If you’re in the homesteader community, chances are you already have heard of the benefits of raw, unpasteurized milk. There are, obviously, quite a few controversies surrounding the health risks concerning raw milk, hence the stringent regulations surrounding its consumption in most US States. Most who regularly consume it agree, however, that the benefits far outweigh the risks. But for many homesteaders, owning an entire cow (often the only legal option for having a steady supply) is too large an outlay to be tenable. Luckily, however, there is another option that requires far less commitment than buying an entire bovine. Read on for the benefits of buying a share in a cow, and how to do it.
Cow share is relatively simple. A farmer owns a cow, but for whatever reason, does not need all the milk the animal produces. As a result, he will sell off stakes in the cow to folks interested in the cow’s yield. Once purchased, that technically makes the person the cow’s “owner,” and thus entitles them to use the milk as they see fit, raw, pasteurized or otherwise. Unless you live in a state like California, this is really the only way to secure yourself raw milk for human consumption, without running afoul of the law. Share systems also exist for those looking to buy cows for beef, operating on roughly the same principle, but that’s a topic for another time.
How to Find One
Generally, the main obstacle standing in the way of people from using such a system is lack of availability. Many don’t know if such an opportunity exists in their area, and if so, how to find it. Luckily, the internet making solving such a problem much easier. Simply googling “cow share in _____ area” often yields the results you’ll need, but sometimes the process can be harder. If this is the case for you check out a “Raw Milk Finder” like realmilk.com. Check out the map below, directly from Real Milk’s website. It’s hard to imagine not finding something within striking distance from you on a map this packed. If you’re in the minority who does not, there are many more, such as getrawmilk.com, and rawmilkintitute.org.
Once you’ve found somewhere nearby, click on their profile. It will generally show a summary of the farm, the sorts of animals supplying milks (cows, goats, what kind, etc.), the sort of feeds used, etc. If you like what you see, click the link or give them a call, and they’ll set you up with what you need. The best part? Unhomogenized milk has the cream on top, like your grandad used to talk about, and there is almost nothing better than ladling it off the top for a snack.
A humble homesteader based in an undisclosed location, Lars Drecker splits his time between tending his little slice of self-sustaining heaven, and bothering his neighbors to do his work for him. This is mainly the fault of a debilitating predilection for fishing, hunting, camping and all other things outdoors. When not engaged in any of the above activities, you can normally find him broken down on the side of the road, in some piece of junk he just “fixed-up.”