I knew I was ready, but I was trepidatious.
“Be Careful!” my mother warned me.
I anticipated and fantasized about what it would feel like.
I waited; I wanted it to be right.
And then I did it.
It was a sensual pleasure that Skim Plus could never match.
Raw milk is a transgressive liquid. The media coverage of the June police raid of Rawsome Foods in Venice, California intensified the raw milk debate that has grown over the last several years (see David Gumpert’s book The Raw Milk Revolution). But although I spent my pregnancy scrupulously avoiding raw milk, I never did encounter it. In fact, retail sale of raw milk is illegal in most states in this country. But not in my new state of Connecticut. And so I was intrigued by a recent article in the New Haven Advocate that extolled raw milk from Deerfield Farm in Durham, CT- located just minutes from where I live. I will openly admit that my desire to taste the milk was not political. This was an epicurean act of pleasure. An endeavor of the senses.
Deerfield Farm is set amidst bucolic hills and picturesque grassy fields; Jersey cows roam contentedly. In addition to the raw milk for which they are best known, Deerfield’s forty Jersey cows produce a variety of dairy products including cheese, yogurt and gelato – made with pasteurized milk.
When I arrived, I was immediately greeted by enthusiastic girls from the local 4-H Club. They introduced me to their cows and proudly showed me around the immaculate farm. Deerfield owner Melynda Naples later told me that her interest in farming was also inspired by her childhood participation in the local 4-H.
The farm store was small and self-serve. Behind the glass door of the refrigerator sat the coveted liquid- the half gallon containers of raw milk. I took the charming photo below believing that the handwritten names indicated the cows that produced the milk, but Melynda later explained to me that the names in fact indicate customers who have reserved milk. I accidentally stole Florence’s milk…..
Once home, I carefully placed the milk in my refrigerator. I postponed its consumption, feeling instinctively that drinking it was a ritual that needed to take place in the morning, with a clean fresh palate. And although my research had convinced me that drinking it was safe, I started to get butterflies in my stomach. I was a little nervous. A little excited. I drank it.
The milk was delicious, luscious. Full of deep, sweet flavor. If taste can have a flavor I will describe it as “golden.” No heaviness of any kind, nothing like cream. Light, delicate and resonant.
If you are a gourmet at heart, or even just a little bit raw milk-curious, try to find some fresh, legal raw milk to taste. You’ll never forget your first time. I know I won’t.