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Farmer's Wife - From Barn to Bottle - Fresh Farm Milk

Homegrown – Farmer’s Wife: Navigating life as a farmer’s wife, homeschooling mom, small business owner, author, manager, and conservationist

Homegrown - Farmer's Wife
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From Barn to Bottle - Fresh Farm Milk

Fresh cow’s milk is a delicious treat and is loaded with natural benefits. There’s something truly special about the journey of milk from the farm to our fridge.

In this blog, I’ll take you through the process of milking a cow to preparing it for safe consumption.

Let’s have a look at the benefits of raw, natural cow’s milk first.

1. Nutrient-Rich: Fresh farm milk is packed with essential nutrients, including:

  • Proteins: High-quality proteins that are important for muscle repair and growth.
  • Vitamins: Rich in vitamins A, D, B12, and B2 (riboflavin), which are crucial for various bodily functions.
  • Minerals: A good source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, which are vital for bone health and metabolic processes.

2. It just tastes better: We find that fresh farm milk has a superior taste compared to store-bought milk. The flavor is richer and creamier.

3. No Additives or Preservatives: Fresh farm milk is free from artificial additives, preservatives, and hormones that are often found in commercial milk (not to mention pus, blood and other gross things found in store-bought milk).

4. Probiotics and Enzymes: When consumed raw (unpasteurized and unprocessed), fresh farm milk contains beneficial probiotics and enzymes that can aid in digestion and improve gut health. (However, it’s important to note that proper handling and hygiene are crucial).

5. Supports Local Farmers: Buying fresh milk directly from local farms supports small-scale farmers and contributes to the local economy.

6. Environmentally Friendly: Fresh farm milk typically has a lower carbon footprint than commercially produced milk. Local farms often use more sustainable farming practices, reduce transportation emissions, and generate less waste due to minimal packaging.

7. Transparency and Trust: When you source milk from a local farm, you have the opportunity to learn about the farming practices and the cows’ living conditions. This transparency builds trust and ensures that you are consuming a product that meets your standards for animal welfare and sustainability.

8. Lower Allergenic Potential: Some people report that they can tolerate fresh farm milk better than commercially processed milk. This could be due to the absence of certain additives and the presence of natural enzymes that aid in digestion.

Let’s get into how we do it here on our farm…

Step 1: Milking the Cow: Our cow is named 2L (yes, two liter), although, she produces much more than that. Our trusty 2L gets milked every morning and then allowed to be with her calf for the rest of the day. Preparing for milking entailed sterilizing the bucket, preparing warm, clean cloths for cleaning her udders and practicing good hand hygiene. Once all is cleaned, we are ready to go. Starting with a gentle massage to stimulate the milk let-down, proceeding to start milking. Making sure the bucket is positioned underneath the udder. Finding a good rhythm to ensure a steady flow of milk and switching between teats to allow the cow to release milk comfortably.

2. Post-Milking Care: After milking, we clean the udder once more with a clean cloth and then pour the milk through a clean, fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth into a clean container to remove any impurities.

3. Preparing the Milk: Once the milk is back at home (all warm and fresh), I will transfer the strained milk into a large pot. I slowly heat up the milk until it is simmering slightly (not boiling). This process is called pasteurization and it kills any harmful bacteria. I keep the milk at this temperature for about 15 seconds and then remove from the stove. I give it a last strain and store in clean, glass, airtight jugs in the fridge. 

Enjoying fresh cow’s milk at home is a rewarding process that connects us to the source of our milk. Whether we drink it straight from the bottle (which we all do in secret, I’m sure),  steal the cream off the top for coffee, make butter with it or use it in recipes, there’s nothing quite like the taste of fresh cow’s milk.

With Warmth, Love and Gratitude,

Kayleigh

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