Is Local Milk Worth The Price?

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twin brook creamery

I did something crazy today. I went to the store with the sole purpose of buying milk in a glass bottle, just to see what it would taste like.

I stood in the dairy section a good 5 minutes staring at the price trying to justify buying it.

old fashioned glass milk bottles

I lucked out. Another shopper came by and started to tell me how good the milk was, and how it was totally worth the price.  Then she pointed to the milk that was marked down to $1.49 a quart {normally $1.99} and I put 4 bottles in my cart.

fresh butter

When I got home I opened one of the bottles and it had a little “plug” at the top.  It took me a second to realize this was butter. Real, sweet cream, butter. Can you believe it?

twin brook creamery glass milk bottles

A gallon of fresh milk from a family farm in Western Washington that’s about 140 miles from my house, costs about $6 a gallon. Mystery milk from Costco or Albertsons, about $3.

Taste wise, there is absolutely no comparison. The fresh milk tastes way better than regular grocery store brand milk. It tastes like real milk, like the stuff I drank when I was a kid.

It’s weird. I’ve been missing out all these years and never knew it. Maybe it’s true, there are somethings in this world worth paying full price for. Quality DOES matter.

What do you think?  Would you be willing to pay DOUBLE for an everyday item like milk?  Is there something in your weekly grocery budget you’d purchase no matter what the price was?

~Mavis

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Comments

  1. We haven’t drank anything except locally raised milk for over 9 years. I would never drink the regular stuff you find in the store. Not only for the taste, but mostly for the chemicals and the way they treat the animals.
    When we were in northern Illinois, we were getting it for about $4.50/gal, in southern Illinois we can get it for $3/gal, now that we’re in NC, it’s almost $6 and it’s painful, but worth every penny to know exactly what I’m putting on our table.

    • where in nc are you getting it? I have been looking for some.
      Thank you

      • She’s probably buying Homeland Creamery milk. It is pasteurized, but at least it’s local. Raw milk straight from the farm is still illegal “for sale” in NC…hope that changes soon, because I would gladly pay for that! :)

        • Is that the only one around? I looked it up they still use plastic containers. I would love glass if poss.

          But I will try that one out. My hubby can only have organic all other types make him sick
          :(

  2. I really believe in the philosophy that your purchase of food is your way of voting for a type of lifestyle. Do you want to support the local farmer or big business? I do not look at prices but I do look at where and how the item was grown or manufactured. I try to buy local, support small business, and I only purchase organic.

    • I respect you for that philosophy, but the reality of my life is I need to look at the price!
      I do pay extra for organic, free range eggs. Or, if the boy down the street has some out for sale, I get those. My apples for canning were from a local orchard, and my jams are from a roadside stand in town.
      But milk? My family drinks it like water…well, actually they drink more of it THAN water! And I want low fat milk. I cannot afford organic milk. I just can’t. I make sure it is hormone free cows though, that’s the best I can do.

      • Hmmm… if I were you I’d reevaluate the choice of whole v skim milk, first of all. The evidences against skim milk or reduced fat milk are piling up. It seems the best way to eat a food is the way God designed it. Non-organic milk is essentially chemical- hormone, antibiotic, pesticide- soup.

        So…let’s say all you can afford is 2 gallons a week of $6/gallon organic whole milk (we get raw local milk straight from the farm). Then, you statt treating it more like a food and less like a drink. Would it be a bad thing if your family went for water instead of milk when thirsty? You get most of the nutrients you need from 4-8 oz of milk. We get a glass of milk a day (not even large ones) and enjoy it while we have it– but it isn’t water. There are way cheaper sources of good calories, like beans, lentils, veggies, fruits & eggs!

        If you decide it’s worth the price, you will adjust practices accordingly. If you’re not getting organic milk, unless you know the farmer personally and know his cows eat nothing but grass, and small amounts of hay in winter, you are not getting clean milk.

  3. We only get local milk here from one of two farms within an hour of us. It is about 2.95 per half gallon, and you pay two more for the bottle, but you get it back when you turn the bottle back in. There is no question that it is better. It also traveled less, and we can go to the farm and see the cows we are getting the milk from and meet the farmers and staff working at the farm. It is a no brainer. I will go cheap on something else, like toilet paper or paper towels.

  4. When I was in college, I had a sugar daddy ;) – and he would take me grocery shopping and always bought me milk in the glass bottles. Unbelievably good. And the chocolate one? Even better. I can’t afford this. But I love it. A complete guilty pleasure.

