As a follow-up to the first post on raw milk (Buying Raw Milk in Tennessee), I thought it would be useful to provide a list of questions that we feel are prudent for consumers to ask prior to buying raw milk or participating in a herd share. These are questions that, in our opinion, customers should be asking their raw milk dairy farmers. (If additional quesitons come to mnind, I'd love it if you left them in the comments.)
Before we get into the list of questions, it's important to make sure the farmer will give you the time to ask questions in the first place. If a farmer is going to sell you raw milk, a share of their herd, or a raw milk product, he/she should give you ample time to ask questions. If they don't, then don't buy their milk. That's the first warning sign.
Also, if you get a bad vibe from the farm, or you sense the farmer is lying to you or avoiding answering your questions, move on. Don't hesitate. Trust your gut, or your gut may pay for it later. Raw milk is great and it's wonderful to have, but don't risk buying contaminated raw milk. It could make you very ill, and in extreme cases it could be lethal. We've been to a number of raw milk farms where we wouldn't dare drink the milk. We've also been to plenty where we would drink the milk. Knowing the difference is critical and I hope these questions help you identify a high-quality raw milk farmer in your area.
Ok, on with it. This is written from the perspective of someone buying raw cow's milk, since that is by far the most common raw milk available. We have dairy goats and so do lots of other dairy farmers. Raw sheep's milk is also an option. These questions can be substituted for raw milk from any type of dairy animal, it's not cow-specific.
Questions To Ask Your Raw Milk Farmer