“SANTA CRUZ – Boulder Creek resident Annette Mello, who had sworn off milk, tipped a cup of fresh, warm goat’s milk to her lips and took a drink.
Mello was part of a small group of people who gathered across from the downtown Santa Cruz Farmer’s Market Wednesday for an act of civil disobedience: drinking raw milk from an unlicensed Bonny Doon dairy. Five of the county’s estimated 20 dairy collectives, or “herd shares,” gathered to protest a series of cease-and-desist letters sent by state regulators to similar farms across the state.
And despite Mello’s aversion to cow’s milk, she liked it.
“In fact, I would buy a share based on what I tasted,” Mello said.
Mello said she had no qualms about imbibing a product the state says is dangerous, feeling most food safety scares are the result of processing that takes place in the agricultural industry.
California’s Department of Food and Agriculture sees it differently, saying state laws overseeing dairy farms are in place to protect the public health. But small herd share operators say obtaining a state license is costly and unnecessary, and the crackdown – which includes a raid on a Southern California herd share and raw food market – are a waste of taxpayer resources that interferes with people’s ability to make choices about which foods they eat….”