There are so many important things to consider when producing quality raw milk. While we could quite possibly cover an unending list of important considerations, we wanted to take a moment and share with you the top 8 things that we feel are the most significant. They are not in order of importance because, here on the ranch, we think they are all equally valuable parts of a whole.
1. Healthy Cows on Clean Pasture
I am sure you are seeing a theme by now. Can you tell that here on the ranch, we are big on cows getting what they need from a smorgasbord of nutrient dense plants and herbs found in clean pastures?
What do I mean by clean pastures? By rotating cattle onto new pastures continuously, the cows stay ahead of hatching fly larva and parasites that can otherwise cause a host of problems including a compromised immune system. Each new paddock has had time to rest and go through a natural sanitization process.
Kelp, sea salt and mineral conditioners add a free choice element to the cattle's daily nutritional regimen. Kelp offers a variety of whole food minerals and nutrients needed for a healthy endocrine system as well as balanced digestion and overall well being.
Raw apple cider vinegar balances PH much the way it does in our bodies. It also improves digestion and introduces beneficial bacteria into the system improving food and nutrition synthesis and strengthening the immune system.
We also use Diatomaceous Earth and Basic H to strengthen the defense against internal parasites. External dusting of Diatomaceous Earth and spraying of Basic H help to keep flies away.
No RBGH, Antibiotics or similar inputs are used. We think these inputs work contrary to the cows needs and further are harmful to your health.
The healthier the animal is~ the healthier the food we consume from that animal.
2. Testing For Tuberculosis And Brucellosis
Each year, our dairy cows are tested for Tuberculosis. They must test negative to continue in our herd program. They must also be bangs vaccinated prior to entering the small herd permit program, as required by the state of Idaho. Our milk is also tested semi - annually for Brucellosis.
Why is this significant? Most, if not all dairies test for these diseases to prevent them from being transmitted to humans. It also creates one more step to insure quality when you purchase your milk!
3. Monthly Testing Of Raw Milk Products
Every month our each of our milk products are tested through our Idaho raw milk permit. Samples are taken of each of our products and various tests are conducted. These tests include: Temperature, Somatic Cell Counts (this test is for mastitis infection), e-coli, overall bacteria counts and drugs (including antibiotics). We must maintain a high level of quality to pass these tests, which enable us to continue to provide raw milk products for you.
4. Detailed Cleaning And Disinfecting Of Milking Equipment
Some very important details, that cannot be overlooked in the quality and cleanness of raw milk is the largely important task of disinfecting and drying the milking equipment. Before and after milking, the milking equipment is prepped and cleaned with a thorough disinfection process. It is then taken apart and air dried eliminating the formation of condensation.
Additionally, each week we completely disassemble the milking equipment, clean and disinfect all parts, and inspect it for damage. We want to make sure that you are getting the best milk for your loved ones and this added step gives us that confidence.
5. Proper Preparation And Cleaning Of The Udder
Every time we milk Annie and Ella, we start by inspecting the udder. Then we continue through a cleaning process we have adopted through consulting with experienced dairy producers. This process ensures that the cow is clean and ready for milking!
After milking, we apply an herbal salve made right here on the ranch using many of our own herbs. This salve prevents dryness and promotes beneficial bacteria on the skin while impeding harmful bacteria.
6. Jars And Lids Sanitized
While most of our jars and lids come back cleaned, (and we appreciate that!) we take the important next step : washing and heat sanitizing.
All jars and lids go through this process and are then ready to be filled with the delicious and nutrient dense products our customers receive.
7. Immediate Cooling Of Milk
Something that is sometimes overlooked is the proper cooling of the raw milk. We believe this to be substantially important as it holds the key to the freshness of your milk.
It also slows down the multiplication of bacteria - what does that mean? This just means that your milk will not sour quickly, staying fresh for at least two weeks unopened and at least 7 days after opening. Many folks have reported that our milk stays fresh much longer!
8. Attention To Detail In Each Product
Everything we provide on the ranch is with the health of not only our family, but also yours in mind.
We think that by paying extra attention to detail, whether it be by testing the PH of our yogurts and using the best starters, or by taking 5 more minutes to do something right rather than skipping important steps to save time, we can give you something that promotes the beneficial bacteria in your gut and gives you tools that keep your digestion improving daily. We also believe that by giving you healthier alternatives that include pasture fed fats we will see you healthier and happier as we too have personally experienced.
I hope this list helps you feel more connected to your food and the way it is produced. As always, contact us with any questions you have and we will answer you promptly.
And remember! You can preorder raw milk, raw milk half and half, and raw milk yogurt along with your pasture fed beef needs here! As always, you can pick up your orders from 10AM-2 PM on Tuesdays at our ranch store or Make an appointment with us! Directions to our ranch store here.
A dedicated mother and wife who has a passion for everything healthy and gift for simplifying that knowledge and making it applicable for others.
Charise, (also goes by Rise) Takes care of the sheep with her sister, here on the ranch. She also milks cows, and loves creating natural cleaners with quality oils and ingredients, through her business: Natural Oil Health.