Friday, January 10, 2014


There is nothing more satisfying than pouring a  glass of ice cold raw cow milk, or drenching your morning cereal with the smooth, rich cream that is found on top of unhomogenized milk. So it would be a complete shock to the system when your taste buds are attacked with a taste of metal chalk, which is how it could be described .....slightly mineraly, with a faint bitter aftertaste.....similar to lettuce after it has bolted in the summer heat. It was brought to our attention that this was the case with some of our ardent milk drinkers. Goat milk is the Farmers milk of choice and the Farmers Son likes his milk in the form of ice cream,  and the tests by the health department have nothing to do with the taste, so the taste testing department in the dairy barn was a little lax. Here we go, the hunt was on. Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson did not have a thing on the detectives living under the guise of Farmers here at R & C Dairy. Why would the milk be as sweet as could be for a couple of days and be so off tasting the next? The Farmer and Son started tracing back the everyday goings on of a herd of pampered dairy cows that seemed to do nothing but hover around the hay rings day in and day out. Since it is winter, and there is no grass for grazing their diet depends solely on what is put in front of them each day. Dry hay, harvested during the summer and fall, mineral tubs for added protein, and their custom blended dairy ration, fed in the milking parlor for an extra treat. Falling back on the old adage, You are what you eat, and the fact that the cows were healthy and fat it was decided that something in their everyday consumption was causing the fluctuation in the milk taste. It is a well known fact among raw milk drinkers that milk from pastured cows, will change with the seasons. The taste and color are effected by fresh green grasses and foliage. First thing to go were the mineral tubs, maybe they were the culprits. That and the fact that the cows do not know the term moderation. Tubs that should last several weeks would be consumed in several days. That seemed to solve the situation. Several weeks later another report, back to the sleuthing. The only logical answer would be the only other factor in their diet that was not a constant from the same source. Seems that the adage there is nothing free in this life is true. When last summer the Farmer agreed to do several of our farm neighbors a favor by cutting their hay on the halves, he did not do a thorough enough inspection of just what he was cutting and baling and bringing home to the girls. Apparently bitterweed is such a nondescript little weed that grows here and there in our area in the latter part of the summer. It is not toxic, just a little bitter, thus the name bitterweed. Some of the hay that we acquired had these little weeds rolled in with the grasses as it was baled. When the cows are tearing into a newly placed roll of hay in the hay ring, they dive in head first chomping a mouthful, regardless of what is in it. They eat several bales a week relying on us to make sure what is in them is healthy, nutritious, and will not adversely affect their milk. LIVE AND LEARN!!!!  We think that we have removed all of the "contaminated" hay. Lulu   will be glad to get her mineral tubs back, as she has a penchant for molasses. If you happen to have acquired some of the blinky milk, and you will certainly know, we will gladly replace it for you, just let us know. It is not harmful, just tastes yuk! We apologize that you have to get the brunt of our learning process. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!!!!

1 comment:

  1. I had the same thing happen with our coastal field. I am not a big milk drinker. So, my mom was the one who told me about the flavor of the milk. I too traced it to the hay that I had helped cut and bale. It had the same kind of weed. I had to go through the field pulling it up by the roots. Maybe, when we bale the hay again, it hopefully won't have any bitterweed.