Greetings Tony Manasseri,
I live in Arlington, TX. I tried raw milk once from Nors Dairy and was unaccustomed to the taste. I thought it was going to be awesome according to the woman who had the milk coop. However, it had a weird aftertaste to me. (I've been buying the homogenized (dead) organic milk.) I also made a visit to his farm & saw his production. His method of hygiene was to wipe the cow's udders with a baby wipe (not a fresh one by the way, but was stuffed in his pocket.) Is that standard? Somehow this didn't seem clean to me and I'm no clean freak either. We use only non toxic cleaning options i.e. d-limonene/orange oil, vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, Soil Mender's Plant Wash, etc.
I know that you have goats, but what dairy would you trust for raw milk from cows? I contacted Sand Creek Farm via email about it's milk early in February, but never heard back.
Thank you kindly for your insight,
Ground Crew member/Dirt Doctor fan since 1997
We have nigerian dwarf dairy goats and have offered a taste to many folks. Usually the preconception is that the milk will taste bad or different, but to a person, all have agreed that it tastes just like store bought milk, only better.
We have a friend with a Jersey cow and have tasted this milk. I find the taste varies somewhat with the season and quality of forage. When the grass is really green, the milk has a very yellow color and there is a massive amount of cream. I think the milk has a somewhat grassy taste. Of course, when the milk is yellow and there's a lot of cream is when the quality is at it's best. When the forage is poor, like in the winter or when we haven't had rain, the milk color is much whiter and the taste is less pronounced.
If you read about the milk used for some of the great traditional artisan cheeses around the world, the comment is often made that the taste of the cheese is influenced by the types of forage or browse that the dairy animals eat. So, clearly milk will be influenced by the type of feed/forage available to the animal,
Taste can also be affected by milk handling after leaving the dairy barn. If the milk is not filtered or chilled quickly and kept cold or if it is agitated too much (like on a bumpy ride), the taste of the milk may be affected.
Also, if the cows have health issues, the taste of them milk might be affected.
You ask about how the animal's udders are cleaned before milking. What did you expect to see? We use baby wipes, but a clean one for each doe. I wouldn't want to reuse, because if one animal is developing mastitis, you might possibly spread it to the other. Others I know use a wet rag to wipe any dirt from the teats and udder. A more conventional approach would be to used a disinfective teat spray or dip. I don't do this, nor do I want to do this. But by the same token, I know folks who simply brush the teats and udders off before milking and only wash if the udders or teats have matter on them.
If you have a healthy animal, I think it's best not to use a disinfectant. This will kill the beneficial microorganisms on the skin (just like the soil there are both good guys and bad guys). Pathogens usually reproduce faster than beneficials and when the beneficials are gone, it leaves an opening for the pathogens. So that's why I don't do it. I don't know what the dairy inspectors require for licensed dairies.
Also, the issues are somewhat different if the cow is being machine milked versus hand milked. Machine milking keeps a lot of debre out of the milk such as hairs, dust, etc that will fall in when the animal is hand milked. We filter our milk to get out any of this debree and rapidly chill it.
The best measure is the lab analysis of the milk. As the dairy how often they get their milk tested for pathogens and somatic cell count. If the labs are good, I wouldn't worry about how they clean the teats. But if you don't like the taste, the issue is moot.
If you don't like the taste of the milk, look around for another source. Try out some goat milk or milk from another cow or a different breed of cow. Some folks don't like the taste of Jersey because it is too rich for them. Others don't like Holstein. Or try the milk again during a different season of the year. It may taste different.
I'm sorry, but I don't have any recommendations about dairies. We don't buy from a dairy nor do any of our friends. You might check on http://www.realmilk.com
or with your local chapter of the Weston A Price foundation. You might be able to find some small local sources that way.
I hope this info helps.