Posts Tagged ‘raw milk’

Time to let the cat out of the bag…

We are MOVING! For real this time. We have made an offer that was accepted by the seller of a 20 acre farm in Jacksonville, Alabama! This has been our dream and now it’s being realized. We are weary of the crime, politics and traffic that have come with living and farming in Cobb County. Not to mention we’re getting three times as much land for a fifth of the price, a nicer barn, and a much nicer house.

So the obvious question. How are we going to continue to provide our grass fed, gmo free, drug free, humanely raised milk and meat to our loyal customers? We already have one farm member who is willing to be a pickup site near Marietta, and we would like to find a couple more who would be willing to do the same around Dallas/Hiram, Acworth/Kennesaw, and Powder Springs/Austell. Anyone who would like to be a pickup site would need to have a spare refrigerator in a garage/carport/basement that other farm members could gain access to. This would mean that folks would be coming by your house to get their milk, eggs (yes, one day we will be making eggs) and possibly meat or veggies. But hey, all of our farm members are awesome folks! Plus you would get a lifetime membership as long as you are working with us. I would be bringing products for members 2-3 times a week as I will continue to work at the Cobb County Fire Dept.

Next. What about the farm on Barrett Parkway? We would really love to find someone who could take over our lease. Our landlord has agreed that if anyone assumed the lease, he would renew and there would be an option to buy. This would be a great opportunity for someone to get into growing food or to expand upon their existing gardening. Our friend Jeff has been manning the vegetable operation and has said that he would gladly work with anyone else. We’ve planted numerous fruit trees and have built up and improved the soil with lots of good organic material. This location is really ideal for a fruit and vegetable farm with close access to farmer’s markets in Marietta, Smyrna, Kennesaw, at KSU, Acworth, and Atlanta. If someone would take over here, we would love to be able to work with them. The other option is for us to find a buyer, and that may well be a developer or just someone buying an investment property. Land on Barrett Pkwy is selling in the ballpark of $100,000/acre and as it becomes more scarce, it will continue to go up.

Finally, we need to unload some livestock to reduce the number of animal we need to move. We have added a couple of new cows to keep up our milk supply, but we have a couple who are dry and we will be selling. For details on the cows, see our page Animals For Sale. Then there’s the pigs. Much to Katie’s delight, we are moving up our processing date for the pigs and will be selling a number of live pigs for others to grow out or to keep as breeders. Pork will be ready for pick up the third or fourth week of October. Whole pigs are $3.00/lb and halves are $3.50/lb plus processing fee (approximately $80-90). $100 deposit to reserve per pig and you can place your order on our Pastured Pork page.

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Martha

 

 

 

 

The new farm is only 1 hour and 45 minutes from our current location. Once we get moved and settled in, we would love to have you come visit us and see the bit of paradise we will call home.

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Help Fund a Milk Cow – Get Milk and Then Some

It’s become necessary for us to look to add new cows to our herd with the continuing growth in demand. However, with the price of a good to better than average Jersey ranging from $1500 – $3000, It’s no small purchase. We’re asking for a bit of help by paying for a year’s worth of milk in advance. As a thank you, we’re also tacking on a couple of perks in the form of farm membership credit and a 5% discount on a whole pig and a free bacon making class. Send an email to eastwestfamilyfarm@gmail.com to contact us about how you can keep us milking and providing the best possible food from our pastures.

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Leola

Leola

Once a Day Milking

Back when I was dreaming about farming, we were visiting a local farm where we bought our milk. It was milking time and the cows were filing into the milking parlor, what luck! I asked if we could observe the process and after noting our three young children, we were given a nod and warned to be quiet. The parlor echoed with the pulsating hiss of the pump. In the center was a pit for the worker, it was just deep enough to put the cows udders at chest height while standing. Cows would come in one door, stepping into one of the four stalls just vacated by one of her herd mates. From the pit the farmer could manage the cows by pushing and pulling levers to open and close gates. As each new cow came in, a hefty scoop of grain was deposited into a trough which the cow enthusiastically devoured. The farmer would quickly dip each test with iodine, wipe them off and attach what I now know (and very familiar with) as inflationary. We sat for a while watching in uneducated, uninitiated wonderment and awe from an observation area above the pit opposite from the milking stalls. I asked as many questions I could with being too much of a nuisance (I hoped) and they were answered with the same polite tolerance that I display when asked about farming. “Do they need to get grain?” A: “That’s what brings them in and distracts them for milking.” Q: “Do they kick?” (One cow was throwing a hoof around until the inflationary were attached) A: with a grin “sometimes” Q: “How often do you milk?” A: “Twice a day, every day, 4am and 4pm no matter what.” This final answer was delivered almost as a challenge/boast/complaint. It was that final answer that stuck in my head the most and kept me from considering getting into milking until I couldn’t ignore the demand any longer.

