My New Grocery Store

A few months ago I wrote about how I believe the milk we drink is over processed. All milk sold in grocery stores is pasteurized and homogenized. These processes kill off beneficial germs and destroy some of the natural nutrition found in milk. So, I set out to find a local source for raw milk, which is milk that has not been tinkered with in any way. Its basically milk straight from the cow. After Internet searches and tips from friendly raw milk advocates I found Family Farm Co-Op. This collection of small family farms based in Michigan raises animals in a humane, sustainable manner. In addition to providing raw milk to Chicagoans who are willing to drive to their drop-off locations, the Co-Op also sells pastured meats, eggs, dairy products, and any fruits and veggies they have available. I feel like I hit the jackpot!

I picked up my first order on Monday. As we drove to the drop-off location I explained to Evelyn that we were going to pick up food from a farm and that we were going to meet the farmers who helped grow the food. I don’t want her thinking that grocery stores produce the food she eats! On the way home I asked her “Where do eggs come from?” and her reply was “Chich-ens!” I also asked “Where does milk come from?” and she answered “Cows!!!”

My first order:

1 gallon pure maple syrup
1 lb bag pastured egg noodles
5 dozen eggs
3 lbs raw honey
1 lb bacon
1 gallon raw milk

My verdict:

Maple syrup: I never buy or eat typical pancake syrup, which contains absolutely nothing even sorta related to a maple tree (check the ingredient list, which includes corn syrups, sodium benzoate, sorbic acid, hexametaphosphate, etc). The maple syrup I picked up from Family Farms Co-Op is truly delicious (we used it on Evelyn’s birthday pancakes the other day), and because I bought a gallon I paid half as much as store-bought pure maple syrup.

Eggs: My husband made me an omelet for lunch today, and without knowing where the eggs came from he said, “The shells on these eggs seem thicker, and the yolk is really bright…what’s with ‘em?” When chickens are allowed free-range in a pasture, with natural feed and fresh air, I’d say they are much more likely to produce eggs that taste and look better than the mass-produced variety. The omelet was delicious – even little Evelyn kept asking for more!

Honey: I am very, very particular about honey. I think the stuff that comes out of the store-bought honey bear tastes too manufactured and kinda plastic-y. Since I use honey every day in our morning smoothies, I feel like I have the right to be picky. The raw honey from this co-op tastes very clean and perfectly sweet. Love it!

Bacon: As a personal rule, I don’t eat beef or pork. I don’t like the flavor or texture, I don’t like the way these animals are treated, and meat production is a real drag on the environment. However, I will occasionally bend the rule for one thing: bacon. But, the bacon I choose to eat can’t have any crazy preservatives, nitrates, or nitrites. Oh, and it has to be delicious, too. Good thing for me the bacon from Family Farms Co-Op fits all my rule-bending criteria. Hello, BLTs!

Raw Milk: The first thing I noticed when I drank my first glass of raw milk is how completely different it tastes from the milk I am used to. I’m not sure I would even classify the two beverages as the same thing. The raw milk tastes earthy and a little grassy…I would say that it is almost an acquired taste. Which makes me wonder how conditioned I am to prefer the taste of something that is several steps away from pure…???

You can check out Family Farms Co-Op blog here. Its a fun read for a city girl like me!

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Written by Maureen

More posts by: Maureen

8 Comments for this entry

  1. Sara says:

    Love your blog! I found some great information on farm vs factory eggs… I linked to it on my blog Look under the Eggs section. Farm eggs have a lot les cholesteral, so many more vitamins, etc… We have someone who buys from us because her doctor told her she NEEDED to have eggs from TRULY free range chickens to help her eye sight. Anyway, thought your readers might want the info! =)

  2. Sarah says:

    I love drinking raw milk! I was never much of a milk fan when I heard all the negatives about store bought milk. Raw milk is something different. My kids love drinking it too. I don't think it tastes much different than whole milk, and there was no getting used to the taste for us. I also got pastured eggs from the same stand at the farmer's market, and my husband noticed that the shells were thinner on those eggs. The eggs taste fine though. Is it a problem to have thin egg shells? Thanks for sharing!

  3. Jessica says:

    Hi! I've been reading your blog for quite some time now and I love all of your posts! We switched to raw milk about 8 months ago and there was little to no difference in taste. Its a little sweeter and thicker because we had been drinking skim milk, but that's it. There is another source of grass fed, pasturized at one of our local markets and it tastes awful.
    I think the differences in the flavors of raw milk/grass fed milk comes from the different breed of cows and what type of grass they are fed.
    Our milk comes from Jersey's and we absolutely LOVE it!

  4. HomemadeMother says:

    Yep, I think REAL milk will take on the flavor of whatever food the cows are eating. I love that!!! Kinda like fine wine :)

  5. The Farmers Wife says:

    I love hearing wonderful comments like these…it makes all of the long hours my farmer husband puts in…worth it! I have a treat I do for my hubby…I put our drinking glasses in the freezer and at dinner time everyone has ICE cold wonderful milk — the down side is they drink a ton…but since I know it is great for him…it is worth it.

  6. Donna R. says:

    What an awesome tip! I can't drink milk but my family loves it and would adore ice cold milk in glasses….Thanks!

  7. Christy says:

    You totally hit the jackpot! I tried to find a webpage for the co-op but couldn't – was trying to see where it was located and how far south they travel?
    I love the other commentors tip about putting the glasses in the freezer – I will be doing that from now on!

  8. maggie says:

    I wish that when my kids were young I had known what I know now about our food system. It's great that your children will have the opportunity to grow up considering buying real food from real farmers to be a normal thing to do. One of my teens is on board with the changes we are making, and one really feels the changes cramp his style.

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