Buying Clubs Sour Massachusetts Raw Milk

BOSTON, Mass. — When the Boston Globe prints an editorial “State shouldn’t be cowed by raw-milk aficionados” (22 May, 2010) it is evident that public interest in raw milk is on the rise and raw milk regulations have soured.

Over the past several decades, the numbers of dairy farms in Massachusetts have tumbled from over a thousand to just over a hundred. Today the interest in “real milk” or raw milk has been a lifeline for nearly a third of the remaining farms. Also, the local food movement with emphasis on organic grass-fed animals has stimulated the sales of raw milk. Raw milk at the farm fetches $6 to $9 per gallon. Scott Soares, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) said “raw milk sales are up 170 percent over the past four years.”

At some point there was tacit agreement between the dairy farmers and MDAR that raw milk sales would take place only at the farm. Over time, as sales increased and green mores developed, raw milk customers carpooled to the dairy farms for the raw milk prize. Then neighbors and friends picked up raw milk for each other. More recently “buying clubs” developed to ease the burden of driving to the farm for raw milk.

To read the rest of this story please go to: Lancaster Farming