Thursday, February 11, 2010

Where To Get Raw Milk In Massachusetts (Updated 2010-02-11)

Breaking news: The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources has been sending cease-and-desist orders to a number of raw milk buying clubs. Because of this, I will not name any of them, or talk about how to find them on the Internet. Buying clubs have served many Massachusetts raw milk drinkers for many years with ZERO incidents, and it is very sad to see the government creating problems where there aren't any. With a little luck, this situation might clear up…but luck is often not enough when it comes to raw milk and state bureaucrats. For an in-depth analysis, see David Gumpert's recent blog post. When it becomes clear where we should be writing letters, I'll let you know.

Here are some options for finding raw milk in Massachusetts, as of 2010-02-11:
  • Get yourself to a farm that is licensed to sell raw milk. This is the most straightforward option, if not always the most convenient. (1) At this moment, the closest farm to Boston is Oake Knoll Ayrshires At Lawton's Family Farm in Foxboro; I blogged about it here. (2) Starting on or around March 1, 2010, you will also be able to get raw milk at Eastleigh Farm in Framingham, which is significantly closer to Boston and Cambridge. I have blogged extensively about Eastleigh, and their licensing challenges, here. (3) NOFA lists other Massachusetts raw milk farms here. I've been to Upinngil Farm in Gill: Ayrshire cows, great milk, and great prices!

  • Pick up some raw milk on your next trip to Maine or Connecticut. Make sure to bring a cooler or an insulated bag. For extra points, bring an ice-pack of some sort, or ask for ice at the store—some stores will give you ice for free. I've purchased raw milk at Rosemont Market on Munjoy Hill in Portland, Maine, and at the giant Whole Foods in Portland. I've also been to Golden Harvest Market, in Kittery, Maine; just over the ME-NH border on I-95, it's a very cute store that reminds me of Debra's in Concord, Mass.

  • Join a formal buying club.
  • Join an informal buying club—one that does not advertise its existence, and that stays under the radar. I hear of them from time to time.
  • Start your own buying club, only deal with people you know, and keep quiet about it. All you need to do is get a bunch of people together, take turns driving to a farm, and figure out the finances and logistics to everyone's satisfaction. The smaller it is, the less coordination you'll need to do (but the more driving you'll do).

  • I have heard that there are dairy cow share programs in Massachusetts. For obvious reasons, I can't provide any details.
As far as other raw dairy products go:
  • Raw milk cheese is legal, so long as it is aged at least 60 days before sale. Whole Foods sells some cheddars made from unpasteurized milk. (Trader Joe's sells a raw milk cheddar, too, but it's not very tasty at all.) Other cheese purveyors may have greater variety and quality of raw milk cheeses, legal and otherwise.

  • Raw cream, raw butter, and any other such "processed" raw dairy do not seem to be legal in Massachusetts.
Please comment if you have additions, corrections, questions, or whatever.


Emerald Green said...

Great post! Just some plugs - I LOVE the milk at Oake Knoll. It's so delicious. Also, my favorite (reasonably priced) raw cheese at WF is the Grafton Village cheddar, aged 2 years. Raw butter, cream, and dairy kefir are all illegal in MA. However, if you poke around, I've had the luck of finding some amazing spring grass-fed butter from NH.

davidgumpert said...

There's a petition drive in Framingham to push the Board of Health there to end its delay tactics and license Doug Stephan to sell raw milk from his dairy there. You can sign the petition at:

David Gumpert
Author, The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America's Emerging Struggle Over Food Rights

Alex Lewin said...

David, thanks for posting the petition URL. I've signed and I'm spreading the word.

Anonymous said...

There is a great coop farm in NH. It is Brookford Farm. They are great. They have a website and will arrange delivery (for a fee)

Michelle said...

I am from Dracut MA and I so badly want RAW Milk and if you can contact me via my e-mail how I can go about getting some I would forever be in your debt.