Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Thinking and Eating Locally

You all have seen me post about the benefits of buying local farm goods and even the possibility of some backyard farming. I cannot do such a thing today because I don't have much of a backyard. At our old house, we used to have a lot of homegrown fruits and vegetables grown in the garden(if we got to them before the tree rats). We have tried to eat as organicly as we can and as locally grown as possible.

Mrs. Sweeper told me of a conversation that she had with a friend about raising chickens and how her friend had bought some chicks, hoping to get fresh eggs. She did not have or want a rooster, just some hens for eggs. She also had a desire for a cow for milk.

At this point, her husband told her that she couldn't drink it as they had no way to pasteurize it. People for many years-like thousands of- have been drinking milk straight from the pail and cheese, butter, yogurt as well. Does he think that it will kill her? All those other people lived, I know that because we are here now.

The FDA has convinced the American public that raw milk is not good for you. First we need to kill all the bacteria in the milk, both good and bad-kind of like a military scorched earth policy. Then we add back all the vitamins and calcium that we took out, bleach it to make it white to please our senses, water it down for 2% and skim versions and raise the price so that the processor get the money, not the farmer.

We, the Sweeper family have been members of a Cowshare program for about two years now and I am proof that drinking real milk, unprocessed milk will not kill you. My whole family is in better health and feels better now than we did several years ago. Two of my sons developed scaly skin on their knees and elbows which took prescription cream to clear, but after several weeks of drinking real milk, the expensive cream was relegated to the back of the medicine cabinet. Mrs Sweeper is like a magnet for mosquitos in the summer and it is worse now that we live closer to the waterfront, but since we have been using a real milk based soap infused with citronella, the mosquitos get to within several inches of the body and then veer off. Sometimes it is comical to watch.

The beauty of the arrangement is that we OWN a portion of a cow. We do not have to house or graze the cow on our property, but we do have to maintain the cow, or at least pay for the upkeep on a community property. In return we get the proceeds of the cow(or our portion) in the form of milk. Rich, creamy, good tasting milk the way it is supposed to be, fresh from the farm and full of all the probiotics necessary for good health.

The family that looks after and administers the herd for all of us cowshare owners also has chickens and will supply us with fresh eggs on a weekly basis. These eggs are larger, fresher and tastier than can be bought in the supermarket for just about the same price. We would be crazy not to avail ourselves of this treasure trove of locavore cuisine.

Lexington has a growing variety of locally owned organic farms producing a multitude of healthy food choices. The make up the bulk of the Farmers Market sellers and they need to be supported or we may lose our sustainable agriculture that is envisioned in the 2040 report that the Mayor has so proudly put forth.


topazsfp said...

If you don't mind me asking, do you get your share in Lexington, or do you have to pick it up elsewhere? I'm interested, but with multiple jobs and a family, I don't have time for driving an hour or two per week for fresh milk.

Streetsweeper said...

Yes, we pick up in Lexington along with a group from Winchester and Woodford County. Contact me off the blog and I can help set you up.

Sandra said...

Hey, I've been trying to find a source for raw milk in Lexington for ages for my home cheesemaking. I'd love to hear more info about the cowshare program you belong to. I can't find any way to contact you off-blog, so hoping you'll see to this comment and contact me. :)

Streetsweeper said...

Sandra, My direct e-mail is in the blue band across the top of the page. Anyone can contact me at