Raw Milk. Southern Louisiana. Moo.
April 15, 2014 6:59 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone offer any leads about getting raw milk in the Baton Rouge area?

I'm trying to help a guy from California who lives for the stuff. Private message me if you need to!
posted by ashtabula to opelika to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
No, but I'd be interested if anyone else does. I'm sure you know that retail or other sale of raw milk in Louisiana is illegal. I've asked dairy vendors at Crescent City Farmers Market several times over the years, and they always say no. That's as far as I've been comfortable taking it.
posted by CheeseLouise at 7:18 AM on April 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Yeah - I was told to check out Smith's Dairy and Kalona Dairy - both at Whole Foods - thus far.
posted by ashtabula to opelika at 7:35 AM on April 15, 2014

Consider asking the folks at Countryside Magazine. They have a vast knowledge of the state laws concerning agriculture, and what to do about them.
posted by Melismata at 7:43 AM on April 15, 2014

Smith Creamery (not Smith Dairy, that's a different company) and Kleinpeter Dairy merged in 2011 after an explosion at the Smith Creamery plant. I'm not familiar with the details of the agreement but as far as I know, there is not a way to procure raw milk from Kleinpeter/Smith. Kalona is based in Iowa and has no Louisiana connection as far as I can tell. They wouldn't be selling raw milk in Whole Foods down here.
posted by CheeseLouise at 7:57 AM on April 15, 2014

Illegal in Tennessee also, so our farmers label it "For Pet Use Only" and sell it at the farmers markets. Just an FYI.
posted by raisingsand at 7:58 AM on April 15, 2014

Real Milk is a grass-roots website for this sort of thing. May be post there and see what happens? I used to get raw milk in NYC and have a possible lead from RM now that I am in Minneapolis (that I haven't followed up on yet).

In general, it is going to be very hard to get raw milk because - so I've been told - the milking machines are not even sold without the pasteurizing bit anymore, so anything short of manual milking will have been heated at some point, with a bunch of really healthy stuff destroyed as a result.

If your friend is really determined (including, sadly, the part where he gets to pay a premium because of the forementioned need for manual milking) then he could contact a farm that does CSA (because the delivery aspect has been worked out already) and see if he can arrange for special deliveries for a special price.

It's not going to be easy though. To get my lead, I wrote a thoughtful letter and included my resume and various online social "proofs" so they could see I was not with the FDA or some such, because it is the farmer that will pay the price if they are caught selling raw milk. For example, I've been told that here in Minneapolis there was a spike in "cow memberships" several years ago as a way to get around the prohibition on sale of raw milk, i.e. the farmer would be selling you a membership in a cow as opposed to selling you raw milk, but the government busted/closed down several such farmers/coops so that door is closed. Damn shame, too.

@raisingsand - incredible tip on "Pet Use Only", thank you! I hope it doesn't go the way of cow memberships here in Minnesota.
posted by rada at 8:04 AM on April 15, 2014 [3 favorites]

Sorry, last time I'm going to be a Negative Nelly in this question - I've asked farmers about pet milk specifically, and been told they can't sell it. I've been trying to source raw milk for many years for my home cheesemaking and never had any luck in Louisiana.
posted by CheeseLouise at 8:26 AM on April 15, 2014

Mod note: OP is not anon. Email them non-answer to the question please.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:42 AM on April 15, 2014

How long a drive is it from Baton Rouge, LA to Mississippi?
posted by dfriedman at 9:51 AM on April 15, 2014

If taste is the issue, you might consider giving HTST-pasteurized milk a try. It preserves the taste better, and it's much more safe. Some common brands are Organic Valley and the Whole Foods brand milk.
posted by twort at 10:13 AM on April 15, 2014

The taste is definitely different, but think about goat milk. Those farmers are frequently small enterprises making raw milk cheeses, so they might be more approachable sources. If possible, ask face to face rather than over the phone. Many farms will have tours and/or stores onsite. Good luck!
posted by susanvance at 10:31 AM on April 15, 2014

you might consider giving HTST-pasteurized milk a try

Was this a typo? HTST (high-temperature, short-time) is the most common form of pasteurisation, i.e. when you see "pasteurized" on the milk package, it means HTST. It's exactly what OP is trying to avoid.
posted by rada at 10:48 AM on April 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Whoops! I was trying to contrast UHT processing with HTST processing, but you're right that in the US you're more likely to find flash pasteurized milk.
posted by twort at 1:12 PM on April 15, 2014

It's illegal to buy raw milk, but it is legal to consume raw milk from your own cow.

Some people own a share of a cow, and receive that portion of the cow's milk, possibly for "non-food" use.

You can't buy the milk, and you aren't getting the cow for free -- you have to pay upkeep costs on the cow even if there is no milk.

The best way to find this sort of thing is to ask around among local farmers and raw foods folks. It's not really something you can do without making personal connections, and like any trust based personal connections your friend would make in a new city it might take some time. They should ask their raw milk friends in CA if they might know of anyone, anyone at all in your area with the slightest interest in raw milk.
posted by yohko at 5:07 PM on April 15, 2014

Louisiana state officials have declared cow shares to be illegal, which is ridiculous. The state is one of the hardest in the country to find raw milk, unless you just happen to "know a guy". Your friend may find the easiest thing to do is to buy a cow.
posted by ewagoner at 12:53 PM on April 16, 2014

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