Originally Posted by ThereseReich
I just noticed the OP is in Northern California. Claravale is the only other raw milk they sell in the stores here. However, they feed their cows grains. Organic Pastures cows are grass-fed.
I hate to disillusion you, but Organic Pastures cows are also fed some grain. They are on pasture all the time, and can presumably eat as much grass as they want, but they are supplemented with alfalfa hay and grain. They probably use far less grain than a place where the cows don't have that much access to green pasture, but they are not 100% grassfed. I know the label says 100% pastured (or something like that), which I find a bit deceptive. It's great milk, (so is Claravale), but unless something has changed in the past year or so, 100% grassfed it is not.
OP, yes, it mostly is just CA where raw milk is so expensive. A lot of that has to do with the regulatory environment here. The state requires things of raw milk producers that other states do not, like the more high-tech kinds of milking and bottling procedures and equipment (hand-bottling is forbidden, for instance). Distribution costs are part if it as well, I'm sure. There are only 2 legal raw dairies in the whole state, and almost all of their milk is trucked to retail outlets, wherein lies another cost increase (retail mark-up). We do not have the legal option that exists in some states, where farmers milking a few cows can sell raw milk they bottle by hand, directly from the farm or at farmer's markets. In some areas pasture grows more readily without as much input of irrigation water as is required here in CA. Feed costs (hay and grain) are higher here than in some other areas, also. And since it's illegal here for someone with a family cow or two, or even a small herd, to sell milk at all, there's virtually no competition in the raw milk market.