I've been making lots of cheese lately. It's amazing how many by products you can get from one bottle of raw milk: cream, butter, whey, buttermilk, cheese, yoghurt, kefir... When I tell people we buy and drink raw milk the first question is "is it safe?" (the answer is yes if you source it properly) and the second one is "isn't that expensive?". The answer to the second one would be "NO!".
I went shopping yesterday so I decided to check out prices for milk (organic and non organic) and cream. A bottle of milk is about $4 for 2L, if you buy organic it's $5.60. A bottle of cream is $5.40 (on average). Two liters of raw milk (farmed organically) is $6. With 2L, I get about 400ml of cream. I can use it as it is or make butter, which is about $1 per 100g nowadays. I get about 50g of butter with 400ml of cream. Doesn't sound like much, but if you subtract even 50c from the $6 we pay for the milk, that makes it as expensive as the organic milk from the supermarket. and with the rest of the milk I can make cheese, kefir or yoghurt. And the milk itself tastes good, way better than the store bought homogenized milk. Store bought yoghurt makes me feel sick after a few sips. Raw milk doesn't, I can happily gulp down one big glass (and I was the first one to be surprised). So there you go.
In the first place though, I only wanted raw milk to make yoghurt and cheese without having to buy plastic packets of yoghurt culture or cheese. And I found out it was super easy and very satisfying. Check out this post, this one or this one to find out about a few of my experiments.
Since I've been making quite a bit of it and plan to try my hand at making a few hard cheeses as well, I decided to invest in a cheese cylinder. Luckily it just so happens that a local potter makes them, which is way better than investing in a plastic one, is locally made and beautifully made (and affordable). So there you go, it was meant to be.
And a great quote to end this post, which might answer the first question about raw milk:
"We've spent our energy on corn we shouldn't have grown to feed cows who shouldn't have eaten it to acidify the rumen to grow E.coli that shouldn't have lived to make people sick that should have been healthy, to fill hospitals we shouldn't have needed" J. Salatin (The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer)
(You can also read more about raw milk here)