  5. We have milk delivery (and butter, sour cream, yogurt, and cream) from Smith Brothers Farms. Yes, it is more, we pay 2.79 for a half gallon, but it is so much better than store milk. Smith’s does service the Gig Harbor area… http://www.smithbrothersfarms.com/delivery/#neighborhoods

    • Oh my goodness, I am green with envy! Sounds like heaven having it delivered to your door like the 1950′s milk man did.

  6. With a house full of boys (4) plus me, no way could we afford to buy farm milk by the gallons on the budget we have.. We go through about a gallon every 2 days.

    I recently found a local dairy farm and I want to try it but at $4 a half gallon, that’s a bit hard to swallow (pun intended)…

    I’m still on the fence about it.

  7. I think it is worth it. One of the things my husband was most excited about after finally finishing his RN is that we could afford “the good milk” again! For us that means delivery from Smith Dairy… which he will pay for (it ain’t coming out of my budget, sister!)! LOL. We don’t go for the cheap meat, either. We buy the majority of our meat (whole chickens, pork & beef) from local farmers in bulk. It ain’t cheap, but it’s damned delicious & I feel better about feeding it to my family. You have to pick & choose what to economize on… for me it’s the other stuff– cereal, frozen convenience food, staples like flour, sugar, past, tea, snack foods, etc, that I try to get rock-bottom prices on. I buy the expensive coffee, too! :D

  8. Framing Fowl says:

    I’d only pay that if the milk was raw milk, not pasteurized. We don’t drink a lot of milk but when I do, I want the good stuff! We’ve also been getting raw cream at our co-op and making our own butter. Yum!

    See if you can somehow barter directly with the dairy. That would make it less expensive.

    • Having spent 11 days in the hospital from listeria and giardia, both caused by raw milk drinking, I am now an advocate for not falling for the hype about how raw milk is superior to pasteurized. My kidneys were permanently damaged and I regret every single day that I followed the raw milk crowd. What horrifies me even more was that I dragged my child and my 98 year old grandmother along—the two groups most vulnerable to the diseases raw milk carries.

      • Annabel Lee says:

        So sorry for your experience and I hope you keep spreading the word. Milk was pasteurized for good reason. Being a microbiologist by training I would never drink raw milk or eat the raw milk cheeses.

      • I was at a gardening symposium in Nov. with a woman who was in a wheel chair. She was learning to walk again, and had been hospitalized for 3 months after drinking raw milk.

        The instructor, who grew up on a farm many years ago, said she would never drink raw milk anymore.

        • As a raw milk drinker, I am always mindful of the fact that not all raw milk is created equal… and there is risk in everything!! Just ask the hundreds of people hospitalized with E coli poisoning after eating raw spinach! However, pasteurized milk isn’t necessarily clean either, with far more folks being sickened from drinking it than raw milk. Most milk destined for pasteurization is far less carefully handled too, making it even more likely to be contaminated. Pasteurization doesn’t kill all bacteria, but it does break down all the anti-bacterial enzymes that helps keep the milk from clean healthy cows clean!

  9. That milk is crazy good. We don’t drink a lot of milk so I don’t mind spending a little more when we buy it.

  10. I too buy my milk locally. It is expensive ($4 for a half gallon) but well worth it. The milk is raw and from Jersey cows that are grass-fed. I’m so spoiled now I won’t drink anything else.

  11. The subject of “quality” has been weighing heavily on my mind recently so this blog post fits right into my current frame of mind. My sister in law is fighting uterine cancer. Very sad. Along with the sadness is this voice in the back of my head telling me to do whatever I can to protect my loved ones from such a horrible disease. Is it the quality of our food that is bringing horrible diseases into our lives? Was cancer and other prevalent diseases of our times around in such abundance 30, 40, 50 years ago? I once heard someone say “save money now and pay the doctors later or buy quality now and live a long healthy life”. Maybe there is more truth to that statement then I’d considered?

    Has anyone read or used as a resource “the homemade pantry: 101 foods you can stop buying and start making by Alana Chernila” . It looks interesting and like a good resource.

    • I have read that book…totally worthy of a read…especially if you are trying to rid your pantry of boxes of processed stuff.

