The Weston A. Price foundation runs a site called RealMilk.com. It’s there that raw milk consumers can find a blog post called “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 and when pasture is available, we rotationally graze, meaning cows are given a paddock of pasture that is ready to be eaten!
When not on pasture, the cows are given a designated area near their loafing shed, with space to spend time outside when they want and plenty of hay available.
2. What do you do in the winter?
In the winter, cows eat grass or alfalfa hay. The ladies have access to a loafing shed, with plenty of room for all to lay down!
3. Are your pastures sprayed with anything?
We do not spray our pastures at Straight Up Outside! To enhance nutrition, we use regenerative farming methods- meaning we use manure as our fertilizer. It’s a beautiful cycle, once the nutrition enters the soil, the grass grows and takes the nutrition from the soil, then the cows eat and digest the grass, transforming it into milk! All that nutrition ends up back into your milk and meats!
4. Do you supplement your grazing with anything?
No grain and no soy! Cows are 100% forage fed to mimic their natural diet. Pasture permitting, cows are given fresh grass to eat. Otherwise, the feeder is stocked with a variety of 1st/2nd cutting grass or alfalfa!
5. Is the grain/feed mix local?
No grain 😊
6. Do you supplement the cows’ diets with salt or minerals?
Cows are given minerals buffet style! 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 cow’s milk from use? For how long?
Yes! Cows are tested regularly using the California Mastitis Test. If there is a failed test, a cow’s milk will be excluded from the bulk tank until a there is a clear Mastitis Test.
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 use and cleaned post milking with a chlorinated pipeline detergent, an acid rinse solution, then a food-grade bleach solution. The unit is allowed to air dry in a sanitary area until the next milking.
12. How is the milk chilled?
The milk is chilled in our 15 or 60 gallon bulk tanks. The bulk tank is emptied and cleaned (at a maximum) every 3 days. Samples from the bulk tank are tested frequently by a certified lab (Stearns DHIA or the University of Minnesota) for overall udder health and cleanliness practices or tested at home with Coliform bacteria testing strips.
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