Sunday, June 15, 2008

From Kurtwood cow to me

Nothing beats the taste and nutritional value of raw milk:  fresh, not cooked unpasteurized, from cows grazing on real pasture -- the kind I drank as a kid, the kind your ancestors drank for thousands of years.  While visiting Vashon Island this weekend, we finally had the chance to stop at Kurtwood Farms, to see real cows and drink real milk.

Kurtwood farm cow

Kurt Timmermeister was kind enough to show us the pasture, let us touch the cows, and of course buy some of the fresh, clean milk, which he hand-pours into bottles each day -- about 15 gallons worth, from four cows -- a herd he has been raising for the past few years on a small farm in the middle of the island, right there with pigs, sheep, and a field of corn.

Kurt Timmermeister pours milk

He is obsessed with quality and cleanliness. He follows all the regulations, of course, but talking with him I got the sense that he is a meticulous guy anyway, doing this for fun and for the thrill of making a high-quality product.

If you think good food only comes from Whole Foods or gourmet restaurants, there's nothing like a visit to a farm to help you understand what your ancestors knew, that real food comes from sun, water, air, and lots of labor.  I am extremely grateful for the wonderful variety and low costs possible by specialization and industrial scale agriculture and food processing -- that's why I'm not a locavore -- but I think everyone should spend the extra money and indulge now and then in the really good stuff.



Anonymous said...

Our ancestors would have sprung at the idea of pasteurization as clean water/foods were a constant scourge.

Very cool farm. How does the taste compare?

Richard Sprague said...

You're right -- Pasteurization is a wonderful thing for allowing mass-produced milk. But if you care about taste and nutrition -- and of course you're careful about who supplies you -- raw milk is the best.

I couldn't tell any difference in the taste between Kurtwood and my regular raw milk supplier (Dungeness Farm)