Bet that headline shocked you, coming from me! -Lindsey
This week we received dozens of calls following a comment made online by the founder of Organic Pastures Raw Farm about the status of how their herd vaccinations are managed. His comments were a bit assured and lacked context, but to his defense, I believe he was having a conversation with someone he knew on their personal thread. In a lesson we almost all learn the hard way, the comment was screenshot and spread like wildfire through a demographic of our customers I appreciate for questioning literally everything about their food.
His comment stated that he and his team had personally chosen to vaccinate themselves as a matter of choice, and went on to relate it to vaccinating their cows for things like brucellosis and what he called CV. Understandably, the assumption was made that Organic Pastures was vaccinating with the newly released COVID-19 and this is not true.
Many of you know, and many of you may not know, that prior to founding The Heritage Pantry and The Barn and Pantry, I owned and operated a raw milk herdshare. I can say that publicly, now that I don’t do it anymore, without the fear of being hunted down by the milk police. Foremost, let me try to explain a couple things before sending you to the company directly to answer all of your questions.
First, that jersey cow cream line we all love is not from a God-created heritage breed. The breed was developed for high milk productions in the mid to late 1700s and didn’t make it to America until the late 1800s, which means they need to be protected from diseases that are not native to their herds. Brucellosis is a bacteria that was introduced during the Spanish-American war, presumably from exposure in the Philippines. This bacteria is a superbug that is spread from cows to humans via raw milk and undercooked meat, and it will wipe out a herd if not inoculated against it. It will also make you nasty sick and is hard to detect in rapid raw milk tests.
Now, the CV comment. Coronavirus is a generic term for a large family of viruses, not one unique strain in either humans and animals. The first strains of bovine coronavirus (BCoV), gastrointestinal and respiratory virus’, were also introduced around 1940. I assume from my experience they probably use something like ScourGuard, a common coronavirus inoculation for pregnant cows and heifers that was patented in 1999 to help prevent diarrhea in calves caused by bovine coronavirus, a bacteria that affects cattle. Prior to that there were other preventions on the market. Farmers don’t like to loose cows, so if it had been causing harm over the last decade they wouldn’t be using it, in fact it has quite the opposite effect by keeping more cows alive than herds without it.
Next I would like to briefly touch on comments made pressuring us to switch to another raw milk company. Like all of our producers, we research all of the options in our area, and Organic Pastures is doing dairy right. It would be impossible to meet the demands for raw milk on the scale which they deliver, without having an astute animal husbandry protocol. Beyond their practices of keeping fresh cows (which means cows in milk) on pasture all the time, they are the only raw dairy who has the practice of test-and-hold. This means there will almost never be a recall on their milk because their products are not released until their 48 hour test results come back declaring them contaminant free. Remember, there are a lot of steps from udder to your glass: hoses, bulk tanks, bottle lines, each an opportunity to induce foreign bacteria. The test-and-hold practice gives us the confidence to serve their non-gmo, grass-fed raw milk as our standard cafe option. Many of you suggested other raw milk producers, and one quick google search should tell you why we will never do business with them.
I hope this paints a clear picture of why we whole-heartedly believe Organic Pastures raw farm is the best raw milk in our region aside from milking your own cows. And on that note, should you decide to milk one or two cows on a small farm, without ever introducing an untested, unvaccinated cow into your herd- absolutely- milk those cows and skip inoculations. But that’s not a responsible or reasonable option for a real working farm.
Our experience based support goes for each of the items we choose to stock and serve in our kitchen, cafe and market. I am one of you. I spent years stubbornly growing our own meat and dairy for our own family because I believe it is the best. I also spend hours per week gathering food from various other farms, creating relationships with those who we do business with now. I saw that there was no way for most people to gather and produce food for their families the way that I did, and God opened many doors for The Barn and Pantry to continue to be an access point for our customers. We trust that each producer we work with shares the same heart for providing the best nutrition to you that we do, and trust me when I say, it is not the easy way of farming. But the reward is a healthier community, which makes it absolutely worth the work.
If you have further questions about animal husbantry at Organic Pastures, they have welcomed you to email their herd manager, your farmer, Aaron McAfee at Aaron.M@organicpastures.com