If you’re of a certain age, you’ll remember the bottles of Aussie milk home-delivered by the milkman and usually left by the front gate. By the time you went to pick up the bottles, you’d probably find the local Currawongs had pecked the pretty silver tops of the bottles and presumably taken a sip or two. The funny thing is that the milk might have been left out for a couple of hours but no-one freaked out about this. And the top of the milk was what every kid wanted because it was creamy.

You also might remember glass bottles of full cream milk being delivered in crates to Aussie schools. It was common to see the crates lying out in the sun, maybe for a couple of hours before recess. But we kids still drank a bottle a day and lived to tell the tale.

And then the local milkman and the school milk disappeared and you schlepped to the supermarket to get your pasteurized and homogenized milk, which in comparison to the full cream milk I grew up with, is well-nigh tasteless.

Since arriving in NZ, we’ve gone back to real milk. In this case, raw milk. Straight from the house cow (a cow that provides milk for the household). The ideal raw milk is taken straight from a cow that has been fed only fresh, organic, green grass. The milk is rapidly cooled and doesn’t require any form of processing.

Of course, the medical community waxes lyrical about the dangers of unpasteurized milk. There are dire warnings that raw, unpasteurized milk can carry dangerous bacteria like Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria. And yes, raw milk can contain bacteria IF certain high standards are not followed and if cows are commercially raised, fed an unnatural diet and pumped full of BGH (bovine growth hormone).

Recently, a raw milk venture set up at a local farm, complete with milk vending machines, and we get our milk from here now. In glass bottles and from grass fed cows. To ensure no contamination, very high standards of hygiene have been put in place. You can about it here. On Opening Day, people came from Christchurch to get litres of raw milk and all the milk was sold out by 2.00pm that day.

Interestingly, I’ve had no hayfever this year and we’re well into hayfever season. We have three hayfever seasons here – September, December and March – and you can literally see all the pollen floating in the air. I’ve been taking a teaspoon or more of locally-produced honey every day since August. I read if you ingest small amounts of local honey, it might encourage your immune system to build up resistance to the pollen you are allergic to. Local cows produce their milk after chomping their way through the local grass, so it makes sense that drinking raw milk may also help to build up the immune system. Raw cow’s milk has all 20 of the standard amino acids and there’s a ton of other benefits, although it might be advisable for pregnant women not to drink raw milk.

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