“I had my first sip of raw milk last summer. It was sweet, rich and tasted surprisingly good.
I drank the pure milk, straight from the glass jars it had been pumped into a few hours earlier without any further processing or pasteurization. The goat milk came from a farm outside of Boston run by a caring woman, Jeanette, who feeds her animals organic carrots and allows them sunshine, fresh air and movement.
Supporters of raw milk argue that its benefits include essential bacteria and enzymes that aid in digestion and immune support that are lost during pasteurization. It’s popularity has been growing rapidly in recent years and has slowly started to reach the kosher market.
For those who keep Chalav Yisroel — the strictest standard of kosher milk that requires constant scrutiny from when the cow is milked until the product is bottled — raw milk is particularly difficult to attain, so there was some excitement when ad began circulating Brooklyn Orthodox neighborhoods a few months ago for raw cow’s milk under the name “Shmeel’s Milk.”
“Most milk is pasteurized, killing good bacteria and vitamins, contains artificial preservatives to make it last longer…[and] comes from cows confined in pens with cement,” the flyer reads. “Shmeel’s Milk is raw and unpasteurized, containing good bacteria and vitamins…lasts four times longer than most milk [and] comes from cows that are fed grass,” it continues.
The flyer then claimed to adhere to strictest religious standards, employing “mashgichim,” those in charge of ensuring kosher standards, “who daven (pray) …and go to mikvah (ritual bath) every day.”
I spoke with one of the distributors, who would only give his first name, Shaya. He helped start the company last year and says, “It tastes unbelievable, almost like ice cream. It looks different, it smells different.”