4/08/2013 04:52:00 PM

Ask the Austin Zagat Blog: Why Can't I Buy Raw Milk at the Farmers' Market?

Eating out in our fair city raises all sorts of burning questions. Is it okay to take a date to a food trailer? Yay or nay on cargo shorts at Uchiko? Then there are the more general questions we’ve always wondered but been too afraid to ask. Are you allowed to eat garnish? Who pays for that extra appetizer? 

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.

Have a restaurant query you need answered? Ask us below in the comments section.

7 comments :

  1. You can't buy raw milk because it is a threat to factory dairies so they look for an excuse to make it illegal, no matter how lame the excuse is.

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  2. No such thing as low temperature pasteurization. Pasteurization is pasteurization be it HTST or Milk heated to 150 degrees held for 30 min. The destruction of good and bad bacteria occurs using both methods. There is no half and half.

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    1. And don't forget the destruction of the enzymes. And of course, least we forget, milk that should be pasteurized is milk that comes from cows that have been treated like Ess Ache Eye Tee, so their milk is of poor nutritional quality plus we have a really huge ethical problem.

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  3. You can't buy raw milk at farmers' markets because it is inherently dangerous. There are NO credible scientific studies that show raw milk is at all better for you than pasteurized milk. Raw milk sickened at least 3,000 people last year, and at least six children lost the use of their kidneys and suffered STROKES because they drank raw milk. States that have legalized the sales of raw milk have much higher rates of food poisoning caused by that crap.

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    1. Studies showing that raw milk is inherently superior may not be credible to you. But they are credible to us, and we insist upon our right to drink said raw milk. When they come for your freedoms, will you be able to say to your conscience that you stood up for other people's freedoms.

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  4. You can get low temp pasteurized milk at local farmers markets from Mill-King (cow) and Swede Farm (goat).

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  5. What does it matter if it is dangerous to your health? If I want to consume it, let me frickin consume it! Why don't we ban cigarettes then? They are shown to be a hundred-fold more harmful not only to the smoker but to others around him/her! This is another example of government teaming up with corporations to try and protect the profits of the elite. They do the same thing with meat, pharmaceutical drugs, and banking. I'm glad people are at least waking up and starting to demand their rights back!

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