      • Ditto, it is a wonderful and well worth the price. Another like book is Make the Bread, Buy the Butter. It does some financial analysis of what is worth buying and what is worth making…

        • Thanks for the book tip. I’ll give it a look. I did buy the “homemade pantry” last night. I read all of the reviews 1 star to 5 star and decided it was worth the $15 I paid for the kindle addition. I watched the video of how to make butter and thought to myself “why in the world would I ever make a special trip to the grocery store for butter when it is so easy to make?”. I might change my mind after I give it a try.

          • Annabel Lee says:

            $15 for a KINDLE version? Aargh. I paid only $15.95 for a real book, and it is a lovely book. We got it for Christmas and am sharing it with son and daughters. I checked it out of library and thought it was worth it.

  12. I buy the cheapest milk I can find. BUT, I applaud anyone who buys anything locally. I try to buy most of my veggies locally in the summer, but I just can’t afford to buy the ‘glass jar’ milk (I have a 1yr old and an almost 3yr old who don’t eat and therefore drink tons of milk). I like to think that since I’m in WI maybe my milk is still kinda local even if I buy the brand name stuff? Probably just wishful thinking, haha! Then again, I’m a little lactose intolerant and I use Silk in my cereal/coffee, so I don’t usually think twice about milk.

    One of my things that I don’t skimp on is meat (except chicken, we don’t eat it often so I buy cheap stuff). We buy pork and beef from local farmers and my husband hunts and fishes, so I’m lucky enough to not have to buy mystery meat. And the best part is it really doesn’t cost more per pound that they charge at the grocery store :)

  13. I’m not sure what I would do if I lived on my own (I still live with my parents), but I am glad we have a milk goat or two! Maybe you should look into that ;)

  14. I’d support the local milk–not only do you know where it comes from, but most local farmers operate transparently, so you can visit the farm, see the cows, see how they are treated, and know exactly what’s going into the milk you and your family are drinking. Despite what the FDA says, I have a lot of difficulty believing that recombant growth hormone is harmless to people.

    Also, the dairy farmer(s) may be very interested in trading–fresh produce or eggs are very tempting items that may get you free milk or a discount. They may also call you when their milk gets close to the sell-by date if they sell directly–much better to sell at a discount than to take a loss on it.

  15. Clover in Sonoma county California is a local dairy that mass markrts to grocery stores in northern cal…super yummy. Here in the desert we have a hometown dairy Anderson they also mass market to grocery stores & years ago I took their tour & they put their milk in Albertson brand gallons.

  16. Wow. Brought ‘em out of the woodwork with this one, chica!

  17. My family loves fresh milk. When our goats are not producing milk I buy organic whole milk at $4.99-6.19 a gal. We go through 3-4gal of milk a week. It’s just something I won’t compromise on.

    Mavis -When are you going to get yourself a couple of goats to milk? Your yard is big enough. :)

  18. I switched over to Smith Brother’s home delivery about 9 months ago. I have a gallon delivered every other week (my husband is allergic so I’m the only one drinking it). I love having my milk delivered and I figure I’m still saving money because I stopped going to Starbucks every day and make my own mochas at home instead.

  19. There are two non-homogenized milks available where I live, Strauss Family Creamery and Organic Valley Grass Milk. Strauss does a lower heat pasteurization and it makes all the difference in the world for flavor. Soooo good, the next best thing to raw. I don’t want to chance raw milk.

  20. When the grocers started selling milk w/o Rbst then I started buying it from them again because I couldn’t afford nice milk that was only available by delivery. That was years ago. We don’t drink much milk anymore because as the children grow up, they end up with lactose issues (thank you Grandma), I end up just making yogurt and using the whey.

  21. YES!!!!!!!!!!! I totally believe in buying local milk & love the FRESH taste. Did you know to keep milk longer on the shelf life, it is often ultrapasterized…which for us lactose sensitive ppl it is a huge problem…we have Smith Brother’s delivered & it is well worth the price!!!

  22. Drink less but get the best. Seriously like to much tea, coffee, soda or beer/wine! Milk is a condiment . If the boys are drinking gallons then make them drink rice milk (costco) or water or give them healthy fats to fill up on. Sounds kinda gross but gramps puts a spoonful of butter in his coffee every morning instead of cream/sweetner, he’s 98 and going strong. May not save $ these ways tho.

  23. We drink raw milk from a friend’s cow and it’s $8 per gallon and that’s at a discount (usually runs about $10 per gallon in Oregon). I hate paying it but the store stuff tastes nasty now.

    • It’s kind of like me and ground beef. I can’t buy it in the store anymore after eating free range buffy and venison. Fresh is so much better.

