Taking a Sip (or more) of Local Raw Milk

Yesterday, I tried my first drink of raw milk. I’d been reading about it here and there in the past couple years as groups of advocates have been pushing to allow its distribution in East Coast states. Washington state does allow it.

Standing next to a bright white glass of standard milk, it has a slightly creamy yellow cast. The raw milk is thick and coats the sides of a glass. It smells mostly the same, but with a kind

To me, it wasn’t quite like ice cream, as some raw milk-lovers have expressed, but it was definitely sweeter. The sweet hits you about mid-drink and a slight tang hits you at the end with an almost grassy aftertaste. Not grassy like taking in a mouthful of lawn, more like a fresh almost herb-like aftertaste. Being whole milk, it was also incredibly thick and creamy and the taste sticks with you.

A small glass was pretty satisfying. The only thing missing was a bowl full of strawberries or chocolate chip cookies.

The vast majority, if not all, of the raw milk available in Kitsap is raw Jersey milk from the Dungeness Valley Creamery in Sequim.

The farm has about 60 milking cows, said Sarah McCarthey, who returned to Sequim after college to work on her family’s farm.

The Dungeness Valley Creamery’s Jersey cows — which are prized for the high butterfat content in their milk — spend seven months of the year out in the pasture and are fed alfalfa hay in the winter. They get grain in the parlor at milking time, according to their site.

The family began selling raw milk about three years ago to get out from under federal milk price-fixing rules. They were able to tap into a growing demand for raw milk both from raw milk drinkers and to supply Mt Townsend Creamery with milk with about 300 gallons once to twice a week for their Tomme cheese.

They sell to a variety of stores and have drop-off points ranging from Port Angeles to Vancouver.

They bottle the milk one day and truck it out the next Tuesdays through Fridays.

Locally, you can get it (though you may have to get on a list first) at:

  • Real Foods of Bainbridge Island, Harbor Square, 764 Winslow Way E. The milk is delivered on Fridays. (206) 842-3333.
  • CJ’s Evergreen General Store, 1417 Park Ave. Milk is delivered on Tuesdays. Call to get on the list (360) 479-2708.
  • Port Townsend: The Food Co-op, 141 Kearney St. (360) 385-2883.

The creamery also has drop-off spots in Allyn, another in Bainbridge Gig Harbor, Poulsbo, Hansville, Lofall, Indianola, and Silverdale. Visit their site (scroll to the bottom) for drop-point contacts.

Raw milk, though, isn’t without its risks.

The USDA states, “Raw milk is inherently dangerous.” They list more than a dozen potentially harmful bacteria present in milk.

Advocates say that stance is too tough, that raw milk has plenty of health benefits, and that in dairies where the cows are well taken care of and the facilities are clean, the risks are minimal.

For a more in-depth look at the benefits vs. the risks, read/listen to a report from NPR last year or a story written by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer about the same time.

For now, at least, I’m a convert, though not a heavy milk drinker. I’ll be trying to use it to make a few food items, and if I have any success I’ll share.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on it or if you’ve had any experience with raw milk.

3 thoughts on “Taking a Sip (or more) of Local Raw Milk

  1. There is another local source of raw milk. ChristiPaul Farm in Allyn sells raw cows milk and it is available at Farmer George’s Meats. There is also raw goat’s milk available from Jekuthiel Farm in Shelton. http://jekuthiel.com/index.html. There is also a couple micro-dairies on Vashon that sell raw milk – though Kurtwood Farms is getting ready to stop selling raw milk and make cheese.

    Then there are the lucky folks like myself who have a cow or a goat! 🙂

  2. Forty years ago or so, my dad used to buy raw milk from the Davis Farm in Belfair…it was delicious.
    Sharon O’Hara

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