Yesterday, I started my summer volunteer work. After dropping David off at the T for work, I went to have breakfast with my friend Skye. While we sat over some pastries and lattes, we talked about my new plans for organic living. She was enthusiastic and supportive and when I asked her if she wanted to go with me to the dairy farm in Framingham for a day of volunteering she was on board.
We arrived at the farm early at 10:30AM and were told to come back at 11AM as the volunteer coordinator would not arrive until then. Needing to waste some time we explored the farm.
We explored the farm store which sells not only the raw milk from the dairy cows but also cheese, ice cream, and yogurt. The raw milk looked so delicious but with my trip to Costa Rica leaving on Wednesday, it would not have been wise to bring home a gallon of milk for 48 hours. However, next time I might bring home that gallon to try. The cheese samples were delicious. Yet the cheese is pasteurized while the milk is not.
Whenever I share with friends and family that I might be trying the dairy farm's milk which is unpasteurized the immediate reaction is one of fear. Supporters of raw milk cite many health benefits including the increased intake of probiotics, the end of eczema, and a variety of other benefits. Yet, the claims of raw milk supporters harken back to the oil snake salesmen. On the other side, there is a risk to drinking raw milk (therefore, one must sign a waiver before consumption in the state of Massachusetts). I have an urge to try it at least once to see what it tastes like. Yet the literature out there treats the consumption of raw milk as though one was playing russia roulette or eating blowfish. There seems to be no middle ground between farmers and food companies. Perhaps, before I consume it myself (even though the desire is there) I will continue to do some research. The general sentiment that I have been able to parse out of numerous readings is: Raw milk consumption is risky. But, regardless of the debate on raw milk and whether or not I will try it, what I will do is continue to work with the dairy cows.
Visiting the farm and having the opportunity to pet the calves was truly unique. My role would be to come to the farm at 8:30AM and pass out fresh water and milk bottles to each of the 40 calves. Then, it would be time to head into the pens with the calves, give them a pet and a cuddle and clean up any messes. My orientation to the farm was so exciting and the calves were so sweet and unafraid. Maybe one day I will try their milk, but I will definitely come and volunteer and care for them each week this summer. My days of eating beef are probably numbered now though!