Twice a day (TAD) milking is the most common milking schedule dairy farms adhere to. Some even milk 3x a day to get the maximum production from the cows. But there’s a slowly growing number of farms adopting once a day (OAD) milking. The farmers who chose the OAD schedule cite that while there is a 15-20% decrease in production, this is offset by lower feed cost, reduced stress, and time freed up for other farm duties. I’ve toyed with the idea of adopting this schedule and now after a few days of solo farming/parenting/homeschooling while the wife was out of town cemented my decision to switch.

I am married to one incredibly gracious and supportive wife who did not share my dream of farming. We work together with the kids taking care of the critters with milking time being the hub that the schedule revolves around. But every third day, I get up and put on a uniform and report for a 24 hour shift at a fire station, leaving her to take care of everything. After two days of managing the farm, the kids, & the house I realized that we were switching to OAD milking.

One other factor is our up coming move. While we will have a much nicer barn to work in, the pastures are a walk away and the cows could be any where on 60 acres as opposed to the current 7 we are on. So here we go on yet another learn as you go lesson in farming.

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Homesteader’s Dream |

Our friends over at My Dad & Me Family Farm are selling their current location in Powder Springs, GA. They aren’t quitting, they’re needing to move to a larger property so that they can continue to expand and grow. Click the following link to read all about it and see more photos. The best thing I can say about this farm is that it’s 100% turnkey. Nothing needs improvement! If I could write a check that wouldn’t bounce, I wouldn’t be telling you about it.

Homesteader’s Dream |.

The Barn includes a milking parlor.

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In Raw Milk Case, Activists See Food Freedom On Trial : The Salt : NPR

What is the case against Wisconsin farmer Vernon Hershberger really about? It depends on whom you ask.

To hear the prosecution, it’s about licensing, not raw milk: Hershberger, a dairy farmer hailing from the town of Loganville, is on trial this week for operating without three licenses. He’s also accused of continuing to sell raw milk to members of his private club after he was ordered not to.

If convicted, the father of 10 faces more than a year in jail and more than $10,000 in fines.

Prosecutors say they aren’t debating the safety of raw milk — and the judge in the case has pretty much banned all mention of the stuff in the courtroom. His defense team tells us that one trial spectator wearing a T-shirt expressing support for raw milk had to turn it inside out before he was allowed in the courtroom.

But activists say the case is about raw milk and much, much more.

Fundamentally, they say, it’s about personal food freedom and the rights of farmers and consumers to enter into private contracts without government intervention.

“As a mother, I have the right to choose the nutritious foods that I want to feed my son. I don’t want the government making that choice for me,” says Jen Morrison, a member of Hershberger’s Grazin’ Acres private food buying club.

In addition to raw milk, she gets beef and poultry raised by Hershberger and his family. In return, she pays a $25 annual membership fee — considered an investment in the farm — plus the cost for each product she buys (such as a gallon of raw milk). Occasionally, her family volunteers on the farm.

Read More:

In Raw Milk Case, Activists See Food Freedom On Trial : The Salt : NPR.

The good news is, Vernon Hershberger’s right to farm and provide the food he grows to those who need it was successfully defended.

Come to our Spring Fling!

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Food, fun, and a little bit of education is what’s in store this Saturday. Kids should come equipped with a basket so they can hunt for eggs filled with organic grain and after we find all the eggs, they will get to feed our chickens and pigs. We will demonstrate how to make butter and then everyone can smear some on a slice of homemade bread  to experience goodness like no other. Have a taste of pasture raised pork and egg salad from pasture raised eggs. Visit with other local farmers on site and engage in a conversation about what they grow. Sample some really awesome coffee from JavaGenesis and witness the roasting of coffee beans. Take a short walk through the pasture for a mobile Q & A on pasture based farming. All questions will be answered, no subject is taboo. I look forward to seeing everybody!

Raw Milk is 2 Legit 2 Quit

First a little history lesson.

For many of you, this is well known stuff and I’m not divulging any big secrets. For some though, the idea of fresh, raw milk seems rather eccentric or bizarre. If this gets too boring, just skim (haha) on down to the Here and Now.

