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Where we stand on raw milk

Since the mid 1900s, almost all milk sold at retail outlets in the United States is required to be pasteurized. Although pasteurization and other milk handling regulations have virtually eliminated milk-borne pathogens and contaminants, they have also eliminated a great deal of milk’s flavor and nutritional value. As a result, there has been a resurgence of interest in raw milk in recent years as interest in commercially processed fluid milk has declined.

The raw-versus-pasteurized-milk debate can be a contentious one. What we at Bob-White Systems bring to it are more choices for both the farmer and the customer. Thanks to our gentle, small-scale, affordable on-farm pasteurizing technology -- and our entire collection of small-scale equipment that makes micro dairy farming more economically viable -- the decision is no longer a simple either/or between commercial milk and raw milk. We give micro dairy farmers the ability to offer their customers either raw or pasteurized farm fresh milk, which, in turn, gives their customers the ability to choose to buy either raw milk or pasteurized farm fresh milk.

To the raw milk producers who are skeptical of any type of milk processing, we’d like to take a moment to explain how our pasteurization process differs from the way the big dairies handle milk, because all processing is not the same.

When you buy a gallon of milk from the grocery store, it will have been clarified, separated, homogenized and standardized – as well as pasteurized under great pressures and at high speeds – between the farm and your table. By the time milk comes out the other end, it has been pumped, pressurized, and essentially “beat up” so much that most of the flavor and nutrients have been eliminated.

Pasteurization is just one part of that whole process, and is not in itself responsible for the flavor defects in commercial milk. The most common form of pasteurization, in-line High Temperature Short Time (HTST), quickly heats the milk up to 161 degrees and holds it at that temperature for 15 seconds – long enough to kill any known pathogens that may be present in the milk. That process will usually give commercial milk a shelf life of 14 days, depending on how clean it was when it was pasteurized.

This is the process – and the only process – that we utilize in the Bob-White System. And unlike commercial pasteurization, ours is a very simple and gentle Low Impact HTST inline farmstead pasteurization system, which pasteurizes the milk without the high pressures and high speeds that are used in a commercial system. As a result, our milk routinely enjoys a shelf life of 20 days or more while retaining its fresh and delicious flavor as well as its original cream content.

And the small scale of the Bob-White pasteurizer makes it affordable for farmsteaders who would like to supply their local communities with delicious farm-fresh milk, while at the same time being able to assure their neighbors that their milk is pasteurized.

To read more about our low-impact pasteurizer, click here.

We also recognize that many of our customers will choose to continue to offer raw milk, an effort that we also wholeheartedly support. Our goal is to empower micro dairy farmers with the tools and resources they need to make the choices they’re most comfortable with. If your choice is raw milk, we’re here to support you with our small-scale milking equipment and any consulting advice you may need to fine-tune your micro dairy operation.

Thanks for reading, and please feel free to contact us at any time to continue the conversation.

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