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The Family Cow Dream

June 7, 2011

Mr. B and I have already started looking at the cow ads on Craigslist even though it doesn’t take more than a second to know we are in no way ready for an animal. We even gave our chickens to our renters to try and reduce our stress over the next year while we work on the house. Having the room to actually have a cow though has made us both dreamers. When I stop to think about it though, my wanting a cow makes both a lot of sense and very little at the same time.

At some point between middle and high school I decided that I hated milk. Not milk products, just straight milk. I heard somewhere that too much calcium can actually be bad for your bones, a fact that I have never heard repeated except from my own mouth, but which I believed deeply. Combined with a few movies and articles about obesity and diet and I pretty much stopped drinking milk except for in cereal.

Missoula is lucky to have a wonderful local dairy (Lifeline Farms) that sells not only organic cheese, butter, and beef, but also pasteurized (rather than ultra pasteurized) milk with the cream still sitting on the top. It is amazing what a difference just switching to their milk has made in my opinion of milk. It is creamy, fresh, delicious. I am still not a milk drinker, but when we have some Lifeline milk in the refrigerator I will take a drink right out of the carton. I can only hope that fresh, unpasteurized milk from a family cow will exceed my expectations.

While I was looking at the list of IACP 2011 cookbook winners, I was interested in the winner of the “Culinary Writing that Makes a Difference.” I thought that The Future of Milk by David Goodman was a book, but an internet search showed that it is an article from Eating Well magazine (not a place I generally look for good writing, but that is apparently just my own bias). Despite being broken down into 14 very short paged on the internet, this is a wonderful article about the recent history of dairy farming (low prices, suicide and loss), and the future (local, small). Given the trend of movement from rural to urban areas, and the continuing fear of raw milk, I find the issues of creating a sustainable, small, local dairy industry to be incredibly interesting. Most may have had a family cow in the past, but many will not in the future. It seems worthwhile to talk about how we can keep those less than 200 cow dairies open.



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