There is very little that beats the taste of farm fresh, unpasteurized milk. Creamy and delicious, raw milk is packed with nutrients that nourish the body. Despite unfounded fears, raw milk is safe to drink when properly processed. It is anti-microbial by design and naturally contains nutritive components that kill pathogens. Those same components can help to strengthen the immune system, promote nutrient assimilation in the body, and encourage healthy gut flora.
All that said, finding raw milk in Ohio is not always easy. Direct to consumer raw milk sales are illegal in the state of Ohio, and the Department of Agriculture has been historically stringent in preventing the sale of raw milk. So, finding a location that will make a straight sale can be difficult. When a location is available for raw milk sales, often times an "agent fee" is added into the cost. However, there is a light at the end of this tunnel in the form of herdshares.
Herdshares are private agreements between the raw milk buyer, the dairy herd owners, and the managing farmers. A person purchases a number of dairy herdshares then signs a boarding contract for a portion of the herd to be cared for and maintained. The person is then allowed to receive a corresponding amount of the herd's raw milk. An example would be buying into a herdshare at an upfront deposit of $50, and a monthly cost of $24. For that monthly herd maintenance and boarding fee of $24, the person is entitled to a gallon of milk per week.
There are a number of farms that will accept new herdshare contracts, many of which are just a few miles from Dayton. The Ohio Raw Milk website and RealMilk.com both offer information about how to locate a nearby raw milk supplier. When buying raw milk, it is important to get milk that is produced in sanitary conditions from cows that are healthy and free of TB, undulant fever, and infections. It is also important that the cows are eating a healthy diet that consists primarily of grass, hay, or silage.
Most importantly, take some time to visit the farm, meet the cows in person, talk to the herd owners, and do plenty of research before signing a contract. In no time at all, a bottle of refreshingly real milk will be waiting in the refrigerator.