What are the benefits of raw milk?
Responsibly made raw milk, which is produced within the legal requirements for licensing to sell it, carries beneficial bacteria, and these are essential for our health.
Food enzymes, a number of vitamins, and beneficial bacteria are unfortunately killed in the pasteurization and homogenization processes, which can lead to milk being more difficult to absorb and digest.
When you drink raw milk from a farm where quality is a top priority, you are taking in more wholesome ingredients which are not missing the components to help the milk to be more naturally digestible. Raw milk still contains vital nutrients which nature intended to be kept in milk.
To learn more benefits, see the work of Jenny McGruther with Nourished Kitchen.
What is A2A2 Milk?
A2 refers to the specific type of beta-casein, a protein, in the milk of certain mammals, including goats, sheep, and women who produce breast milk. Dairy cows, however, have either A1 as A1A1 as A1A2 or A2 as A2A2.
It is believed that the A1 protein developed thousands of years ago as a genetic mutation after the A2 protein had been the original protein produced in cows back in the history of their time in Africa before their caretakers moved them to Europe and later the U.S. The migration away from cattle’s native land and climate is thought to have possibly had an influence on the development of the mutation.
Understanding and distinction of these variations, which involve the difference of just 1 amino acid out of 209 in a fixed sequence, with histidine at position 67 in A1 but proline at the same position in A2, only came about in science a few decades ago, according to agricultural researcher Keith Woodford.
While some people can digest A1A1 or A1A2 milk without difficulty, others get sick from it. Yet the A2A2 protein has shown itself to be easier to drink without complications for those who experience health issues and discomfort after drinking A1A1 or A1A2 milk.
People being able to better enjoy cow’s milk and its densely packed health benefits by drinking A2A2 milk is gaining more attention as more research is underway on this subject. But a lot of consumers take it into their own hands by seeing what works best for them, which we hear about from customers who find us because they want A2A2 milk for themselves and their families.
How safe is our milk, given that it's raw?
Pennsylvania requires raw milk to be 5 times cleaner than milk which will later be pasteurized. Of the 10 milk sanitation and herd health tests we must complete on a regular basis, only the first 3 are required in order to sell milk as eventually pasteurized. The other 7 tests are extra Pennsylvania-based state tests required by farmers to sell raw milk intended for direct human consumption. These include—
- Total Coliform Count (TCC)
- Somatic Cell Count (SCC)
- Preliminary Incubation (PI)
- Standard Plate Count (SPC)
- Listeria monocytogenes
- Campylobacter jejuni
Our cows are also tested for Bovine Tuberculosis, otherwise known as Brucellosis, which is caused by various bacterial strains of Brucella.
All of these tests mean that, in a sense, raw milk’s strict requirements for safety testing make it actually even safer and healthier to drink than pasteurized, homogenized milk which does not have as many safety-oriented mandates for testing.
To find out more in-depth, visit the site for Your Family Farmer.
How long does your milk stay good to drink when it’s stored in a refrigerator?
Both pasteurized and raw milk have a shelf life of 14 days, yet we have found raw milk to last longer, but it needs to stay very cold.
Does raw milk spoil, if left unrefrigerated or once it is a few weeks old?
No. Instead of spoiling like pasteurized, homogenized milk, raw milk instead sours, which makes it usable for much longer. Raw milk or cream which has soured is actually NOT harmful or dangerous. Rather, it’s chock full of beneficial enzymes and good bacteria. However, pasteurized milk is dangerous, as it lacks these enzymes and bacteria, and as opposed to souring, it putrefies—so avoid it once it goes bad!
What testing is done to track A2A2 aspects of our dairy herd?
Our herd is 100% registered Jersey cows, and they are 100% A2. Each cow has been tested for its genetic detailing and protein type through a reputable third-party lab. We always test every new cow in our herd for the A2 protein before adding her milk to our processing.
What is life like for our Jersey cows on a given day?
Our cows are fed a non-GMO diet with lots of grass. When the pastures are growing in the warm seasons, they spend a lot of time grazing through fresh grass and spending their days in plenty of sunshine, of course except when it’s raining overcast. Even in the winter months, we put them onto an exercise lot most days just to ensure that they get plenty of movement. We believe that a healthy cow will produce healthy milk. The health of our herd is very important to us. We have 8 children, and most of the work here with our cows is done by our family, with the help of a few employees. We thank God for the blessing of being able to work together as a family and also for the blessing all our wonderful customers are to us.
Why are our butter, yogurt, kefir and curds pasteurized if our other dairy products are considered raw?
While the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture allows us produce raw milk and cheese, it currently requires that other dairy products made onsite, like our butter, yogurt, kefir, and curds, be pasteurized. Although, these do start out as raw, like everything we make on our farm.
Do you have suggestions for different ways to incorporate your dairy products into meals?
Yes! Visit our blog to see beautiful pictures of our cows as well as to find our family’s recipes you can test out at home.