Please not that Riverside Milk is raw milk and that raw milk may not be suitable for you or your family. The Ministry of Primary Industries advises the following: 'Raw milk may contain Microorganisms that can cause serious illness. To reduce the risk of illness, the raw milk should be heated to at least 70 degrees celcius for at least one minute. This is critical for infants, young children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems.'
Benefits of fresh raw milk
Loaded with healthy bacteria that are good for your digestion
Full of more than 60 digestive enzymes, growth factors, and immunoglobulins (antibodies)
Rich in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which fights cancer and boosts metabolism
Rich in beneficial raw fats, amino acids, and proteins in a highly bioavailable form, all 100 percent digestible
All vitamins ( A,B, C, D and K) are readily available and the balanced mineral blend is easy to absorb with the help of the beneficial bacteria present. (3)
Fresh Raw milk may also aid in the reduction of some of the most common diseases in western society, like asthma, obesity, diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure and allergies (4).
Milk as pure as can be
When we look after our environment and our animals, we also look after ourselves. Riverside Milk is committed to not only decreasing our dairy farm's impact on the planet but also producing milk that is pure and comes from sustainable and cruelty free farming practices.
Unlike most and especially big dairy farms, Riverside Milk maintains a low stocking rate with only 2 cows per hectare rather than the usual four (or more). This reduces our environmental impact and gives pastures and soil biology the resilience to rejuvenate and regenerate much more easily.
Our pastures contain plenty of plantain, chicory, tall fescues and red and white clover alongside the conventional rye grass cultivars. This not only ensures good cow health and nutrition, but also minimises the need for any inorganic nitrogen fertiliser through the natural nitrogen fixing in the clover root nodules.
Our dairy farm is not irrigated, uses therefore less water and has greatly reduced run off and leaching. We are acutely aware of our responsibility to protect our waterways and are committed to implementing practices for reducing our farms environmental impact further.
We assist the health of our cows by giving them plenty of rest from milking each year. Our farmers also like to ensure their diet is nutritious and healthy by letting them graze on resilient, biologically managed pastures. There is nothing better than a mix of organic fish fertiliser (yummy!), worm juice and molasses to feed beneficial microbes in the soil and make a cow smile...
While Riverside Milk is strictly speaking not an organic dairy farm, we endeavour to implement environmentally friendly and sustainable farming methods and avoid the use of harmful substances such as herbicides whenever possible.
Furthermore, unlike most dairy farms we don't trade in 'bobby calves' (calves considered and treated like a waste product and born only to be slaughtered for human and pet consumption). We keep all our calves (males and females) raise them on our farm. While we will sell some of them later in their life (when they are at least 1 year old), we do not send any of our them into slaughterhouses and meat works (which is unfortunately the reality for most calves on conventional dairy farms).
Our Riverside Milk Farmers know each cow personally and are opposed to animal cruelty and using any means which may hurt or endanger their animals. When we say that our cows are happy and healthy cows, it's not a marketing phrase but the result of actual everyday observations and interactions...
Hygiene and safety
Advances in animal health and disease prevention programmes have practically eliminated diseases such as T.B., Brucellosis and Leptospirosis from the national herd, and drinking raw milk has never been safer than it is now (5).
Nevertheless, raw milk has been categorised by the New Zealand government as a 'high risk' food that - just like chicken - could potentially be harmful to some people. Apart from labeling our milk with the prescribed government warnings (6), we also work within comprehensive guidelines to provide our customers with a product that they can trust in.
To ensure the hygiene and safety of our farm milk, we follow (allied to the total adoption of milk refrigeration) strict procedures for disease control. This includes comprehensive regular testing for infection indicators, bacteria and parasites. We also operate under Fonterra’s food safety program and risk management plan.
With the exception of the daily tests, all fresh farm milk is independently analysed at the Cawthron Institute in Nelson. This ensures that everything is fit for harvesting milk for use not only at home but also in countries with some of the worlds highest food saftey standards.
Why not pasteurise?
When milk is pasteurised, fats are oxidized, proteins denatured and most enzymes are completely destroyed (7), resulting in a ‘food’ that has been drained of many health beneficial nutrients.
Additionally, the bacteria killed by pasteurisation are not removed, but rather their dead cell fragments remain in the milk to activate immune reactions in those who ingest them. This is one major cause of milk allergy and intolerance. Often the adverse physical reaction is not to the milk itself, but the result of a histamine production reaction (producing antibodies) to the post-pasteurisation cell fragments it contains (8).
Unpasteurised milk is, in our experience, also much tastier, creamier and cheaper (you often don't need to buy starter cultures and get a bigger yield) and simply better for cheese, yoghurt and butter making :)
Nevertheless, 'raw milk vs. pasteurised milk' continues to be a highly controversial topic in most western societies, with whole/raw food advocates in one corner and governments as well as big dairy companies in the other one. Both sides rely on scientific research and expertise from health practitioners, and in the end it is up to you, the consumer, to form an informed opinion.
For a summary of the 'Raw Milk Controversy' from the viewpoint of a raw milk advocate, please click here...