I am a felon. I’ve not been convicted, nor even charged with anything. And if I ever was charged, I’d be appalled that the government would waste money prosecuting a case over smuggled milk.
“Milk?” you ask.
Yes. Milk. I’m one of those people. You know, the ones who drink raw milk.
“Raw?” you ask.
Well, not cooked, which is what pasteurization does. And my argument for raw milk will come in another post. The good news is that because I can’t buy it in a store because it is illegal to sell raw milk in NJ, I have to go directly to a farm. In Pennsylvania. And then bring it home, across state lines (that’s where the felony comes in), with the intention to drink it.
One of the big changes we made in our lives is trying to remove as many links as possible from our commodity chain. We have a garden and we produce a goodly amount of tomatoes and cucumbers. We have a thriving “s-berry” patch (an old farming superstition to not say anything good about them by name, or we jinx ’em!), as well as raspberries and young apple trees (so far so good on the apples, but who knows!). Most of what we don’t grow ourselves, we get from a Community Supported Agriculture Farm (CSA) and local orchards. And yes, in the winter, we sadly return to the grocery store…
At the moment, we are single-sourcing our meat, from Nature’s Sunlight Farm in Newville, PA. I’m not going to get into our amazing relationship with the Nolt Family today because they are a post (or 6) in and of themselves. No feedlot meat for us. No battery-produced chickens. No links between. We pick it up from the farmer.
Our raw milk odyssey has taken us up and down the NJ/PA border, finding different dairies, trying their product. While all of the dairies with whom we dealt have wonderful milk, we felt that we were “trading out” on the various value-added products available, and that prices were kind of steep.
My friend Andrea (her name is changed to protect her from harm due to contraband milk smuggling collusion) called me a couple of weeks ago with a lead on a new farm. She, as a resident of Pennsylvania, can legally purchase raw milk at a store. However, she can save $4 a gallon by going directly to a farm. She went and checked it out (doing nothing illegal, mind you, because her milk was not going to cross state lines).
Because she was so impressed with product, I had to go with her on the next milk run. One blustery morning, I found myself at Freedom Acres Farm in Honey Brook, PA. The farm is run by husband and wife team, Samuel and Esther Fisher. Esther was at the door a minute after we arrived. We brought in the “empties” and chatted about their products.
Andrea had warned me that the milk was going to be in big jars, but I had to chuckle when I saw the them. They are institutional-sized pickle jars. I find that irony really amusing. Esther brought out a variety of cheeses, cream cheese and yogurt. Samuel came in a bit later and started to chat with us in what I will call “teacher-mode” (enough people chide me about going into “teacher-mode,” so I do know it when I see it!), about pastured, grass-fed milk. Andrea held up a hand and said, “Samuel, Natalie is the one who got me started on raw milk.”
I have been back, and plan to continue purchasing milk and dairy products from Freedom Acres. The milk is creamy and delicious. The cheeses are truly wonderful. The cheddar is a house favorite. The jalepeño cheddar wasn’t hot enough for my husband (but nothing ever is, unless his taste buds get seared off), but my son who has tastes the polar opposite of his father, thought it was delicious. The Monterey Jack melts beautifully and has a nice silky consistency.
And oh, the butter. The butter! Spring butter! And if your head isn’t swimming in a moment of ecstasy thinking about spring butter, then you have never tasted it. It is rich and has a flavor unlike anything I’ve ever spread on bread. The color is a bright, deep yellow, and it is full of good nutrients like CLA!
If you are in the area of Honey Brook (or maybe even not so in the area… I’m driving over an hour to get there), I strongly recommend this farm. The products are outstanding and the farmer and his wife are lovely people.
Freedom Acres Farm Honey Brook, PA 610-273-2076