It's hard to believe that not that long ago most food was locally grown and knowing the farms and farmers that fed our families was common place. Farmers were our neighbors. They lived in our communities and were part of the fabric of people's daily lives. The meal on the dinner table was crafted from ingredients representing the skills, blood, sweat and tears of local farming families. We saw the crops growing in the fields and the animals that provided our milk and meat grazing in the meadows. Our food had meaning for us because the farmers that toiled to provide the food were meaningful to us.
|Megan, on the far right, giving me a tour of the farm.|
This connection with our food and farmers is so important and is sadly missing from our modern industrialized food system. Happily, a result of the blossoming local food economy is a resurgence of small farms serving their communities and I jump at any opportunity to meet local growers and producers and to see their farms. I recently had the chance to visit Buttercup Farm in Sterling, Connecticut and to meet Megan the owner and her beautiful Jersey Cows.
I'm part of a group that takes it in turns to drive to Connecticut to buy raw milk. Why do we drive forty five minutes each way to buy milk? The sale of raw milk is illegal in Rhode Island and believe me when I tell you, this milk is worth the drive.
|Apparently all the cows have a crush on Ryan.|
|The milking barn.|
We drink it straight from the bottle but I have been experimenting with making dairy products and am very happy with the results. The high milk fat content in raw milk is perfect for yogurt and cheese making and I am finding I am getting more yogurt and cheese per gallon than with pasteurized whole milk. It also needs less work to get it to form curds.
|Fern, the rock climbing cow. She loves to stand on this hill!|
This was my first visit to Buttermilk Farm but it is easy to see why the quality of the milk is so high. Megan's passion for her cows and her product is obvious and infectious. When I serve her milk to my family, the appreciation goes deeper than just enjoying the taste. I'm aware of the love, hard work and skill that are poured into every bottle. I've shaken Megan's hand and pet the cows that produced my milk and that is connecting with your food on a meaningful level.
You can connect with Buttercup Farm through their Facebook page.
|Megan and her pet goat, Herman.|
|Herman is a big fan of coffee and donuts.|
The sale of raw milk for human consumption is legal in both Connecticut and Massachusetts. A bill to legalize the sale of raw milk in Rhode Island ( Bill 91) is again being considered by lawmakers. If you are interested in finding out more about this bill or how you can get involved, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The consumption of raw milk is a matter for you and your family to research and come to an informed decision about whether it is right for you.