Cows, and Goats, and Sheep, Oh My!
The ewe for the cheese, the goat for the milk, the cow for the butter. - Spanish Proverb
If you are looking for high quality raw milk, we have lots of options for you! Although the above proverb speaks to their strengths, each species provides delicious milk. The saying stems from the fact that sheep have excellent yields for cheesemaking, goats provide healthful, naturally homogenized milk, and the abundant rich cream that rises to the top of cow's milk makes amazing butter.
Please remember that our milk is RAW, therefore not pasteurized. We maintain a healthy herd and stringent cleanliness, but there is an accepted risk when consuming raw milk. There is also responsibility in storing it. Please transport your milk in a cooler with ice packs and keep refrigerated.
All of our dairy animals are raised on pasture and give non-GMO alfalfa/grass hay in the winter. While milking, they are given a small daily ration of a mix of local oats, certified organic COB (corn, oats, and barley with molasses), and sunflower seeds. Our general milking procedures are as follows: We wash the udder with warm, soapy water (7th Generation dish soap), then dry it with a cloth. These cloths are used once, then washed and dried separately from any other laundry. The animals are handmilked into a sterilized, stainless steel milk pail. Immediately after milking, the milk is poured through a single-use filter into sterilized glass jars. The jars are placed into an ice-water bath until cool, then refrigerated.
Our herd is tested every other year for Tb, Brucellosis, and Q Fever. The herd was tested in Spring 2016.
The Jersey is one of the oldest and purest dairy breeds and originated on the Island of Jersey, a small
British island in the English Channel off the coast of France. Regardless of their historical status, they
are a breed with modern appeal when quality foods and environmental responsibility matter.
Jerseys are uniquely right for these times.
Jerseys naturally produce the highest quality milk. Compared to average milk, a glass of Jersey milk
has greater nutritional value: 15% to 20% more protein, 15% to 18% more calcium, and 10% to 12%
more phosphorous, and also considerably higher levels of an essential vitamin, B12. Their milk is
delicious with a naturally high butterfat content, which also translates into excellent yields for cheese.
Importantly, Jerseys produce this amazing milk very efficiently. With an average weight of 900
pounds, the Jersey produces more pounds of milk per pound of body weight than any other breed.
They are excellent grazers and produce well on a minimum of grain, or no grain at all. With their
small size and excellent production, they have a smaller environmental footprint than other breeds.
Additionally, they are very hardy and require a minimum of intervention to stay happy and healthy.
Combine all that with their gentle personality and you know why we keep Jerseys.
And they look really pretty out in the pasture!
Nubian goats are America's most popular breed of goats - and with good reason! Not only are they attractive with their long ears, Roman nose, and array of colors and markings, they are also very personable and friendly. Most importantly, they give delicious milk. They have one of the highest percentages of butterfat and protein, although they give less milk on average than the other dairy goat breeds. They are definitely believers in "quality over quantity"!
Why goat milk over cow milk? While we enjoy all different varieties of milk, goat milk does have some advantages over cow's milk. It is naturally homogenized, which means the fat molecules do not cluster together and are thus more easily digested. The proteins in goat milk are more easily and rapidly digestible. Goat’s milk contains only trace amounts of an allergenic casein protein, alpha-S1, found in cow’s milk, which can make it more easily tolerated by those allergic to that protein. It also contains slightly less lactose, which may allow those who are lactose intolerant to enjoy milk again.
According to Dr. William Sears, although the mineral content of goat’s milk and cow’s milk is generally similar, goat’s milk contains 13 percent more calcium, 25 percent more vitamin B-6, 47 percent more vitamin A, 134 percent more potassium, and three times more niacin. It is also four times higher in copper. Goat’s milk also contains 27 percent more of the antioxidant selenium than cow’s milk. Cow’s milk contains five times as much vitamin B-12 as goat’s milk and ten times as much folic acid.
Although most Americans drink cow's milk and most are familiar with goat milk, sheep's milk is more of a novel idea. However, in other parts of the world, sheep's milk is widely consumed and of course, used to make unique cheeses such as feta and Roquefort. Icelandic sheep are well-regarded for their ability to produce generous amounts of milk for dairying, as well as their gourmet meat and famous wool.
Sheep's milk is also a healthful choice. Sheep milk is higher in vitamins and minerals than either cow or goat milk. For example, it contains considerably more vitamin C, riboflavin, thiamin and vitamin B-12. A In addition, sheep milk has almost double the calcium content of either cow or goat milk and also has a high phosphorous content. It is important to note it is also nearly twice as high in fat as either goat or cow milk, which is a reason it is wonderful for making cheese, but those looking to limit fat in their diet should exercise discretion.
We are new to milking sheep, so do not have any sheep milk for sale yet. We will provide updates as we progress towards being able to offer some for sale.