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Frequently Asked Questions

  • How soon should you drink/finish the raw milk in?
    If kept cold, you should not notice any change in taste in the first five to seven days, although it may pick up taints from the fridge, if not sealed. After five to seven days, the bacteria in the milk start to produce lactic acid, which gives the milk its sour taste. However, this same acidity effectively ‘pickles’ the milk. Many bacteria cannot survive this acidic environment and the bacteria population decreases. Raw milk goes from being a nutritional fresh milk, to a nutritional stable sour milk that can be used in many ways. Pasteurised milk cannot defend itself. Once it turns, it can only go bad. When raw milk starts to turn, it will have a slightly, cheesy, and/or sour taste. This is a change in taste. The milk is still fine, and can be used in cooking.
  • Do you drink raw milk? Have you ever become ill from drinking it?
    Yes, I have drunk raw milk all my life (I'm nearly 60) and so has dad (over 80 now). We have never been ill from drinking our own milk. Claire and I have four very fit, sport-loving sons. They have all drank raw milk from 6months old and they too have never been ill from it
  • Are there any health benefits to drinking pasteurised and homogenised milk? Or is the milk 'dead'?
    I don't really like to knock an industry that I am part of as a milk producer. There are benefits to drinking pasteurised milk, such as calcium. But it has nowhere near the same number of benefits that raw milk offers. Raw milk has all the benefits of pasteurised milk, plus: i) The protein is not denatured (physically altered in shape) as is the case once pasteurised (heat treated), and is therefore fully available and metabolisable by the body. ii) Cholesterol is not heat treated and remains in its natural state as good cholesterol that the body can metabolise and use. Once milk cholesterol is heat treated, it is altered into a form the body cannot deal with, so the body produces more of its own cholesterol to deal with this 'bad' cholesterol. It has been shown in the U.S. that raw milk lowers blood cholesterol, whereas pasteurised milk increases blood cholesterol. iii) All the good bacteria are still present and help with gut action and digestion. It is also possible that these good bacteria also help fight bacteria infection within the body. iv) All the enzymes in raw milk are still present. Some people are lactose intolerant, which means they cannot digest lactose milk sugar as they themselves do not produce lactase enzyme. This is the enzyme needed to help digest lactose sugar. Raw milk contains lactase and therefore helps digest lactose, and deal with that intolerance. Lactase is just one enzyme found in raw milk, there are others too! All these wonderful enzymes are killed by pasteurisation. v) It has been shown that raw milk helps to fight eczema, hayfever, allergies and asthma. On our own milk round, we have customers that have our milk to get rid of their eczema. Since having our milk, their eczema has either improved or disappeared! There are more benefits, but in conclusion, I would say that there are far more benefits to drinking raw milk. A study by GSCE students for the BBC programme Countryfile about three years ago was interesting. Three petri dishes were prepared, one with UHT milk, one pasteurised and one raw milk, and left open to the atmosphere. Nothing grew on the UHT sample, it could not support life. Only good bacteria grew on the raw sample, and only bad bacteria grew on the pasteurised one. Why? Well, in the pasteurised sample, the good bacteria once in it, were now all dead, leaving a good substrate ripe for invasion by whatever bacteria were around in the atomosphere, whereas with the raw sample, the good bacteria still in the milk repelled any bacteria that tried to invade! That is fantastic! I would say that drinking homogenised milk is potentially harmful! Remember, it is only done for cosmetic reasons. The organic movement would like to see this process banned. Firstly, some believe that the smashed up globules of fat become so small by this process, that they are passing straight into peoples bloodstreams, and that is what is clogging blood vessels up. Secondly, a globule of fat is coated in protein. In its natural state and size, the ratio of fat to protein is as nature intended, and is fine for us. However, once the fat is smashed into tiny globules they are still coated with protein, but now the ratio of fat to protein is altered, as the protein element is now a bigger proportion in that ratio. Some believe that this alteration with there being excess protein is also causing metabolic problems for people. Combine that with the milk protein being denatured by pasteurisation, then it could be said that tiny fat globules coated by protein that may no longer be digestible are passing straight into the bloodstream.
  • Why do the supermarkets sell pasteurised and homogenised milk? Is it something to do with shelf life?
