4/08/2013 04:52:00 PM
Ask the Austin Zagat Blog: Why Can't I Buy Raw Milk at the Farmers' Market?
That’s where the Austin Zagat blog comes in. Ask us anything your heart desires in the comments section below, and we'll give you our honest opinion.
This week a reader asked us, Why can’t I buy raw milk at the farmers’ market?
Raw milk is the new moonshine. According to the Texas Department of Health, it’s illegal to sell it in stores and at farmers’ markets, and even drop-off locations are questionable.
People love the farm-fresh milk for its health benefits (its enzymes are intact and it’s from 100% grass-fed animals), but there are other reasons to get milk too. As Judith McGeary, the founder of the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, says, “We automatically jump to the health benefits, but people seek it out because they want to buy from a local farmer. They want to support farmers who are raising animals in an environmentally sustainable way.”
So what’s the big deal about selling it at farmers’ markets? The laws state that farmers and ranchers can only sell the milk on the farm site. In February Miller Farms was busted for busing the beverage to drop-off points, where customers would pick up prepaid milk.
McGeary is working to alter state legislation to allow farmers to sell the milk, and the results from a recent hearing could change things considerably any day now.
But for the moment, if you want to drink the stuff in the raw, you’ll have to pick it up at farms outside the Austin city limits, like Dyer Dairy, in Georgetown; Stryk Jersey Farm, in Schulenberg; and Miller Farms, in LaCoste. Or, if you’re mainly interested in supporting local farmers, order low-temperature pasteurized milk from places like Farmhouse Delivery.
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