When I read that Samaria Farm and Dairy in Aiken sells raw cow and goat milk, I thought, “is that safe?” I remember learning in high school science that pasteurization is a process discovered by Louis Pasteur in the 1800s that kills dangerous bacteria in milk and is considered a godsend for milk drinkers around the globe. But since I have found that I am wrong about all sorts of things (as I discover daily), I decided to do a little detective work.
I now personally believe (referenced links below) that carefully produced raw milk from pastured animals is safe even though the CDC and FDA recommend against consuming raw milk products. I think the reason for their opinions is that dairy products from “commodity dairies” (the milk and cheeses found in grocery stores) are, for the most part, gotten from animals in large farming operations, and are produced specifically with pasteurization in mind. In other words, the dairies are relying on pasteurization to kill dangerous bacteria in milk. So the big dairy companies aren’t necessarily trying to prevent bacterial growth, because they know that pasteurization will kill the bacteria. In these large dairy operations, antibiotics are used because of disease spreading from animal to animal in tight quarters, hormones are given to increase milk production, and milk from various dairies tends to get blended, and therefore a high rate of pathogens are likely present in the milk from these companies. That milk needs to be pasteurized. But take a look at a small dairy like Samaria. Their milk is specifically developed to be sold as a raw product. They have every motivation to keep their herd healthy, their equipment clean, and the milk cold enough – all they do is geared to producing raw milk. Their animals are out grazing on pastureland, their milk is tested daily for pathogens (and testing is way stricter than for milk headed for pasteurization), and is therefore allowed to be labeled Grade A Raw Milk. Samaria Dairy’s raw milk is Grade A Raw Milk.
Also, there are health advantages to drinking raw milk (this is not medical advice. Speak with your physician to find out how drinking raw milk might affect you). Many lactose-intolerant people are able to digest raw milk but they are unable to digest pasteurized milk. And obviously heating milk is bound to cause it to lose some of its nutritional value, as do most foods when heated or cooked. The one thing that stood out to me in my research is that raw milk better assimilates with the human body and therefore all its nutrients are better absorbed. As someone dealing with hereditary osteoporosis, I was interested to learn that calcium is better absorbed from raw milk products.
Small dairy farms are becoming a thing of the past. It is increasingly difficult for farms with 100 or fewer cows to remain viable. It’s important to support our local dairy farmers, even if it’s a bit out of your way to do so.
Samaria Farm and Dairy LLC produces raw cow and goat milk and goat milk soap, and these are sold in their farm store. It’s also a vegetable farm, growing just about anything you can think of that grows in South Carolina. Seasonal veggies are always available in their farm store. The store also carries Berkshire pork, Comfrey Salves, honey, homemade jams and jellies, pickles and more. They are open Tuesdays – Saturdays from 8am – 1pm. Note: they only accept cash, no cards.
Samaria Farm and Dairy LLC
714 Wrights Mill Road | Aiken, SC 29801 | (803) 645-5111 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Open Tuesday – Saturday 8am – 1pm
Raw Milk Institute: https://www.rawmilkinstitute.org/updates/two-types-of-raw-milk