Raw Milk in Virginia
Raw milk has become increasingly popular in recent years, thanks in large part to the Weston A. Price Foundation and realmilk.com. You may have heard of it, but what is it? Raw milk is unpasteurized and unhomogenized, the way your grandparents used to drink it.
But is raw milk safe?
According to realmilk.com, raw milk that has been produced under sanitary and healthy conditions is a safe and healthy food. It is important that the cows are healthy and do not have any infections. The cows should be eating food appropriate to cows, which is mostly grass, hay or silage, with only a small amount of grain, if any. The milk should be full-fat milk, as many important anti-microbial and health-supporting components are in the fat. The cows should be milked under sanitary conditions and the milk chilled down immediately.
Can you buy raw milk in the grocery store?
Every state has its own laws about raw milk. Here in Virginia, the only way to obtain it is through a herd share. A herd share is a legal contract where you buy a share of a milking herd and pay a farmer to care for your animals and milk them. As owners, the shareholders are legally entitled to the milk from their own animals. How much milk you get every week depends on the number of shares you purchase. Herd shares are legal in VA as well as many other states.
Where can I get a herd share?
We offer ownership shares in our grass-fed, holistically managed Brown Swiss dairy cow herd. This is the only way raw milk may legally be obtained in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Share owners receive a percentage of the herd’s milk production each week, an average of 1 gallon per week per share. Owners must make the commitment to pick up their milk weekly at the farm (we do not deliver). Milk is available year round, and your one-time purchase of a share is good indefinitely. Share owners receive a monthly e-newsletter with updates on the herd and home dairy recipes.
One share in the herd costs $100 up front, and then owners pay a boarding fee of $40/month per share for the daily care, feeding and milking of the herd. (Half shares are also available for $50 up front, and $20/month to receive 1/2 gallon per week.)
Our cows are tested A2 milkers and TB, Brucellosis, Johnes and BLV free. We also regularly test our milk for safety and quality. Brown Swiss milk is very rich in butterfat and proteins and is prized by cheesemakers for its excellent yield and qualities.
At Crowfoot Farm, our herdshare serves the counties of Rappahannock, Culpeper, and Fauquier, and even as far away as Prince William. We milk registered Brown Swiss cows whose lives are full of contentment and green grass. Please call us for more information about our dairy herd share program.