The Weston A. Price foundation runs a site called RealMilk.com. It’s there raw milk consumers can find a blog post titled “Questions to Ask Your Raw Milk Farmer.”
I thought it’d be neat to take a moment to give a virtual farm tour with my answers!
1. Are your cows on pasture?
Our dairy cows are 100% grass-fed! Weather permitting, we rotationally graze, meaning cows are moved onto new sections of grass each day.
In winter, the cows are given a designated pasture near their loafing shed, with space to spend time outside when they want!
2. What do you do in the winter?
In the winter, cows are transitioned to hay. They eat primarily 1st cutting hay (higher in energy) and alfalfa. The ladies have access to a loafing shed, with plenty of room for all 3 to lay down if they choose!
3. Are your pastures sprayed with anything?
We do not spray our pastures at Straight Up Outside LLC! To enhance nutrition, we use regenerative farming methods- meaning we intentionally place hay bales and manure to add nutrients to the grass.
4. Do you supplement your grazing with anything?
No grain and no soy! Cows are 100% grass-fed to mimic their natural diet. Cows also get a little apple cider vinegar each day, to help with rumination.
5. Is the grain/feed mix local?
No grain 😊
6. Do you supplement the cows’ diets with salt or minerals?
Cows are given free choice of a variety of minerals! Minerals are purchased from Agri-Dynamics and include the following minerals: Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin A/D/D3/E, Iodine, Selenium, Zinc, Phosphorus, Copper, Sodium, Cobalt, Manganese, Kelp, etc.
7. Do you vaccinate your cows? For what?
The cows are unvaccinated, antibiotic, and hormone free!
We keep a closed herd (rarely introducing new animals to our dairy cows) which prevents diseases from being brought in.
8. How do you treat sick cows?
Sick cows are treated with a homeopathic/organic mentality. If a cow shows symptoms, she will be given herbal tinctures (IE garlic tincture or aloe vera liquid.)
9. Do you exclude a sick cows milk from use? For how long?
Yes! Twice a week, each cow is tested using the California Mastitis Test. If there is a failed test, a cow’s milk will be excluded from the bulk tank, treated for mastitis and exempted from the bulk tank until a clear California Mastitis Test is produced.
10. How do you clean your cows’ udders prior to milking?
Prior to milking, cows are dry wiped, then dipped with an iodine based teat dip. The teat dip is then wiped off and the cow is stripped down (milked by hand, 3-5 repetitions on each teat) before being hooked up to the claw.
11. Do you milk by hand or by machine?
We use a stainless steel bucket milking unit. This is sanitized before and between uses, then cleaned post milking with a chlorinated pipeline detergent and acid rinse solution.
12. How is the milk chilled?
The milk is chilled in our 15 gallon bulk tank. The bulk tank is emptied and cleaned (at a maximum) every 3 days. Samples from the bulk tank are tested monthly by a certified lab (DHIA or U of M) for overall udder health and cleanliness practices. We also do at-home tests once a week for chloroform growth.