    It is nothing to do with shelf life. If a supermarket sells milk, by law it must be pasteurised. By law, only the farmer himself can sell raw milk, so shops, supermarkets etc cannot sell it. Supermarkets can only sell pasteurised milk, most of which is also now homogenised. So it is more of a legal issue, than a shelf life issue. Homogenisation is not a legal requirement, it is done for cosmetic reasons. Homogenisation has no effect on shelf life. The big retailers think the consumer does not want to see a cream line, nor the cream at the top of the milk bottle. The vast bulk of the milk they sell has no cream line as it is homogenised. This process physically smashes the fat globules into tiny globules that cannot ever settle out and rise to the top. They remain in even suspension throughout the milk. It has been my experience that hygienically produced raw milk has a longer life than pasteurised.
  • Do you agree with putting the health warning or do you think the government are trying to scare people away from buying raw milk?
    I think that some people are 'scared off' by the government warning, and some people think the government warning is way over the top. I do think it is slightly over the top. However, I am pleased to have it, if it is part of the legislation that allows producers like me able to become licensed to sell raw milk. In terms of risk, there is risk in everything. For example, can you be certain that pasteurised milk does not become contaminated AFTER the pasteurisation process? I think the Food Standards Agency (FSA) are spot on with the current system of approving a milk producer like me to sell raw milk. In order for me to sell raw milk, our milk must pass three consecutive bactoscan tests, and three strict coliform tests, as well as regular unannounced dairy inspections by the FSA. Once we have passed these, then we can sell raw milk. The unannounced dairy inspections continue once we are selling raw milk, as does an unannounced milk sampler, who takes samples of our milk which must pass the FSA bactoscan and coliform tests on an ongoing basis. I completely agree with this system, as it eliminates risk of raw milk being produced unhygienically, and protects you the consumer. I fear that if raw milk was banned, that raw milk sales would go 'underground' (there is such a strong, unstoppable demand for it), and the consumer would not have these protection systems in place, and then be exposed to risk.
  • Where can I buy your milk and other products?
    There are four ways you can get your hands on our products: on our local milk rounds; collect direct from the farm; attend one of our farmers’ markets; and our national courier service.
  • Do your products have anything added to them?
    No. Our raw milk is taken straight from the cow and chilled in a bulk tank before being bottled, or separated for cream. Our milk, and the rest of our dairy products, are completely free from steroids, hormones, antibiotics, and any other additives. The only products with added ingredients are our lightly salted butter (containing sea salt flakes from Maldon) and our yoghurt (contains freeze-dried yoghurt culture from CHR Hansen).
  • How soon should I consume my raw milk, and how should I store it?
    If kept cold and sealed, the raw milk should remain unchanged in taste and quality for five to seven days. After this time, the bacteria in the milk will start to produce lactic acid, and the milk will naturally sour – however, unlike pasteurised milk, soured raw milk is still perfectly safe to use (for a list of possible uses for sour milk, click here). There is no need to boil raw milk before consumption. Your raw milk should be refrigerated as soon as possible; to maximise shelf life, we recommend storing the milk in the main part of the fridge, as the door is the warmest part of the fridge. Our raw milk is also suitable for freezing.
  • Why do supermarkets only sell pasteurised and homogenised milk, and not raw milk?
    In the UK, by law, raw milk can only be sold directly from the farm, which is why you never see raw milk in shops and supermarkets; ergo, all supermarket milk must be pasteurised, although homogenisation is not a legal requirement, rather a cosmetic one. Big retailers don’t think consumers want to see a cream line in their milk: homogenisation involves physically smashing the fat globules into tiny globules that cannot rise to the top, and instead remain in even suspension in the milk.
  • Are your cows grass-fed?
