How much is your raw milk? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 63 Old 02-28-2009, 02:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So I am making the switch from organic cream top milk (Straus) to raw milk (Claravale). I haven't had a chance to try the raw milk yet, still finishing up the other stuff.

But, raw milk is really expensive! One quart is $4.19, the other milk I was buying was $3.69 for half a gallon. Is this common or is raw milk just really expensive where I am?

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#2 of 63 Old 02-28-2009, 02:23 PM
 
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We pay $5 a gallon for our raw milk. It is very rich, being from Guernsey cows, almost a quarter cream. We love it!
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#3 of 63 Old 02-28-2009, 02:28 PM
 
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I'm about to start paying $8. A gal of OV is $6 here, conventional milk.. about $3 i think.
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#4 of 63 Old 02-28-2009, 02:33 PM
 
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I think we pay $6 a gallon, but that seems cheap to me.

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#5 of 63 Old 02-28-2009, 02:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay so I'm not crazy to think this is a little expensive? It works out to be over $12 a gallon.

Jenna in love with my DH Jon, loving our 2.5 year old, Caroline Tulip, and expecting another little one in August!
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#6 of 63 Old 02-28-2009, 02:39 PM
 
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Can you get it in a gallon size? Usually, the larger containers are less expensive. Here, it is $3.50 for half gallon, $6.50 for a gallon, plus 15% delivery surcharge.
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#7 of 63 Old 02-28-2009, 02:40 PM
 
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Here in VT we pay the farmer between $4-$8 a gallon for raw milk.
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#8 of 63 Old 02-28-2009, 02:42 PM
 
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Not sure how much for local raw cow milk.
We use goat milk. Local price varies from $6-16 per gallon.

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#9 of 63 Old 02-28-2009, 02:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I buy it at the Natural Foods Co-Op. I think they sell one other kind of raw milk but it comes in plastic, I will have to check out the price on that one. The kind I bought comes in glass and only the quart size. You pay a $1.50 bottle deposit (not included in the price of the milk) but then you bring the bottles back and you get a credit. I really prefer to get the kind in glass because plastic milk jugs seem so wasteful if you don't have to use them.

I think I remember checking out the price on the other kind before and it was something like $7.69 for a half gallon but that was a few months ago.

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#10 of 63 Old 02-28-2009, 02:56 PM
 
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$20 per gallon in Southern California: Organic Pastures grass-fed raw milk which can be purchased in stores. I'm not sure, but maybe those in Northern California might have access to local farms for cheaper raw milk, but here in Southern California there aren't any local farms producing raw milk.

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.

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#11 of 63 Old 02-28-2009, 03:10 PM
 
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It really depends on where you live and the farmer. I personally pay $7 gallon but the other farms around here charge $10-$12 gallon.

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#12 of 63 Old 02-28-2009, 03:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I will have to check out organic pastures next time, I think that is what I saw last time in the half gallon plastic.

Man, I really don't want to give up my glass bottles

Jenna in love with my DH Jon, loving our 2.5 year old, Caroline Tulip, and expecting another little one in August!
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#13 of 63 Old 02-28-2009, 03:29 PM
 
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Here in VA we have to do a cow share, which costs $35/month for a gallon a week. So it's less than $10. But then I have to pay for delivery, which is $2.50/week, so I end up paying $45/month, or $11.25 each.

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#14 of 63 Old 02-28-2009, 03:35 PM
 
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I pay $6 a gallon (mid-atlantic; east coast).

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#15 of 63 Old 02-28-2009, 03:45 PM
 
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If I buy it illegally, 6-8 dollars a gallon, if I joined the cow share program it would be $17 a gallon (I think), if I buy it in WA and bring it across it's 9.00 usd a gallon

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#16 of 63 Old 02-28-2009, 03:56 PM
 
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Both Claravale & Organic Pastures will work with you if you want to set up a co-op. There are minimums & you need an organizer & a host. A co-op doesn't make it inexpensive, but it does make it more affordable. If you have a local WAPF chapter, that's a good place to start looking for interest.
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#17 of 63 Old 02-28-2009, 04:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThereseReich View Post
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.

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#18 of 63 Old 02-28-2009, 05:01 PM
 
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Here in WI we're pretty lucky. We pay about $3.50 a gallon. We also had to purchase a cow share which was $25. We are part of a driving co-op, because the farm is 50 miles away, so that cuts down on time and how much gas we would use. we only have to drive there every 4 or 5 weeks.

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#19 of 63 Old 02-28-2009, 05:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by AJP View Post
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.
I find it deceptive too. "Organic Pastures produces Grade A, 100% pasture grazed raw milk of super premium quality," says their web site (and yeah the label says that too). I examined their web site in the past and I just checked again now, and I didn't find anything about them feeding the cows grain. However, when I checked Claravale's web site in the past, they indicated that they feed the cows grain. So I've assumed these past couple of years that Organic Pastures is better than Claravale. But in reality, is Claravale also "100% pasture grazed" too, so its quality is just about the same as Organic Pastures?

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#20 of 63 Old 02-28-2009, 05:13 PM
 
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4 dollars a gallon is what I pay here in NEPA.