Once upon a time, milk was just milk. There wasn’t a need to differentiate between pasteurized and raw, especially for those who were blessed with a nearby dairy. Pasteurization did not become the generally accepted treatment for milk until the forties around WWII when foods were becoming more and more processed to extend shelf life. After the war, America became consumed with convenience and modernization and the first super markets opened, fast food restaurants appeared, and the US government was firmly entrenched in influencing the foods it’s citizens would have access to. The USDA started driving policy with health and convenience at the core, only there was less health and more convenience. Crisco was in every pantry as the healthy alternative to lard, margarine displaced butter, and liquid milk had all kinds of things being done to it. Cream had long been skimmed from whole milk for all sorts of delicacies and the leftover milk was a favorite for fattening hogs, but as farming became more vertical and farms became more specialized and monocultured, symbiotic practices fell by the wayside. Dairy farms no longer had pigs and fewer farms had them nearby, so  dairies needed something to do with the skim milk. So a campaign was manufactured to tout skim milk as “healthy” since women were starting to compare their bodies to starlets, the bikini was rising in popularity, and it made sense that eating fat made you fat, right?

So now milk’s being divided, pasteurized, homogenized and even powdered. The problem was that folks would long for the rich creamy milk of their childhood and would seek out the old dairyman who’d still sell a few quarts of fresh milk. Well the official position of the USDA and FDA became that the only way milk was suitable for consumption was for it to be pasteurized, so to keep the feds happy states began outlawing or severely restricting the sale of raw, unpasteurized milk. But the people still longed for milk as God had intended it, so they sought it out, legal or not. Why the hoopla? Is flavor really that much of a motivation alone? Or was it something more?

Milk has long been a staple in the diet of omnivorous humans. Milk is a whole food that delivered protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and probiotics. Throughout the history of man; cows, goats, sheep, camel and even horses I’m told, were a source of sustainable nutrition in the form of milk. At some point someone put some milk in the stomach of a calf for transportation and he later found the milk had turned into something awesome and wonderful, cheese. Cheese, yogurt, butter, and kefir became the means to extend the nutritive qualities of milk since there was no such thing as refrigeration. What was found was that these cultured forms of milk boosted the milks already nutrition and health benefits. Owning a goat or cow for many a family was the difference between life and death. And so, all throughout history, man has relied on dairy. Unpasteurized dairy. That’s right!

Somehow, for thousands of years, people have been risking their very lives by drinking milk because according to the FDA, CDC, and every commercial dairyman; milk is an inherently dangerous food and should not be consumed unless it’s been heated up to kill all the bacteria. But how did the human race survive being constantly inundated with deadly pathogens in their milk? Not only survive but thrive? It’s because milk from healthy, grass fed cows  is one of the healthiest foods on earth. Pasteurization was a man-made solution to a man-made problem. Cows who are in crowded conditions, fed a diet heavy in grain and byproducts, and rarely live in sunlight, are going to make toxic milk. Milk that I wouldn’t feed to my dogs. Pasteurization also destroys any beneficial bacteria and enzymes, totally restructures the proteins, and strips it of the naturally occurring vitamin D and calcium milk is supposed to be an excellent source of so it must be artificially fortified. After all that, milk is homogenized to evenly distribute the fat by beating it to bits (we don’t want anyone hurting themselves with shaking their milk do we?)

And so Here and Now.

A few days ago, I received word that a Representative out of Cherokee County by the name of Scot Turner had drafted a bill that would create another designation for raw milk as being “ungraded” and that ungraded raw milk would not be regulated by the department of Agriculture and therefore permitted to be sold for human consumption. At first it sounded a little enticing and attractive. But then I spoke with a few others, and i thought about it for a while. I then came to realize that the Georgia Department of Agriculture would never permit some milk to be regulated, and some of it not. Their job is to protect the masses from choosing to consume potentially lethal substances disguised as food so of cours, they would regulate raw milk intended for human consumption. They’d regulate to the point that most producers wouldn’t be able to meet the standards and would quit selling milk.  The regulations and licensing  requirements would drive up the cost of milk and likely make it so that only one or two farms would be able to sell raw milk.

Wednesday, February 19 was the hearing  before the Agriculture and Consumer Affairs committee. Anyone who wished to speak, could sign up to do so. I chose not to ask to speak since I had no idea what it was that would be said, and I didn’t want to unknowingly incriminate myself. The hearing started with Mr. Turner speaking about an experience where he met a group of folks carrying signs and carrying on about legalizing raw milk. It was to his dismay, he learned that a person in Georgia could not freely purchase raw milk for human consumption. So he decided to take up this issue as a banner for individual rights and liberty. Unfortunately, Mr. Turner never contacted any farmers who were actively selling raw milk labeled for pet food which is completely legal. He never sought their input nor the customers of those farmers. If he had, he would have heard a resounding NO. The current policy on raw milk in Georgia has been quite agreeable for many farmers and their customers. But he did not, and HB 718 was drafted and presented to the Ag Committee. As he gave his presentation, some committee members had incredulous expressions and one even asked, “What’s Pet milk? I’ve never heard of it.”