    Our cows are purely grass-fed in the summer when they are on fresh pasture. When they are housed indoors for the winter they are fed our homemade silage and a supplementary organic mix (or 'cake') comprising peas and beans. There are several reasons why grass-fed is so important to us: Health Benefits: Grass-fed milk contains more Omega-3 oils, which may help prevent diet-related conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Additionally, in comparison to grain-fed beef, grass-fed beef is higher in vitamins A and E, and has significantly lower levels of saturated fat. Environment: Our cows graze on protected 'permanent pasture': this is land that is used only for growing grass, either naturally (self-seeded) or through sowing. This regenerative method of farming is much better for the environment, and the absence of fertilisers and pesticides ensures the grass and soil remain of the highest quality. Our pasture on the Pevensey Levels also grows on a deep alluvial topsoil rich with organic matter. This soil is an excellent sequester of carbon, and is brilliant at storing carbon. Happy Cows: Grass is of course the natural diet for cows and they are at their happiest when grazing outside, choosing what they want to eat from the fresh green pasture, field margins and even hedgerows - you'll know exactly how excited they get if you've been to one of our Turn Out Days!
  • How often do your cows have calves?
    With regards to calving, our dairy heifers are not served initially until they reach a certain size, so some are older than others, but mostly they are in calf after they are 2 years old and then they might be put into calf again a year or so later, after they have rested for around 3 months, sometimes longer. We keep our small herd altogether in the winter and in neighbouring fields in the summer, so we can observe them to see if any appear unwell or unhappy: they would not be put into calf if this was the case. A good sign for happy, healthy cows is the amount of mastitis a farmer treats, and we have very little incidence of this.
  • How do you ensure the welfare of your cows, and that they display natural behaviour?
    We keep our small herd altogether in the winter and in neighbouring fields in the summer, so we can observe them to see if any appear unwell or unhappy, they would not be put into calf if this was the case. Our cows produce 25 litres of milk daily at their peak against a typical 60 litre output for an intensively farmed animal. It would be more usual to see 15 litres of milk a day from our cows as they are only milked twice a day and in between times they are free to roam our organic pastures. If you watch our film 'The Moo Man' you can see some of the habitat on our farm and the relationship our cows have with their farmer, they are quite tame and enjoy a scratch on the head from the men that milk them. Our cows are not indoors all day unlike some larger dairy farms. A good sign for happy, healthy cows is the amount of mastitis a farmer treats and we have very little incidence of this. Our cows are kept on the farm until they are no longer well and productive, our oldest cow is 13 years old ( we call her a Bond girl as her registered No is 007) and she is much older than most traditional intensively farmed dairy cows.
  • How long do your calves stay with their mothers?
    A newborn calf will stay with its mother for between 2 and 5 days. Some cows (just like people) have stronger maternal instincts that others: some want to mother every calf born on the farm, while some do not bond with their calf and have very little maternal instinct. It is crucial that the calf is with its mum for at least 24 hours so that it can suckle and receive its colostrum. The tricky part is that the longer the calf stays on its mum the stronger the bond, which then makes the separation more painful for mum and calf. However it is important to recognise that the cow is not denied the opportunity to express her maternal instincts. In order to manage this the new mum has between 2-5 days with its calf depending on its maternal instincts. Most important in the timing of the separation is the experience of the stockman, his knowledge of each individual member of the herd, and his love for his cows at this crucial time for both newborn calf and mum. After receiving the vital colostrum the calves progress to being bucket fed their mum’s raw milk so that they can join the small group of calves in sheds close to their mother. Calves are able to see their mums in the yard and once old enough will obviously join the herd again, in between they enjoy roaming the beautiful organic pastures with fellow youngsters once the grass is growing. After this the calves remain with us, the females join the dairy herd and we keep the males calves to sell on for ‘Rose veal’; this is in accordance with the guidelines by the Soil Association who have given us our ‘Organic’ status. Generally speaking, due to the wonders of artificial insemination, we have only female calves here, allowing the farmer to elect for bulls that usually produce female offspring.
  • What vaccinations, medications and antibiotics do you use on your cows?
    Our calves are vaccinated against lung worm. We only use antibiotics in exceptional circumstances when the cow is really unwell; however, if a cow is on antibiotics, her milk is kept separate from the rest of the herd's and does not enter our production line.
  • Do you use artificial insemination?
    We do use artificial insemination to preserve the integrity of our Holstein Friesian herd; we choose different bulls each year to improve the herd, and we are currently selecting AA2 bulls to improve the quality of the milk. Also, when keeping a bull on the farm, they can be quite dangerous and this is a risk we are not prepared to take for our staff and visitors to the farm.
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