Homebirth Midwifing mama to five blessings in Northeastern PA.
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#21 of 63 Old 02-28-2009, 05:41 PM
 
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10$ a gallon here in Portland (we get it from Washington at a Certified Farm). Used to pay $7 but the drive was so far it cost around $10/gallon with gas costs anyway.
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#22 of 63 Old 02-28-2009, 06:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThereseReich View Post
But in reality, is Claravale also "100% pasture grazed" too, so its quality is just about the same as Organic Pastures?
Claravale moved recently, so maybe they have more pasture access at the new place, but it used to be that their cows only had seasonal pasture (late winter/early spring) because they didn't have irrigation water (and you can't keep pastures green in CA through the summer and fall without that). They fed hay and grain when I spoke with them years ago. I don't think Organic Pastures feeds large amounts of grain, but I don't know how much. They used to have pictures of their grain storage on their website. They may have reduced the amount of grain due to demand for 100% grassfed milk, but in reality, keeping a year-round dairy herd in CA on grass only is close to impossible, given the metabolism of the modern dairy cow. I'm not saying it's a bad thing for them to supplement with some grain (I have to do that with my own cow to keep her from getting too skinny, she gets a few pounds per day), but I wish they were more upfront about it on their labels and website. I would be very surprised if they have succeeded in getting their herd completely off grain, especially considering that so much of it is Holstein. A little bit of grain as a supplement for an animal that is mostly forage-fed (meaning pasture or hay) is a very different thing than confinement dairy cows eating so much grain and soy that it messes up their digestive systems and makes them sick. I believe that "100% pasture grazed" means the cows are on pasture 100% of the time, not that 100% of their nutrition comes from that pasture.

I think both OP and Claravale produce wonderful, healthy milk. It would be lower in CLA than that from 100% grassfed cows, but it's still great milk. Claravale is not certified organic, I think they say they don't feed any GMOs though.

Seasonal, grass-only dairying can be done in areas where the pasture grows fast and lush all spring and summer, but that's a rare situation in CA, partly because our soil here doesn't get as much of a winter rest (no truly dormant season of freezing temps and snow cover, in most of the state). Neither OP nor Claravale are seasonal dairies in that sense.

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#23 of 63 Old 02-28-2009, 06:14 PM
 
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6 a gallon
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#24 of 63 Old 02-28-2009, 06:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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AJP thanks for all the wonderful information!

Jenna in love with my DH Jon, loving our 2.5 year old, Caroline Tulip, and expecting another little one in August!
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#25 of 63 Old 02-28-2009, 06:31 PM
 
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we own a "share" of the cow and it works out to about $10 a gallon, (at least for the first year)

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#26 of 63 Old 02-28-2009, 06:33 PM
 
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12.29 here at the only raw dairy in Arizona.
They are not grass-fed
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#27 of 63 Old 02-28-2009, 06:55 PM
 
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I know some folks who had a "share" of milk from a family cow. Its in cali, so it sounds like it was illegal though. I also think it was even more expensive than claravale or op.

I may have to look into a claravale co-op. I just can't afford 4.50 a quart right now (14 a gallon, since they only sell quarts). I'm not comfortable with op, because I've talked about it with several people (who sell raw milk) who decided to only sell claravale because they feel that Mark McAfee has some questionable business and health practices. I trust their opinions and knowledge very much, so between that, OP's "off" taste, and the plastic, I go with Claravale when I can afford it. (OP is just as expensive, in my area). I SO wish I had access to more affordable raw milk from a small farmer, but atm, I don't. Maybe when we move to where ever we are going to have our farm, and then certainly when we have our own farm....

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#28 of 63 Old 02-28-2009, 07:18 PM
 
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I'm not comfortable with op, because I've talked about it with several people (who sell raw milk) who decided to only sell claravale because they feel that Mark McAfee has some questionable business and health practices. I trust their opinions and knowledge very much, so between that, OP's "off" taste, and the plastic, I go with Claravale when I can afford it. (OP is just as expensive, in my area).
I agree that the plastic isn't as good as the glass. I haven't noticed an "off" taste though. When I first started raw milk, I had Claravale's and then when I had Organic Pastures, I thought their milk tasted better than Claravale's.

About the questionable business and health practices, do you have any more info on that? Because now I'm really confused. On their web site, is this all a lie when they say: "At OPDC the vigor of each cow is a high priority. Our individually named cows are never given antibiotics, hormones, or GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). Only organic green pasture and approved naturopathic methods are used to feed and care for the cows. Preventative, nature-based healthcare keeps the herd healthy all year."

Are they really not organic then? And Claravale who doesn't have an organic label is the "real" organic one? I'm so very confused here.

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#29 of 63 Old 02-28-2009, 07:37 PM
 
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I have herd shares (yes, plural - one is closer and seasonal and my preference as they're 100% grass fed, the other isn't quite 100% grass fed, but is also not seasonal so I've gotten milk from them this winter vs pasturised or frozen raw...), and pay $22 a month for the non-seasonal and $23 a month for the seasonal, per gallon of milk per week. Which works out to $5.50 a gallonish.
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#30 of 63 Old 02-28-2009, 10:00 PM
 
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ohio - $7 gal.
not bad considering organic milk in the store is $6 gal.
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