Monday, July 1, 2013

Raw Milk Monday...Time for a Schedule

Please note: If you are new to my blog you can catch up on the reasons for my raw milk passion and the struggles our own farm have experienced, by reading any of the previous posts on the topic I have written over the last 3 years . To do so, simply enter "Raw Milk" in the search bar under the picture of our house, on the right.

Look closely. It's a double header lighting the way


In the 18 years we have been selling raw milk (first goat, then goat and cow, then cow) we've never had to assign pickup days.

Never say never, especially in farming. But thanks to The Illinois Department of Public Health and the State of Wisconsin in their recent (unsuccessful) lawsuit against farmer Vernon Hershberger, our raw milk is on the wanted list.

Our customer base continues to grow every month and last week our tank ran dry...again. So we are putting together our first list of assigned days for milk pickup. We left a sheet in our farm store to note everyones preferred day , as well as their second choice, and tomorrow we'll finalize it and then make the phone calls.

Folks will have to come on their assigned day if they want to be guaranteed milk will be in the bulk tank when they motor up the drive past Mad Max, loose piglets, White Peacocks looking for a date and cows with beautiful deep brown eyes. If they are not willing, then they will have to come AFTER everyone else has gotten their milk, towards the end of the day, and they will have to take the chance of a dry tank.

Part of our dairy herd enjoying lush summer pasture

Something tells me folks will be happy to have a regular day because who wants to take the chance of driving 2 or 3 or more hours and then go home with an empty milk container? Some farms have gone to a cow share agreement where the customer leases the cow and then hires the farmer to care for it. In exchange the customer then is entitled to a certain amount of milk or a "share" of what the cow produces.

A few states in the US have tried to prohibit these private contractual agreements and in fact before we convinced IDPH to start over with the proposed rules thrown at us a few months ago, Illinois wanted to do the same thing, prohibit the herd share or cow share agreement.

Most raw milk farmers here think a contractual agreement between farmer and raw milk consumer is a good thing. It keeps everyone accountable. And assigning days for milk pickup ensures everyone has enough milk for their money bowl of oatmeal.

If you sell raw milk how do you make sure you don't run out of the yummy nectar? Would love to hear from you.


  1. Well, I really don't sell that much milk as I'm only milking three goats, but I do have assigned days for pickups for three people (two of them take a gallon a week, the other takes 2 gallons a week). I have two or three other people that buy milk on & off but they realize that they have to call ahead of time to see if I have any available. I also require at least a two day notice if they want me to make them fresh cheese.

    I think it's great that you're selling out of milk. And I think assigned days are fair and convenient for both buyer and seller.

  2. Well after reading this post sounds like raw milk is one of your money makers so I will withdraw my comment about maybe you should take it off the list. I guess keep what is you best money makers, and least labor intensive. I am sure after all these years you have figured out ways to cut labor time down to a minimum. Good luck with whatever you do. But keep your eyes open for that special money making niche.

  3. Why on earth would the 'powers that be' want to legislate against herd sharing? What's it to them?

  4. I started as the occasional milk buyer. When i lived in PA, i went to the weekly farmer's market and would get milk from Aaron. Himself started drinking a lot more milk when we went from buying convential to the raw stuff. I became a regular milk buyer at Aaron's after that.

    At my current location, i can buy raw milk from a farm or at a few food stores. I hope to see that trend continue.

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  6. Great to hear your milk sales are doing so well.