Last week we received the fine gift of four glass milk bottles from a kind friend. Up until now, we have kept our fresh milk in the fridge in glass preserving jars, transferring it to the milk jug for use. Kevin and I see raw milk as a magical and beautiful substance, so it seems entirely fitting that we should keep it in special bottles. When the bottles were filled up for the first time with fresh creamy milk, we gazed at them with reverence and satisfaction.
Since we keep our cows and calves together, we do not have to milk every day. Kevin just separates Coco and her calf (Henrietta Hamburger) the night before we need some more milk. This is a great setup, though it’s becoming trickier all the time as the calf gets bigger, stronger and more cunning! We are grazing Coco and her calf on the neighbour’s place, so Kevin milks her in the little shed down there. (We feel very lucky to be able to graze our animals on the neighbour’s pasture in exchange for giving them a share of the meat from the calves when the time comes.) Kevin usually gets around five or six litres of milk at each milking, which is enough to last us for a few days.
The pasture is very rich and abundant this summer with all the rain we have been having, and Coco’s milk seems to be nearly half cream at the moment. We love it! Since I’m breast feeding Owen, I especially appreciate being able to drink lots of creamy raw milk. Kevin and I feel sure that the raw milk in my diet must be at least partly responsible for Owen’s fantastic rate of growth since birth. We were very proud parents when the doctor remarked on his impressive size and good muscle tone. At two months, he now weighs 7.13kg (15 lb, 12oz) and is 62cm long — up from 6.6kg (about 14lb, 8oz) and 59cm two weeks ago. He’s a big, bonny, healthy baby, and we are enjoying his smiles and lovely baby noises!
We feel very lucky to have an abundant supply of raw Jersey milk. It’s too bad that laws and regulations in New Zealand make it so very difficult to buy and sell raw milk. Absurd, in a land so well-endowed with pasture and dairy cows, that people are forced to pay high prices at the supermarket for pasteurised (and usually homogenised) milk in plastic containers. Recently, the dairy industry here has been showing renewed interest in raw milk, mostly due to the high returns to be made on gourmet raw milk cheeses. We are hopeful that this could lead to changes in regulations and wider availability of raw milk products.
My favourite way to enjoy the milk is when it’s still warm from the cow, before the cream has even had a chance to separate from the milk. On these warm summer days, we are also enjoying smoothies made with home-cultured Caspian Sea Yoghurt (This is a kind of yoghurt for which the milk is not heated. It is cultured at room temperature.) and local honey.