  24. If you’re interested in trying raw milk Dungeness Valley Creamery delivers to Target Monday mornings. Good stuff! You can take the cream off it and make ice cream…

  25. I love Hillof dairy here in Michigan. Their eggnog is practically like pudding; the chocolate milk Is like dessert. I pay about 4 for a 1/2 gallon plus $2 deposit. Worn every penny. I am hooked on local farm eggs too. Unpasturized milk is illegal in some states including Michigan, unless you buy a share in a cow. Crazy!

  26. queen of string says:

    Mystery milk is $4.99 here in bc, minimum and raw milk is illegal. I have no idea how much local milk is, but if it’s that good, I might be tempted! We have chosen smaller quantities of higher quality with other food items, I had kinda forgotten we could do that with milk too :-)

  27. We only drink local milk, but we are lucky enough to live in Whatcom County, where local milk is plentiful and not super expensive. Twin Brook Creamery is located here, and sometimes we buy their products at our local produce market. We also have Edaleen Dairy who sells gallons for $2.99 (in regular plastic jugs). We used to drive right to the dairy where they also have a store to get our milk, eggs and other dairy products, which was only about 3-4 miles from us, but now they’ve opened a new location just down the street from us, so it’s even more convenient! They make the BEST ice cream you’ve ever had!

    • Amen to that. Edaleen is the best! We recently moved to Idaho from Lynden, and we terribly miss the yummy local milk. We have nothing like that here :(

  28. Though I don’t drink milk my husband adores it. Only local here even at 4.00 a half gallon. I can save money with other products. Its not just about local its about the pasteurization process. Most local milk is pasteurized. Supermarket and big box stores sell ultra pasteurized which is heated to a much higher temperature basically killing any health benefits milk might have. Honestly I think most people drink way to much milk…to the point where its no longer a health benefit but a huge source of extra fat and calories. Like many things hubby and I go for higher quality and less in quantity.

  29. We are not big milk drinkers, in fact I can’t stand the taste of it by itself. I used to buy milk from a dairy delivery service in Utah but my family didn’t use it up fast enough. I just buy 2% milk from the grocery store. I use non fat dry milk in my coffee instead of creamer. I think I remember the dairy milk tasting sweeter than the store bought milk.

    I think buying local is awesome, I try to practice that where ever I can in our lives.

  30. Margaret Bushee says:

    Wonder how much it costs to have a cow? Would it be worth it? Something to ponder…

    • It’s the actual milk part that concerns me. I’d have to milk it twice a day, and when we traveled, I’d have to arrange someone else to milk it. Plus, 1 cow would get lonely, and she’d need a friend. :) I think I’d rather buy it.

  31. So question for all you raw milk drinkers…. Can you freeze the milk?

    • Yes! Depending on how fresh it is when you freeze it, it may or may not thaw separated, but I have done it various times. You can always use the thawed milk in cooking & smoothies, but may not be able to make yogurt or drink it plain.

  32. Yes! We buy the cream top Strauss. It’s worth it!

    We were doing raw from a dairy at the farmer’s market (the kids liked it better) but I got a bit leery of it after it had a shut down, then switched over to Strauss.

  33. We purchased Smith Brother’s Milk for years. It was fantastic when we had our old driver. Then we got a new driver and he made us use the online system to place our order and adhere to the minimum order. We found we were buying things we didn’t need just to get the milk. I stopped the deliveries in 2011. It made more sense for us. My son is lactose intolerant and I am also quite allergic to cow dairy. We’ve found a happy medium in milk that we can all drink. We buy Darigold lactose free milk. It is still Washington milk, but is lactose free. It costs $3.67 for a 1/2 gallon so it isn’t cheap, but worth it. It tastes like real milk (slightly sweeter) and comes from Washington cows. If I had my druthers I would totally buy the stuff in the glass bottles from Metropolitan Market.

    • I have never been to Metropolitan Market. Is it like Trader Joe’s?

      • LOVE Metropolitan Market!! They can be pricey, but they have more gourmet things you can’t find at other places. Great cheese dept and wonderful breads to choose from! I used to live right down the street from the West Seattle one. Then we moved south just before they closed the Federal Way location. Now Tacoma or West Seattle are our closest locations. Wish we had one closer as our grocery store options are SO limited in Kent! Especially if you want something special for a nice dinner or party. Metropolitan Market is great for that!

