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 and pasture availability, 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 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 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, it goes into the grass and back into the animal! This all ends up in your milk and meat.
4. Do you supplement your grazing with anything?
No grain and no soy! Cows are 100% grass-fed to mimic their natural diet. Pasture permitting, cows spend their day eating grass. Otherwise, the feeder is stocked with a variety of 1st/2nd cutting grass or alfalfa bales!
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 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, 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 (Stearns DHIA or the University of Minnesota) for overall udder health and cleanliness practices. These test results hang in our farm shop and can be viewed any time!
Want to hear what else is for sale in our farm shop? Check out our Shop Page!