I drink raw milk (sold illegally on the underground market)

raw milk revolutionBy Joel Salatin
Grist

From Joel Salatin’s foreword to The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America’s Emerging Battle Over Food Rights by David Gumpert.

I drink raw milk, sold illegally on the underground black market. I grew up on raw milk from our own Guernsey cows that our family hand-milked twice a day. We made yogurt, ice cream, butter, and cottage cheese. All through high school in the early 1970s, I sold our homemade yogurt, butter, buttermilk, and cottage cheese at the Curb Market on Saturday mornings. This was a precursor to today’s farmer’s markets.

In those days, the Virginia Department of Agriculture had a memorandum of agreement with the Curb Market that as long as vendors belonged to an Agricultural Extension organization such as Extension Homemaker’s Clubs or 4-H, producers could bring value-added products to market without inspection and visits from the food police. The government agents assumed that anyone participating in the extension programs would be getting the latest, greatest food science and therefore conform to the most modern procedural protocols, which created its own protection.

As the Virginia Slims commercial says, “We’ve come a long way, baby.” These conciliatory overtures to maintain healthy and vibrant local food economies exist no more. Today I can’t sell any of those things at a farmer’s market, and even if I take eggs some bureaucrat will come along with a pocket thermometer and, without warrant or warning, reach over and poke it through my display eggs to see if they are at the proper temperature. If they aren’t, no amount of pleading that those are for display only can dissuade the petulant public servant from demanding that I dump those display eggs in a trash can on the spot. I don’t sell at farmer’s markets anymore.

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2 responses to “I drink raw milk (sold illegally on the underground market)

  1. Grew up on milk straight from the cow. Drank it as soon as it’d chilled. Agree in general with your premise. But how much of the “capricious, malicious, and prejudiced government … who really do believe they are doing society a favor by denying food choice to Americans” is born from the pernicious hoi polloi instinct for litigation. If the yoke of regulation is lifted, what’s to keep the whip of the personal-injury law suit from quashing your revolution? In it’s sounding to bring down large-scale processors, I wonder if the drum beat of food safety will drown out the local movement.

  2. Pingback: The Progressive Mind » I drink raw milk (sold illegally on the underground market) « Food Freedom

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