  34. Dana Collins says:

    I have milk, eggs and butter delivered by Smith Brothers in Western WA. I rarely have to get milk from the store, and when I do my kids tell me it taste funny (they are 2 and 3 years old) and wont drink it. So that is where I spend most of my money for food every month. Milk is 2.79 for a half gallon.

  35. I buy organic whole milk for my kids. It’s pricy, but worth it.

  36. I love fresh milk but it is not in my budget. However, my budget splurg is half and half for my morning cup of coffee and raw sugar to sweeten it. I sometimes go without the raw sugar, but not the half-n-half!

  37. When we lived in the Denver area, we had Royal Crest Dairy deliver milk to our house. It was absolutely the best milk! It was less than 3 days from cow to our house. They gave us a big blue cooler to keep on the porch and delivered around 5am, so even in summer the milk was kept cold and fresh. The milk was a bit more expensive than regular milk at the store, but less so than organic varieties (the dairy’s milk was organic in everything but certification since that cost would have had to be passed on to their customers). They also delivered other various dairy products, too. I miss the fresh milk delivery so much!

  38. I just can’t bring myself to spend the money on Twinbrooks for everyday milk, my husband and son go through too much milk! I now have to limit myself now that I have gestational diabetes :( But in December I buy their eggnog, it is the best eggnog I have ever tasted! I think that my husband fell in love with me all over again when I brought home their chocolate milk too :) If I could afford it then I would only be buying Twinbrooks! I think I need to buy a cow….

  39. The going rate in my area (central Florida) is $12/gal. for farm fresh cow or goat milk!!! I just couldn’t justify paying that. I’ve been wanting to make cheese but you just can’t use the supermarket stuff for most cheese. So, with Mavis as my inspiration, I asked a friend with milk goats to barter. She now lets me have free goat milk and I give her half the cheese I make! Thanks Mavis!

  40. We have dairy goats, so the majority of the year we drink goat milk. When the goats are dry and not milking, we buy storebought milk. We can’t really afford to buy the local milk, though it does taste much better.

    The type we buy is RBST free, and I feel safe drinking it. Fact is, storebought milk is safe for us to drink…there are no antibiotic residues and milk is thoroughly tested for that. After working on several large scale dairies, I do still feel safe drinking it and giving it to my family.

    I will say that our goat milk tastes much better, and if I could afford to buy local cow milk (especially non-homogenized) I would in a heartbeat.

  41. Carol Bucklew says:

    The jars alone are worth the price. They are super for leftover juices, syrup, anything liquid. I can’t get the milk but my daughter brings me jars and they are great!

  42. What store are you getting the milk from?? We are in Port Orchard and are paying $5.50 for a gallon of organic milk. Much rather have local if we can.

  43. We are lucky enough to ony drive 15 minutes from home to ChristiPaul farms in W. Wa (near Gig Harbor) for delicious raw milk. It’s $7 a gallon straight from the source. I pick up milk once a week. The kids grow up knowing where their food comes from and sometimes we chat about gardening, chickens, soap making, the local food co-op, and whatever else she is working on.

    My son tries to be the first person to open the milk so he can drink the cream off the top!

    Raw milk is the best!

  44. I buy Twin Brook milk at QFC, often on sale as you have found it. It is excellent! I return the bottles for the $1.95 deposit. Another excellent supplier in the Puget Sound area is Grace Harbor Dairy. Marlene’s Market carries their fantastic milk and yogurt. It is beyond worth the price.

  45. Annabel Lee says:

    We can by local milk, in a glass jug, at one of the grocery stores in town. There is a deposit on the bottle so we return the bottle when picking up a new one. It is organic, it is NOT raw and I would never buy raw. A secret milk distribution system just south of here just sickened another batch of customers.

  46. Wow- over 50 comments- and you probably won’t read this one- but my husband grew up on a dairy farm near the Twin Brooks farm. My DH’s grandfather helped give money to the owners of Twin Brooks to start their farm. I still buy their milk in a bottle and smile thinking I’m helping continue their family tradition. It’s a treat in our family- especially their chocolate milk- but it’s worth it once in a while. Btw, buy their whipping cream sometime. It only takes about 3 seconds to whip up (it’s so fresh) and it’s so yummy, you really don’t need sugar.

    • Hi Leslie,
      I read all the comments :) I just wish I had the time to answer them all. I am so in love with their milk now, and I’ll be buying their whipping cream the next time I need it.
      It was neat to hear how your family is connected. Thanks for sharing your story. :)

  47. Stephanie B says:

    I am new to your blog. We have NEVER gardened but hope to this spring/summer/fall?

