“PANOCHE VALLEY, Calif.—On a stretch of California grassland, workers milk 70 Jersey cows and bottle several hundred gallons of milk into quart glass bottles topped with bright yellow caps — without heating the milk to pasteurize it.
Claravale Farm, two hours west of Fresno, has been producing milk with minimal interference between the udder and the customer for about 80 years. It’s one of two licensed raw milk dairies in California, which allows the retail sale of milk that has not been heated to 161 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds.
But even as consumers inspired by the local food movement line up at farmers markets and specialty stores to buy raw milk, pressure on the producers has intensified in California and elsewhere around the country. Continue reading