Robinson Farm - Organic Raw Milk Cheese

Robinson Farm

Raymond & Pamela Robinson
42 Jackson Road • PO Box 94
Hardwick, MA 01037
(413) 477-6988 (home/office)

Baystate Organic Certifiers - Certified Organic

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do you sell raw milk in stores?

A: In Massachusetts, we are only allowed to sell milk at the farm. However, in other parts of the country such as California, raw milk is sold in stores (click to watch CBS News video, and is quite popular.

Q: In January, I noticed a slight change in the flavor of the milk. Can you tell me why that is?

A: There are a number of things that can slightly change the flavor of our milk.
One is a change in feed. In late November our cows come off green grass, and eat mostly dried hay until March or April when they go back to pasture.

Another is how much milk they are making. The percent of butterfat and protein change depending upon where the cow is in her lactation cycle, and how many times per day she is milked. They produce the most milk right after they give birth and gradually go downward. Our cows are milked from the time they calve until the last 2 months of their next pregnancy, or sooner if they are not producing well. We stop milking them in the last 2 months of pregnancy to allow them to concentrate their energies on their calves.

We time our breeding so that most of our calves are born between March & May. This way we are producing lots of milk when we have lots of green grass and only need to milk once per day in the winter. It is the most economically sustainable way to graze dairy cows.

Once a day milking in the winter also gives Farmer Ray a bit of a break, although we have yet to really see where all the time goes!

Q: Do you use BST, or antibiotics?

A: No BST or antibiotics are used in the milking herd.

Q: I am lactose intolerant or allergic to pasteurized milk. Can I drink raw milk?

A: Raw milk contains the enzyme lactase, which assists in the digestion of lactose. Many people who have previously thought they were allergic to milk or lactose intolerant; can drink raw milk, because the enzyme lactase has not been destroyed by pasteurization.

Q: I've seen several news reports on "Probiotics". What are Probiotics?

A: Probiotics are "good bacteria" that are found in unprocessed foods, in raw milk and some yogurts. Keeping a healthy balance of these good bacteria can aid in digestion, help with digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, and assist a healthy immune system in fighting "bad bacteria." When antibiotics are necessary, health care practitioners use probiotics to replace the good bacteria, destroyed by antibiotics along with the bad.

Q: How do I know the milk is safe to drink?

A: Milk quality starts with healthy, clean, comfortable cows!
Our milk production and bottling practices ensure that the milk is clean, safe and exceeds the raw milk testing required by the state of Massachusetts. We bottle only milk from the first group of cows, when the equipment is freshly washed and sanitized. The cows' teats are double washed and prepped for milking. No cows with any hint of health concerns are included in the first or raw group. Cows are closely monitored to avoid any contamination.

We bottle directly from a separate bulk tank into clean plastic bottles and snap caps. As the milk goes through a rapid cool down process in the pipeline, it is immediately cooled before entering the refrigerated bulk tank. Bottled milk is dated and stored in our farm stand refrigerator.

Q: Is your milk routinely tested or are you licensed to sell the milk raw?

A: Yes, we are a licensed dairy. We are licensed to sell retail raw milk and to sell wholesale raw milk for pasteurization. Our milk is tested every other day for somatic cell count, fat, protein and antibiotics. Additionally, our raw milk is tested for coliform. We are required to be less than 10 and frequently have been less than 1. We also voluntarily test our raw milk for the "bacterial limit." The bacterial limit requirement for grade A pasteurized milk is that it "shall not exceed 2500 per ml." Our grade A raw milk (not pasteurized) has not exceeded 1000 per ml!

Q: Do you sell cream or butter?

A: We do not sell cream separately, but if you let the milk sit overnight the cream will rise to the top. We are not allowed, by law, to sell the cream separate as that would be "processing" the milk and in order to sell "processed" dairy products one must pasteurize it or age it for 60 days, as in cheese. Butter is made by saving a few days worth of cream and processing it in a blender with ice or a butter churn. Check out New England Cheese Making's website for recipes on how to make butter, cheese, and more.

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