    I bookmarked you, but I’m curious, what are you goals for 2013?

  48. I not only buy raw milk at what equals to $7.50 a gallon, I also drive 100 miles one way twice a month to pick it up. There is no comparison to the taste and health benefits. It also makes the best cheese, butter, sour cream and yogurt. When you figure out all the wonderful things you can make with it, the cost really balances out. I have a very strict food budget but even though, I find a way to purchase my milk. I then just eat more fresh eggs from my own 3 hens and my own fresh produce from my back yard to make up for some of the cost. This year I am thinking of raising quail for meat since I have a free source of eggs and an incubator I can borrow to get started.

  49. Lots of great commets about Milk! I’m married to the dairy farmer and we have 9 healthy kids what are being raised on raw milk! I don’t even know the price of milk in the store.

  50. I actually live on a dairy farm. We milk Jerseys which means our milk has an higher than average butterfat content than other traditional breeds.

    Milk tastes amazing straight from the cow I guess b/c it is at the optimum temp etc however ironically both my DH & I prefer it less thick in all other uses.

    We don’t always drink our own milk. a) part of being in the co-op is they own the milk we produce b) it can be a lot of time and effort and c) I often coupon for free milk or very cheap milk.

    When we do after separating out the cream. I usually pasteurize it. All that means is I heat it in a double boiler slowly until it hits 145 then quickly up it to 165 for about 20 seconds.

    Then I cool it an cut it by a third with water to drink or use it straight when making cheese or yoghurt.

    These days I don’t know anybody in the industry who still uses rBST and we never have. It was very hard on the cows. Yes they produced a lot more but their life span was cut by the same % as the increase.

    Our small family farm we milk between 80-90 at any given time, but the herd is between 150 -175.

    The one thing about living with Dairy animals as Mavis highlighted above is the unforgiving schedule. Every morning and night no breaks and being as small as we are we can’t afford to pay anyone to give us a break so my DH and my FIL do all the milking. DH does the PM and my FIL the AM. I and my MIL feed calves.

    Our Honeymoon was 16 hours. DH milked then we left and we were back for milking the next night. Even our wedding was between milkings.

    • Annabel Lee says:

      Thanks for your story. My mother’s side of the family are dairy farmers and cheesemakers originally from Switzerland. Farm life did not suit her so she left home at 17 for State Teacher’s college and the “big city”.

  51. I have called Trader Joes, Whole foods, new seasons ect. Anyone know of any milk sources around Portland area. I have had a raw milk source before and honestly I’m not interested in that. The glass jars are awesome!

  52. Yum! We drink their milk also. Growing up we mostly drank water and I’ve somehow managed to pass that down to our three boys. So we don’t go through a whole lot. I use it make yogurt also. I love that it’s not homogonized, which from what I’ve read is the worst thing they do to milk.

  53. In Hawaii it’s about $7-9/gallon for local milk depending if a sale is running. But a lot of it is because we’re down to 3 dairies and they’re competing against the big giants like Costco and Walmart and Safeway/Alberstons. There’s only 1 dairy left on the island I live on and the other 2 are on a different island. I know some people think I’m crazy to pay that much for milk when you can get 2 gallons of non-local milk for that price. But I really really really love dairy. After watching Food, Inc. I was kind of depressed because it seems like trying to fight the tide with agribusiness. But a friend said not to focus on trying to change everything all at once. All you need to do is make one small change at a time. So 3 years ago when we were down to 2 dairies and 2 sisters decided to try reopen one of the dairies on my island I made a commitment that I would actively support my local dairies by purchasing their products even they cost more. Even if it meant I could only afford to buy 1 gallon of milk a month or one small container of yogurt, at least it would be a little something and hopefully the dairies that were left would stay open. And over time I’ve seen things change. People have realized that by buying local we’re keeping money in our local economy, we’re helping to promote small businesses and creating jobs, we’re supporting our communities and promoting sustainability and food security and more and more people have been willing to take on the commitment to support the local industries that they value. So when I think about it more than just on a dollars and cents level $9 a gallon doesn’t seem like that high a price to pay if it help to perpetuate the kind of place that I want to live where we’re willing to invest in our friends, family, and neighbors, even if it means we pay a little more and sacrifice some other things. I know there are other people who would like to support that ideal but just really can’t afford to. Like seniors on limited incomes or families barely making ends meet. I feel like because I have been fortune enough that I have enough to be able to do this one thing, I should do it, not only for myself and for the farmers, but for the other folks who would like to support them as well but just don’t have the resources to.

