What is raw milk? Raw milk is just that. Raw. It's never cooked, heated or treated to remove any of its natural goodness. It is not pasteurized or homogenized. It's milk straight from the cow (or goat), and filtered into a jug.
Why does the label say "NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION"? It is not legal to sell raw milk for human consumption in North Carolina. However, it is legal to sell raw milk as a pet treat, given the product is registered with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (which ours is). Part of that registration process is having a label approved by the department that meets their criteria, which includes the phrase "Not for human consumption".
Raw milk can be legally obtained for human consumption from a farm where you own all or part of a cow / goat or herd. This is called herd-sharing. We do not currently offer herd shares, but may in the future. In the case of herd-shared, we would not have to include the label.
That label is scary. Is the milk safe to drink? We do not bottle any milk that we would not drink ourselves, or feed to our children. For additional information on the safety of raw milk, check out the next question below.
Is raw milk safe to drink? While we do not sell our raw milk for human consumption (it is not legal to do so in the state of North Carolina), what you do with it when you get home is up to you. Our milk is collected with the highest standards of safety and cleanliness in mind. Our family consumes and uses the milk we collect without pasteurizing it. Again, what you do with the milk when you get it home is up to you. Finally, we recommend that you do your own research to determine if raw milk is right for you and your family. You can find a ton of materials online regarding the risks and benefits of raw milk.
How do you collect the milk? We "machine milk" our goats and cows. We do not hand milk the goats or the cows when collecting milk for our family (or yours). We use a closed, vacuum operated, bucket milking system. This system is completely sealed off from the elements of the barn, and provides the cleanest possible product. Once harvested, we bring the milk into our kitchen, where we run it through a filter to remove any debris that may have found its way into the milk.
How do you cool your milk? Once the milk is filtered and bottled, we place it in a freezer for up to 3 hours to cool it as quickly as possible. After that time, the milk is moved to a fridge that is only used for milk storage.
How long will raw milk keep in the fridge? This one depends largely on how you handle it. Here is an excellent article on how to properly handle raw milk once you purchase it and pick it up from the farm. If properly handled, raw milk should last up to two weeks, possibly longer.
Can raw milk be frozen? Raw milk can be frozen and thawed with no impact to flavor. However once frozen, the cream in the cows milk will sometimes not fully reconstitute back into the milk, meaning you may have little pellets of cream in the milk. This phenomena doesn't happen with the goats milk since it is more naturally homogenized.