Sunday, September 19, 2010

Raw deal

Having now invested in a herd share of three cows I am following the raw milk debate with some interest. Mainly because I have zero trust in the government to get these things right. I have a parallel in my current industry where there was a big push on lysteria that would have made it almost economically impossible for a butcher to do their own smallgoods.

Now food standards and various state bodies claim that they are trying to protect the consumer. But regulations like this, that remove production from the small butcher and put it all in the hands of the big factory producers means that soon you will be having maybe five very similar hams and bacons in Australia. The ability of a butcher to be able to make their own ham or salami or kransky gives them a point of difference from the Coles and Woolies of the world. It gives our palates a testing point, to find out what we like in a food.

The thing is, the big producers mission statement would read like this, profit, profit, profit, taste. Our suppliers make cures and premixes that allow the big guys to make more money. Sliceable water was one of the phrases I heard at my last technical conference.

So when I see the big dairy producers in Oz telling me that raw milk is dangerous and that pasteurized cheese is just as good, I get the feeling that they are looking at their mission statement dreading the small producer that might force them to change to taste before profit.

-- Post From My iPhone

PS. One of the twitterati pointed out that if governments were that worried about raw cheese affecting our health, they might remove cigarettes from sale, something that is proven to kill more people than any food product available anywhere.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Lantanaland can be a lot like my cows. If I go away for a few days, or their feed drops off, I get rewarded with piddly little streams of milk. Green grass, some fruit waste from the fruit shop, a brush and de ticking and I get multiple litres of creamy goodness.

Likewise lantanaland seems to like a bit of attention. Following the big Feastin N Fencin weekend in July the cows have gone to work, eating and smashing and bashing their way through the tough long grass. I thought that that paddock might last them a bit longer, but in the last month in has become apparent that while there looked like there was enough to feed them for the rest of the year, there wasn't that much edible food.

This time I planned ahead. In front of the house would be the next paddock, using one of the fence lines from the existing paddock then winding its way up the boundary to finish right in front of the spa. I'd planted some pasture improvement and started it off with the grey water and I had a nice patch of lush green carpet for the cows to start on.

What I really needed was a few helping hands. The fencing weekend taught me how much easier it is to get a fence built with even just one more set of hands, so I put the call out. Not to too many people, I'm always a bit worried about abusing peoples goodwill and it was about a days work for two or three of us.

Helping hands from mates really are the lifeblood of this place. I can toil away as much as I try, but the affect just having a few helpers can have is simply amazing. By lunchtime Simon and I had carved out the path with a big petrol hedge trimmer and bashed in all the poles. Do you realize HO little you use those muscles in your forearms? A beer and cob loaf with bacon, corn, herbs and five types of dairy went down extremely well.

In the afternoon Ryano and The Wife joined in and we had the fence lines strung and clipped, a new gateway put in and the energizer turned on and tested. Laf just about bowled me over when she saw the gap to that lush new grass and she must have enjoyed it because we got 3L of milk this morning, which is good even for a weekend.

As we sat in the spa enjoying an icy beer I reflected on how long that would have taken me. A month certainly and the hedge trimmer hire would have not been used as well, you can't really tell the bits you've missed until the fence is up. I then reflected that I'd left the bloody gate open and the cow was coming up the hill and if I didn't move quick smart there might be one more in the spa.

So thanks to everyone who's ever put even a minute in here helping at Lantanaland. I couldn't even contemplate this grand adventure without you.

- MF from my iPad

Location:Needham Rd,Luscombe,Australia