    • Jade, thanks for that comment. I live in Hawaii too (Oahu), and I will keep what you are saying in mind when I shop. My family is finishing using WIC so we haven’t been able to choose our type of milk but in February we will start buying local milk too. Every time I have bought local, the kids would say it tasted really good. And I do buy the local butter from the farmers market when I go and we love the flavor of that too. I agree, we want to support our local growers so that they will remain here and we can be self sustaining, even in the middle of a vast ocean.

  54. I think your blog is fantastic but I have to agree with “Milk was pasteurized for good reason.” Unpasteurized milk gave my grandmother TB when my mother was a child. I would never risk giving my children this disease for “raw milk”. I think everything else here is great however, I just feel people need to be warned that this is still a possibility when you drink raw milk, and if they are drinking it they need periodic TB testing just to be safe.

  55. I have an open mind and love to learn new things. However, I think it is nicer to focus comments on “I” and “We” rather then “You”. As in “I like raw milk” or “We buy local” or “I go to this dairy its so healthy for my family”. It doesn’t sound very nice when people start telling others “You should do such and such” or “Well, if you just did such and such you could afford it”. Though it may sound good in your head, it doesn’t read well on paper. Mavis, love your blog even though I know we will never be able to get our food down to $100 (its a feat to be under $600-1100 because of where I live and all the people I live with! Love em but they eat a lot and thrift shop whole grain bread is $3). I asked a friend how much she spends on her groceries since she bakes and cooks from scratch more then I do, she spends the same as me. We are doing the best we can with the life circumstances we have been given.

  56. I too love the taste of raw milk. My grandfather was a dairy farmer so the milk we drank was from cows that we knew from when they were born. As kids, we participated in all the phases of milk production; cleanliness being the very most important. The Jersey cream was so thick you had to scrape it onto your oatmeal. Ah, memories.

  57. I’m in northern Alberta…local milk is $10/gallon. It is certified organic though…

  58. Mavis..quick question. I just bought my first bottle of Twin Brook milk just now at QFC and the cashier briefly mentioned the bottle deposit but I’m slightly confused. The bottle cost me $1.99 and if i bring it back rinsed out they give me $1.59 back making it so i only spent 40cents on the milk? If that’s true, while awesome, it seems nuts. How would Twin Brook make money off of that?

    • Check your receipt. You pay $1.99 for the bottle deposit and it is returned to you when you return the bottle. You still pay the shelf price for the yummy milk. :)

  59. I work closely with Twin Brook because they make the gelato base mix exclusively for me. (They pasteurize the milk, sugar, and guar gum for me, a requirement of the WSDA). I’ve been to their farm, met the whole family, and a few of the beautiful Jersey cows they take such great care of. When I asked if the cows are exclusively grass fed, the owner told me that that’s just mean to make them go out to eat when it freezing outside and the grass is icy! They leave the gates open anyway, but occasionally, based on the cow’s comfort, they’ll feed them food that is not frozen if they choose not to go outside. He said that some feed is bad, but it doesn’t have to be and he won’t use the bad stuff. They really care about their cows there!

    If you don’t mind, a slight correction to your otherwise wonderful article: The stuff on the top of the milk is just pure cream, not yet butter. Twin Brook doesn’t homogenize their milk. Homogenization is a process that changes the chemical structure of the milk so that the cream doesn’t float to the top after sitting. Some people swear that homogenized milk is way more difficult to digest for them and I believe it.

    The fact that the milk is from Jersey cows makes it denser with nutrients and gives it a different (and delightful) flavor.

  60. YES. I’d pay double. I actually pay double already, as I regularly buy their whole milk. I use it for coffee creamer, and every now and then I’ll have like a 1/4 glass of it just to drink for the taste. When you think about it, the real stuff tastes so good and wholesome that you don’t have to drink a lot and you’re satisfied, thus it lasts longer, and you get more satisfaction for the buck.

  61. You’re lucky. Here in Hawaii, I sometimes pay about $10/gallon for local milk, and the “mystery milk” is not much cheaper!!

