Raw milk market revives faith in nutritious food
I recently decided to advertise raw milk to gauge if there was any demand for the product locally.
I was pleasantly surprised when word quickly spread and I got a few phone calls from a tiny amount of advertising in the classifieds and on a Facebook local information site.
It was great to meet the people who bought the milk. In fact, they all became return customers, buying about 4 litres a week. I was struck by how happy and enthusiastic they were about its taste compared with the seemingly watered- down version you buy at the supermarket. Some of them even travelled significant distances to source my raw milk.
While some dairy farmers have invested in raw milk dispensing machines that automatically fill glass bottles and allow the customer to pay with eftpos, I kept it personal.
My customers either brought their own container during milking and got their raw milk virtually straight from the cow, or arranged to collect their raw milk from a fridge in my dairy.
Payment was left in a good, old-fashioned icecream container.
I was warned by the farm owner and my consultant that you cannot trust people these days. "Don't do it," they said, "you'll get ripped off." Thankfully I have more faith in people than that - I had a 100 per cent success rate.
Unfortunately, it all came to a halt when I dried off early. But I will be back up and running in mid-June again.
It is not about the money. I think it is positive for a community to have access to raw milk sales if they so desire.
Besides, as I make it, Fonterra pays me about 74 cents a litre at the current record milk price and - after collecting, packaging and processing it - they sell it for about $2. I sell my raw milk for $1.50 a litre. Given that I have been drinking raw milk for years, I'm a convert to its natural, healthy and nutritious benefits.
Without going into all the details you know milk is good food by the way it sustains your appetite during the day.
A glass of raw milk in the morning keeps your energy levels up and makes you feel full for longer. It is a simple, old-fashioned form of food that really delivers. Given that I have seen people run gagging and screaming from a glass of milk but guzzle energy drinks with abandon, I hope that we have not completely lost sight of what is good for us.
* Lyn Webster is a dairy farmer in Northland.