Even in the winter evenings, one of the delights of living here is the ease at which you can get your dairy straight from the farm.
The farm I go to isn’t bio, but it follows the old style of farming, where the cows spend most of the time out in the fields eating grass, they aren’t forced to produce quantities of milk and aren’t given antibiotics as par for the course, only when they are ill and need them.
The products one gets straight from the farm is so different to any bought in the shop. The milk has a far creamier taste, the butter tastes more pure and the cream is divine. I can also take my own glass bottles to be filled with milk, which limits use of plastics and the resultant rubbish.
I suspect part of what I perceive as a better taste may also come from collecting it myself direct from the farm. A short drive along a windy road in the countryside to a farm which, as one would expect, is surrounded by fields, with cows in the fields eating grass. As the evenings draw in, as you walk to the milking shed, there is often a light mist hovering over the grass with the sun setting behind the trees. The scent of hay and earth greets you at the entrance. I expect some cowpat must be mixed in to the scent too, but it’s certainly not enough to be fully aware of and certainly not to make you baulk.
It’s the only shopping trip I enjoy.
The milk and crème are stated to be ‘cru’, and everyone in the area knows this farm to produce ‘cru’ products, but I will have to clarify that with the owner herself. I would particularly like to have raw products, but one of the men there told me that they are unpasteurised but by law they still have to have some treatment, which it is at a lower temperature and for less time than pasteurisation.
Where we were before, I could get lait cru from the market and initially I had trouble finding it here, so it was a relief to find this source only a couple of minutes’ drive away. I can’t find anything official online about raw milk needing some treatment, so I’m not sure what that means about the product I’m buying.
I had previously looked up the difference between crème fraîche and crème crue. The official French dairy line is that crème fraîche means that the cream must be pasteurised as well as matured, with or without lactic ferments.
However, away from a supermarket shelf, ‘crème fraîche’ can mean simply fresh cream – which is what my local farmer takes as the meaning.
The fresh ‘raw’ cream that I get from her is initially runny and then firms up in the fridge as it gets older. It can also take on a very mildly tangy taste as it ages, similar to a branded crème fraîche but not as pronounced.
My fridge is quite cold so the dairy products keep well in it, not the couple of days some people claim for raw dairy, but in any case the cream tends to get eaten far swifter than it has time to ferment, but I do love that tangy taste too.
In the last area we lived in, runny raw cream was never available, it was sold far firmer than the current farmer’s cream ever gets and did go off fairly quickly. Maybe it’s a local preference as two different farmers there sold it in the same state.
My, now, local farm will soon have a licence to sell meat as well, which they’ll be doing with a neighbouring farmer who has the same rearing values as they do. Can’t wait to try it and decrease my shopping time elsewhere.