  62. I am absolutely willing to pay more for quality food. Two years ago we set out to cut GMOs and chemicals out of our diet. It just kept moving to the next level and now we drink real milk from a real cow that we know personally!! She is a beautiful jersey. I tore my back yard up to plant veggies. Tore all the tropical out of the greenhouse, stripped off the paint and grow lettuce after Christmas. I have a Meyer Lemon (hi Mavis!) a Bearrs Lime and a satsuma mandarin orange. They are on the deck now, and will go in the GH in October. I get my veg and fruit that I can’t grow from local farmers. Today, I added a beehive.
    Last year I volunteered at Compassion Farm for two days. I have never worked so hard, in the pouring rain at one point, and learned a LOT about healthy soil. I also learned that for the work that farmers do…..they do NOT get paid enough. So….yes, I am happy to pay more for real good quality food.

  63. We pay $10/gallon for local raw GMO free milk. Worth it, and we don’t have a large grocery budget.

  64. Caroline says:

    I haven’t made the jump to local/raw yet. We just made the switch to organic at the grocery store in order to help eliminate GMO’s from the diet. That was a sticker shock from $3.99 to $5.99 a gallon. However, where I live, a gallon of raw local milk is going to cost me around $16 a gallon. I can’t justify that (yet)! Sometimes I’ll treat myself to a quart and it sure is good.

  65. We were paying $6 a gallon for organic milk from BJ’s Wholesale but are looking around, we found a local farm that does a dairy CSA. Each week we get 4 gallons of fresh, organically raised, raw milk in glass, 1 quart of buttermilk, 1 quart of whey (my chickens love this!) and a pound of butter/cheese for $19.99 a week. We use the extra milk to make cheese. With two growing toddlers and a fondness for lattes (me and my husband, not the toddlers) it is easy to go through that much milk. There is no comparison and we feel that it is totally worth it. The only downside is that every week the kids and I have to drive the 35 minutes to the farm for our dairy but if you ever ask them about where their dairy comes from, they know: the cows that Topher milked.

  66. I would LOVE to try it, but on our budget lately, I couldn’t justify it. I’ve been paying $2.40 a gallon for milk lately. (I know, right?)
    We have a Dollar General near us that has it for that price. Why? Because a Walmart Express opened right down the road from
    them and their milk is $2.50 a gallon! Eggs are $1 a dozen at both places. It’s been like this for months so I’m taking advantage of it. In the future, I’d love to find a local dairy to buy milk from. Mainly because fresh milk that hasn’t been homogenized retains so much of it’s nutrients. There really isn’t that much left in grocery store milk.

  67. We pay extra for the milk we buy from Spokane Family Farms and it is completely worth it! I love knowing exactly where our milk is coming from, being able to visit and chat with the farmers is such a treat for my girls. I feel very fortunate to have such a great farm so close and their milk available at a couple of local grocery stores!

  68. Gardenpat says:

    I’m all for eating locally. We live in the heart of the city but have a huge garden, fruit trees and trade are freshly ground 9 grain bread for our neighbor’s chicken and duck eggs! That being said, I draw the line at raw milk from a very personal level. My Dad was left a widower with a 3 year old son at the age of 26 as a result of his wife drinking some raw milk! He met and married my Mom 2 years later and they had my sister and me. He and my mom were very happy, but when I see the photos of those two high school sweethearts with their baby boy, it makes me sad to think she was taken at such an early age!

    Jmo.

  69. Just a shout out to Twin Brooks milk. My husband’s grandpa was a major dairy farmer in the Lynden area and financed the Twin Brooks farm from the beginning. We like to joke that our family started, but obviously the family that did put in the sweat and tears to make it what it is. Try the heavy cream, it literally whips in less than 30 seconds, it’s so fresh. If you go over 30 seconds you have butter!

  70. Hi Mavis! I was browsing through some of your posts and landed here. I couldn’t resist commenting (like SO many others!)…wow!! To the point. Yes! I pay more for the raw and unpasteurised milk we drink/use. But, we drink it less…so, I figure it balances out. It is super amazingly yummy! I cannot drink store bought milk without getting a tummy ache…the raw stuff doesn’t bother me a bit. Have a wonderful day! Hugs to you!! Camille

  71. I still can’t understand why anyone would drink milk at all. It is an animal protein and sets up an inflammatory response in the body , just like meat. It actually leaches out your calcium instead of providing calcium. Consumer protection groups have done studies that show ,that the milk you buy in the store is grossly contaminated.Some samples even contain feces. Google it. Raw milk is too risky. That’s why pasteurization was invented. People were getting sick from the raw milk. There are plenty of other foods that provide protein and calcium without risking your good health. I drank milk for years, before I started researching it. I love the taste of it, but not enough to get sick.

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