The Return of the Family Milk Cow

A little over a year ago, I was living in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, surrounded by what felt like more livestock than people at times!

On this Throwback Thursday, I thought it would be appropriate to reminisce about one very special farm that I visited, and how it changed the course of my culinary future.

Misty Morning Farm is a small farm where Faith and Adam Schlabach care for a herd of miniature jersey cows. While they consider these girls to be family, Faith and Adam don’t get to keep all of them! Their unique business sells these heifers to local families as once-a-day milk cows.

Their farm started when their family discovered the incredible nutrition and health benefits of fresh, raw milk and dairy products, and it turned into a business when they decided to spread the word.

I fell in love with the Schlabach family — humans and cows — and I knew that I had to share their story. You can read all about them in my article that was published in Shenandoah Living Magazine back in September (the article starts on page 34!), and you can also see them in action in this video piece I did for WVPT TV in Harrisonburg!

After spending time with the Schlabachs, I was ready to move to a farmstead and raise a cow! That wasn’t quite feasible for me (as I imagine it’s not for many of you), but I did decide that I wanted to start drinking raw milk. While raw milk is perfectly safe to drink, the state of Virginia doesn’t allow it to be sold.  So, I turned to herdshares. A herdshare is an arrangement between a farmer and a consumer that allows the consumer to purchase a share in the farmer’s herd so that they can receive a weekly supply of raw milk. I’ve been enjoying nutritious and delicious milk from Golden Valley Guernseys for a few months now, and I’m not going back!

The way I see it, this situation is even better than buying raw milk from a grocery store, because it ensures that the farmers keep all of their profits (instead of having to pay a supplier), and it also strengthens the bond between farmer and consumer, which has become incredibly tenuous due to the prevalence of industrial agriculture. If you want to change your food habits and form a relationship with the people who feed you, head to your local farmers’ market, join a herdshare or find an urban buyers club. I also highly recommend that you read “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan and “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver. More on the subject of the local food revolution in the coming months. Until then, happy eating!

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