The room wasn’t quite standing room only, but it was pretty full. It was easy to spot those who came because they feared their access to raw milk was in danger. One easily recognized the moms and grandmothers who on speaking, revealed that they took the health and well being of their families beyond what is generally accepted as “normal”. The there was a small crowd of young professionals with notepads, tablets and smartphones at the ready. I could only guess that these were aids to members of the General Assembly or lobbyists. Then there was a small group of 5 or so middle aged to elderly men who didn’t speak to anyone outside their group and then in a tight lipped manner.

After Mr. Turner spoke, those who signed up to speak before the committee, were called. First, were the raw milk supporters who regularly purchase milk labeled as pet food and are quite happy with it. One in particular came armed with an arsenal of supporting documentation on the nutritional value and safe track record of raw milk. She spoke of how she has built relationships and trust with small farmers she has come to depend upon for the food she provides her family. She ended by stating that she did not support the bill as it was written as she feared it would be detrimental to small farmers. Many of the committee members were intrigued with her presentation and ask a few questions for clarification.

Next was the one and only supporter of the Bill, Iris Peeler who is the head of the dairy program at Berry College in Rome, and whose family owns a dairy farm in South Carolina where retail sale of raw milk is legal. Ms. Peeler supports access to raw milk, but only under government regulation. Following Mrs. Peeler, a fellow stood and announced that he’d like to concede his turn to speak over to the members of the Georgia Dairy Producers Association, giving the commercial dairy farmers the last say. None of them came prepared with written statements or supporting documents. Every single one of them spoke of how inherently dangerous raw milk was  and that people need to be protected from it. All they could say to back up their claims was to say “the CDC says so.” They all spoke of how even though they used best management practices, it could not be determined if any one cow was infected or shedding harmful bacteria. The last one to speak was a retired farmer, who told a long rambling tale about even though he grew up drinking raw milk and confidently gave to his children, he stopped when one day his 9 year old son became ill, so ill that he spent weeks at Scottish Rite hospital in Atlanta. That was when he determined that raw milk was too dangerous and stopped drinking it. This was 30 years ago.  He also told of how the cow was just designed to get contaminated because her milk supply is below her rectum. He even claimed that pasteurized milk was a superior food for calves, at which I nearly jumped out of my seek to exclaim, “BS!” The final words that rang out were, “We have to protect the children. The risk is too great!”  Following the commercial dairy farmers, Gary Black, the Department of Agriculture Commissioner got up to speak. He was careful not to flat out state he was anti-raw milk as he heard that there were people in the crowd who did not trust the Dept. of Ag to do what was right for small farms and their customers. It was also revealed that the FDA had sent a position statement to the committee members with a book of data for their reading enjoyment.

After all the testimony, Mr. Turner was able to give a closing statement. He cited that even though we’ve had outbreaks in spinach, lettuces, and peanut butter; none if these foods were outlawed. It was pointed out by the committee chairman, Mr. Tom McCall, that parties on both sides of the issue did not support the bill and it made it difficult to know exactly how to proceed. Mr. Turner pointed out that several states permit raw milk sales for human consumption, and that if it’s good enough in other states such as South Carolina. One of the Committee members pointedly asked Commissioner Black, why can they do it in South Carolina, but we can’t in Georgia? He didn’t have a very clear, non-political answer for that.

We’ve had it good in Georgia. Raw milk is NOT illegal, so there’s no need for a campaign to legalize it. Seeking approval to sell raw milk as a food for human consumption, will not legitimize it. Raw milk has always been legitimate because even with a label touting that it could be harboring harmful bacteria and is sold as pet food, people can purchase it and do with it what they please. Those who want can get it. No, it’s not available alongside jugs of Mayfield in the grocery stores and it’s not particularly convenient to have to meet a truck at a drop off point, or to have to go to the farm, but food should not be convenient. It’s convenience that has destroyed the American food system and created an overfed, undernourished population.

Please take a moment to express to Scot Turner, scot.turner@house.ga.gov, that we aren’t oppressed in Georgia. Those who want it can get it, those who produce it can sell it. Fighting for individual liberty and freedom is great and noble, this just isn’t the issue to use to do it with.