Is That the Going Rate for Raw Milk?!
When you first hear that after joining the Herd Share the cost of getting a gallon of milk each week works out to $13, you may initially have some sticker shock....don’t worry, you aren’t alone. Many people wonder, “Why does raw milk cost so much?” Well, here’s a few reasons why that price is where it is....
Small vs. Commercial Dairy: It takes me the same amount of time to milk our couple cows as it would take a commercial dairy to milk 20 or more cows. We simply don’t have the infrastructure or automatic milking machines that a larger dairy has. Add on to that hand bottling milk, marketing, customer correspondence, paperwork, running the farm store, delivering to drop sites and -whew- suddenly having a little raw milk dairy is taking 50+ hours each week.
A2A2 and Tested for Disease: Finding A2A2 cows can be tricky...you may test many cows before you find one with the A2A2 gene. But you haven’t necessarily found your cow even if they have this gene. You then have to have blood test run by a vet and their milk cultured by a lab. Essentially, it is a time consuming process and you may have hundreds invested in a cow that you never end up bringing to the farm or ever see a drop of milk from.
Primarily Grass Fed: Cows fed a diet of mostly grass produce the most nutrient dense, delicious milk but they also produce a lot less of it than their grain-fed friends down the road.
Soy-Free, GMO Free, Organic Feed: Our girls work really hard to produce milk for us and they need some feed to keep up their milk supply and body condition. We choose a feed that is grown organically in Virginia and we drive to North Carolina each month to pick it up...and it’s expensive. We could buy grain for much less at the local Co-Op, but we want people with sensitivities to soy to be able to drink our milk and, well, GMO’s and chemicals just don’t belong in our food supply.
There are many other expenses that go into producing fresh, safe raw milk....way more than I ever would have thought of before we embarked on this endeavor. But to answer the initial question, “Is $13 a gallon the going rate?” well, grass fed, organic milk at the store is $12 a gallon before tax and organic goat’s milk at the store is $16 a gallon. So, yes, $13 for organic, soy-free, A2A2, tested raw milk is the going rate.
Beyond that though, it is a sustainable rate for us. We want to be able to serve people who depend on us to provide them a source for this healing superfood for years to come and in order to do so, we have to be sustainable - sustainable for the land, sustainable for the animals, and yes, even sustainable for the farmer.
As people have been drinking our raw milk they are discovering some wonderful things. Women who have battled with terrible food sensitivities try our milk and are able to enjoy something they haven’t in years, individuals with gut issues are experiencing healing, and little people’s exema is clearing up after making the switch from pasteurized dairy. To these people, this artisanal product has immense value.
How about you? Do you think raw milk could help you out in some way on your journey toward healing and vibrant health? If so, we warmly invite you to make Our Family Farm, your family’s farm. To all of you who already have joined us, thank you so much for the privilege of serving you...we are truly blessed to have you as part of our tribe. To all of you who are going to join us, we can’t wait to meet you!