We are no longer selling milk. This page remains for archival purposes.
Why we produce raw goat milk
Managing a small herd of dairy goats offers significant benefits to our diversified farm by generating fertility and food while utilizing otherwise marginal landscapes. Having a herd larger than we personally need makes this process more efficient in many ways, so selling some of the resulting milk production generates needed cashflow that helps our diversified business model. Raw milk sales also provide a unique source of fresh, good food to consumers interested in supporting local small farms known to them, thus allowing the personal farmer-customer relationship to supplant more expensive and bureaucratic regulation.
Why we sell milk raw
We sell our goat milk raw because under Missouri law it is the only way to sell any form of dairy product from our farm without expensive infrastructure and licensing requirements which are impractical for a small, diversified farm like ours. We’d prefer to produce and sell fresh yogurt or cheese, both of which we’re good at making, but the facilities required to do this legally are far out of proportion to the quantity of products and sales that could be generated by the small herd on our diversified farm. Thus we, like many other Missouri small farms, are forced to sell milk raw if we want to make any income on dairy management at all, even though health and agriculture officials view the raw product as unsafe.
We view raw milk primarily as an ingredient comparable to raw meat or eggs, not a consumable end product on its own. While there is fierce debate over the relative safety and health benefits of consuming raw milk, and we personally support the rights of consumers and farmers to buy and sell raw milk without government interference, in our opinion the political and pathogenic liability risk to our farm of selling milk for raw consumption is too great. As local events in spring 2012 showed, we could easily lose the farm business to an incident or accusation not within our control. Thus we sell raw goat’s milk only to customers (primarily CSA members) who have visited the farm, seen our methods & facilities, and signed an agreement not to consume the milk raw. Customers should also be familiar with our management of the poisonous plant White Snakeroot.
Using & handling raw milk
Milk has far more culinary uses than just drinking it straight, including yogurt, cheese, custards, sauces, and more, all of which can be achieved easily and safely in the home kitchen. Here are some ideas & guidance:
-To home pasteurize: Gently heat to 145ºF for 1/2 hour or to 161ºF for 15 seconds (FDA standard; see page 8 of this publication). Use a reliable, calibrated thermometer. A double boiler is gentlest on the milk, though a saucepan works fine if you heat slowly and stir regularly to avoid scorching the milk.
– Raw milk can be used as an ingredient in baked goods, simmered sauces, puddings, cooked custards, cooked ice-cream bases, & any other culinary creations that heat the milk to pasteurization temperature in the process.
– Fresh cheeses such as whole-milk ricotta and standard yogurt recipes are heated to above the pasteurization temperature as part of the process. For fresh, soft cheeses (such as chevre and feta) that do not involve heating the milk to pasteurization temperature, simply pasteurize beforehand.
– The only acceptable use of the milk in an unpasteurized form is for properly aged raw-milk hard cheeses; allow a minimum 60 day aging period (as established by the FDA). Whey from raw cheese should be pasteurized if it is to be used; do not use raw whey for vegetable fermentation.
How our milk is sold
Our fresh raw goat milk comes in 1/2 gallon glass jars, with a reusable label attached stating the age of the milk and proper handling procedures. We ask that these labels, lids, and jars be returned regularly to lower expenses; they will be washed on-farm before reuse, but we appreciate jars that have been thoroughly rinsed. In 2014, raw milk will be sold for $7/half-gallon; read more here about our goat management and milking methods.
View/download our customer raw milk agreement.