my wish to have enough goats that I can space the breedings to have a continuous supply of milk.

I followed a link from this post to the pizza post. Need to copy that recipe; I do have a couple that I use, but both make more than 2 pizza crusts and neither is ideal for dividing the recipe. Love my KitchenAid as well! Picked it up used at a yard sale for $30. Best $30 I ever spent.

Is there a post anywhere with your husband's mozzarella procedure? That's something I haven't got right yet. Sooner or later, when my 3 does have all kidded, we'll be drowning in milk & I'll want to make some!

rachel whetzel said...

This is why I started to toy with the idea of having my own goats for milk. I'm currently out of milk (which I rant about like you do... lol) The worst part about buying organic milk for me, is that it's not only pasteurized, it's ULTRA pasteurized. At least with pasteurized, you could still make a stinking CHEESE... We are lucky here, though. The dairy I buy from is a co op dairy, and all the farms are smaller. I have also contacted them and gotten reasonable answers to my Q about the policies they have in place for the treatment of the cows under their care. I just recently found out about a new dairy that will be selling direct to customer raw milk!! Very excited about that. Still. My sweet NDG milk is tough to beat. I miss it.

Deborah @ Antiquity Oaks said...

Caroline -- I should post the mozz recipe. It's in the book, and it would be good to get some feedback before the book goes to print.

Rachel -- Thank you for pointing out that organic milk is ultra-pasteurized. Yep, that was another issue with me buying the organic.

Caroline in NH said...

Oh, I can't wait for the book! What's the timetable on that? Can we pre-order? Is it going to be available in e-book format as well?

Deborah @ Antiquity Oaks said...

The book will be available in September from all the usual places, and yes, it will be also be available as an eBook. My publisher is New Society, and they're very green. In my book proposal, I had to explain how the world would benefit from cutting down more trees to print my book. (Although it is being printed on recycled paper, the question makes you think.)

Em said...

I've been having angst about this too lately. We have our own chickens so we can have healthier protein options for our children and we don't allow them to have anything with artificial flavors or colors or HFCS in it, yet my husband insists it's fine to buy regular milk. It just freaks me out to think of the chemicals and hormones that are in there. Right nowt there's not a viable option for me, as the local farmer charges $8/gallon for his milk. I just can't swing that and make it 'OK' with my husband! Ugh. I need some goats. I need to move to the country. I need some land so I can feel better about my food options.

Donna OShaughnessy said...

Oh Deborah, you are so right to be so cautious. The best way to get good milk is to grow your own and if you can't do that then take the time to get to know YOUR farmer. We sell raw milk direct to customers who come to our farm. We welcome questions about our organic status, our feed, our pasture rotation, our cleaning methods, etc...I doubt very much Dean foods would take the time to discuss their organic practices with the ave consumer. Interview your farmer, THEN buy his products.

Abiga/Karen said...

I always thought it "dumb" that they are selling milk like it is better for you just because it is labeled organic. It is also ultra pasteurized which deadens it anyway, and all the other things you said about Horizon make it not much better than regular milk. We finally found a couple sources by us for raw organic pastured milk, woo hoo.....

Michelle said...

I thought you deserved an award; it's over on my blog....

Chicken Momma said...

This is exactly why we are buying our own buck this year. We need to be able to stagger our breeding. I wince when I need to buy milk from the store.

I will say that I was surprised to read what you wrote about Dean Foods keeping their cows inside. I live in an area that has a lot of farms that sell to Dean's (however Deans does not own the farms) and see these cows outside grazing regularly. It certainly will have me doing some more research.

Deborah @ Antiquity Oaks said...

Michelle, thanks!

Chicken Momma, just google "Dean Foods organic" and you'll be reading all day! Dean is the largest dairy company in the US, so they buy milk from everyone, plus they have some very large factory farms. They also bought Silk and switched from using organic soybeans in the soymilk last year without changing anything on the label other than to remove the word "organic." Consumers didn't notice for months!

Sharon said...

There are farms around here that are choosing NOT to renew their "organic" certification. They raise their animals/crops in a free range/organic fashion but feel the organic movement got lost somewhere along the way and now often benefits large corporations!

Getting to know your farmer is the best thing to do. Not everything labeled "organic" is better.

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