We are so lucky to live near a dairy. About 20 minutes away is Iwig Dairy. http://www.iloveiwig.com/index.html They have freestanding stores in both Lawrence and Topeka. They have the best tasting milk I've ever had. They use a low heat pasteurization process that leaves the flavor about as close to nature as you can get! The only thing better would be raw milk, that is milk as nature intended it- non homogenized and unpasteurized.
We have to drive to the farm to buy raw milk due to state laws regulating raw milk sales.
The benefits of raw milk are many. Some claim that the homogenization process (breaking up fat globules) makes them too easy for the body to absorb and store. Here is a good article explaining why this may not be a good thing: http://www.wellwise.org/blogs/kantha-shelke/homogenized-milk-better-or-worse-you
Raw milk can also help with asthma and allergies. The general idea is the same as those kids with pets have fewer cases of asthma and raw local honey can help reduce allergies. Here is a brief NPR article discussing such: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/06/12/154593662/to-sniff-out-childhood-allergies-researchers-head-to-the-farm
Some people, like my husband, need articles, research, and PROOF before they will believe some thing is better. Especially if you are displacing a mainstream concept or idea. I'm more of the 'feel good' type. Does it feel good to think about happy cows that get to graze on pasture? Does it feel good to drink milk from cows with names? Does it feel good to drink milk in its most natural state? Yes, yes, and yes.
Other people are more interested in how they can stand up to the big food industries. There is a lot of talk out there about how greedy these corporations are and how they just don't care about the quality of their products.
Here is a recent article about the National Mill Producers Federation trying to get the FDA to allow them to add artificial sweeteners (aspartame) to milk WITHOUT a label!!! http://health.yahoo.net/experts/dayinhealth/artificial-sweeteners-milk
To me, they are turning a real food product into a non food. Same goes with ultra pasteurized dairy products. Did you know that things that have been ultra pasteurized are shelf stable for 6-9 months? In Europe, the heavy cream and half and half are stored on dry shelves. Americans didn't like the idea of shelf stable dairy, so into the refrigerator it goes! Ever wonder how creamer packets for coffee can be safe if they have been sitting out all day? Ultra-pasteurization. To me, shelf stable milk is no longer a real food. Here is a wiki on the subject: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultra-high-temperature_processing
Another motivator for many people is taste. Raw milk is delicious! Iwig pasteurized milk is awesome. Local milk that is more traditionally pasteurized than Iwig is still good, but not the best. Organic store milk is tasteless. Regular store milk is not good. I really can taste a difference. I love drinking a glass of milk if it tastes good. But that watery store bought stuff just doesn't interest me. It is strange to notice, but when we have 'good' milk in the house, I drink more!
This stuff is important to me. I care about what I eat and what I feed my family. I want real food. Real food I. Can trust. Single ingredient foods are always the goal. The idea that a food could have an undisclosed ingredient scares me. Know your grower. Visit the dairy. See the cows.
Ok, so you get the idea. We like raw milk. Now what? Stay tuned for yogurt and butter making!