And in-depth look at raw milk through the story of farmer Michael Schmidt

Brittany Devanyi has written one of the most extensive articles on Michael Schmidt and raw milk that we’ve seen for a long time. It’s just been published in the quarterly journal Maisoneuve:

Happy bovines at Glencolton Farms. Photo by Brittany Devanyi.

AS I DRIVE down a muddy, narrow road, past acres of farmland guarded by overarching trees, everything looks like a carbon copy of itself. The six-digit numbers, glued to every mailbox, are different at each lot, but the same—in the way a barcode identifies a product, but doesn’t reveal anything about the commodity itself. I stop at number 393889. Pulling in, a sign, about the size of two Bristol boards, is nailed to a tree. It reads: “THIS LAND IS OUR LAND, BACK OFF GOVERNMENT,” in bold, capitalized red-and-black letters. I have arrived.

The farm is small and unassuming. I walk up to someone who looks like a younger version of the man I was hoping would greet me. He hops off a tractor, hands dirty, and says his father has left. A woman appears, fresh-faced with dark brown hair framing her jaw line. She says the man is visiting his doctor, to monitor his condition. As I am led to the kitchen, I pass the main hallway, where an assortment of plastic toys peppers the floor. Half an hour later, the roaring of a car engine resonates through the window. The stairs creak, steadily, as he enters the kitchen. He sports the same velvet button-up vest and tweed flat cap he wore two weeks prior, but this time, they fit him much more loosely. It’s as if his stomach has deflated. He carries an aura of weariness that wasn’t apparent before. His eyes are red and glossy, his face is gaunt, his skin sagging. A grin spreads across his slim face. “Are you hungry?” he asks in a thick German accent. “I’m going to bring you something.”

He disappears, and reemerges almost as suddenly, offering a slice of freshly baked cake—made with unpasteurized cream—and a glass of homemade apple cider. “I’m the baker in the house,” he says, in a way that might make one forget he’s been on a hunger strike for the past twenty-four days. He bakes constantly, sometimes for twelve hours at a time. “I didn’t start the hunger strike to stop it somewhere,” he says. “I stop when I see results.” Heading outside to the milk storage room, he holds up a two-litre bottle of raw milk, like one would raise a trophy after winning a big race….”

Read it all on Maisoneuve.

1 Comment

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One response to “And in-depth look at raw milk through the story of farmer Michael Schmidt

  1. caption on the photo says “happy milk cows …” the one by the fence is indeterminate, but I’ll give you 100 to 1 those other 2 animals are not of the female persuasion

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