Pasture-Fed Basics: What makes Pasture-Based Raw Milk Exceptional?
(not all raw milk is created equal!)

IT IS NUTRITIONALLY DENSE: "[A] cow raised on pasture produces far less milk than a cow raised in a confinement dairy on a grain-based diet. This is a bane for the farmer but a blessing for the consumer. The less milk a cow produces, the more vitamins in her milk. This is because a cow has a set amount of vitamins to transfer to her milk, and if she's bred, fed, and injected to be a Super Producer, her milk has fewer vitamins per glass. It's a watered down version of the real thing."

IT IS HIGH IN OMEGA 3s and CLA: "CLA, or "conjugated linoleic acid," is a type of fat that may prove to be one of our most potent cancer fighters. Milk from a pastured cow has up to five times more CLA than milk from a grain-fed cow." "There are two families of EFAs—omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Studies suggest that if you [consume enough omega 3 fatty acics], you will have a lower risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disorders, allergies, obesity, diabetes, dementia, and various other mental disorders.[2]"

IT IS A TRULY NATURAL, NEARLY PERFECT FOOD: Raw, pasture-based milk is a natrual phenomena because through the magnificent cow, a non-human food source (grass) is transformed into one of nature's super foods. What besides milk can sustain the babies of all mammal species as a sole food source, and contains the perfect balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats? Raw milk also contains a host of vitamins and minerals along with the enzymes needed to assimilate these vital nutrients.

(quotes above are excerpts from the full article below)

What is Pure Food Co-op LLC?

We are a co-op that consists of small-scale local food producers that produce wholesome, healthy, local food and are supported by like-minded comsumer members that care about where their food comes from and how it is produced. When you join our co-op, you are supporting a food system that doesn't rely on grocery stores or anything close to factory farming; you are supporting families who take the time to produce food in a better way. Pure Food Co-op producers make real food available. We believe in high quality, nutritionally dense food, grown locally through natural and humane treatment of animals and sustainable food production practices. Our animals eat grass and live in the great outdoors, never in confinement where dangerous bacteria are bred and food quality is compromised; we are proud that all our dairy, eggs, and meat products are pasture-based. Our cattle roam pastures, feed on fresh grass or grass hay in winter, our chickens have room to roam and scratch. The food these animals produce is nutritionally superior and satisfying.

We offer products for pickup or delivery, to make your access to this food easy and worthwhile. Our goal is to keep prices reasonable for both consumers and producers and make this wonderful food available in this area from small, sustainable operations like ours! If you want to purchase products from or produce food for Pure Food Co-op, simply apply for a membership.

By Jo Robinson
(article courtesy of

Most cartons of milk in the supermarket show a picture of cows contentedly grazing on grass. In reality, 85 to 95 percent of the cows in the United States are now being raised in confinement, not on pasture. ...

The reason for confining cows in feedlots and feeding them grain rather than grass is that they produce far more milk under these unnatural conditions. If you also inject them with bi-weekly hormones, standard practice in the dairy industry, they produce even more. Milk them three times a day instead of two and you have the tried and true formula for today’s Super Producers. On average, cows raised in confinement produce more than three times as much milk as the family cow of days gone by and 15 times the amount required to raise a healthy calf.

But with so much emphasis on quantity, the nutritional content of our milk has suffered. One of the biggest losses has been in its CLA content. CLA, or "conjugated linoleic acid," is a type of fat that may prove to be one of our most potent cancer fighters. Milk from a pastured cow has up to five times more CLA than milk from a grain-fed cow. To date, most of the proof of the health benefits of CLA has come from test tube or animal studies. But a few human studies have produced encouraging results. For example, French researchers compared CLA levels in the breast tissues of 360 women. The women with the most CLA in their tissue (and thus the most CLA in their diets) had a 74 percent lower risk of breast cancer than the women with the least CLA [1]. If an American woman were to switch from grain-fed to grass-fed dairy products, she would have CLA levels similar to the women in the study who had the lowest rate of cancer.

Milk from pastured cows also contains an ideal ratio of essential fatty acids or EFAs. There are two families of EFAs—omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Studies suggest that if your diet contains roughly equal amounts of these two fats, you will have a lower risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disorders, allergies, obesity, diabetes, dementia, and various other mental disorders.[2]

Take a few moments to study the chart below showing EFA levels in milk from cows fed varying amounts of grass and grain.[3] The green bars represent omega-3 fatty acids, and the yellow bars represent omega-6 fatty acids. As you can see, when a cow is raised on pasture (represented by the two bars on the far left), her milk has an ideal, one-to-one ratio of EFAs.

Take away one-third of the grass and replace it with grain or other supplements (represented by the two bars in the middle) and the omega-3 content of the milk goes down while the omega-6 content goes up, upsetting an essential balance.

Replace two-thirds of the pasture with a grain-based diet (illustrated by the two bars on the far right) and the milk has a very top-heavy ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. This ratio has been linked with an increased risk of a wide variety of conditions, including obesity, diabetes, depression, and cancer. Much of the milk you buy in the supermarket has an even more lopsided ratio than this because the cows never graze on pasture.

Milk from pastured cows offers additional health benefits. (I'm beginning to sound like a TV infomercial: "But wait! There's more!") Besides giving you five times more CLA and an ideal balance of EFAs, grass-fed milk is higher in beta-carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin E. This vitamin bonus comes, in part, from the fact that fresh pasture has more of these nutrients than grain or hay. (When grass is dried and turned into hay, it loses a significant amount of its vitamin content.) These extra helpings of vitamins are then transferred to the cow's milk." ...

Jo Robinson is a New York Times bestselling writer. She is the author or coauthor of 11 nationally published books including Pasture Perfect, a comprehensive overview of the benefits of choosing products from pasture-raised animals, and The Omega Diet (with Dr. Artemis Simopoulos) the healthiest diet of all Mediterranean diets . To order Jo’s books or learn more about grass-fed products, visit


What our members are saying about our products and services:

"You guys are awesome! Did I tell you my daughter had a cavity heal since I got her back on raw milk? Yay!!! I feel so lucky to be a part of your co-op."
- Amy, Boise

"The quality of your products is so much better than anything else out there. I can't imagine not having your cream for my fruit and butter to add to my meals, let alone the cheese (especially the cream cheese).

"Thank you for all that you do for all of us. You work so hard at bringing us the very best products. I am especially excited about the grass fed beef."
- Susan, Boise

"I am grateful for your excellent customer service... You have been most understanding and willing to go out of your way... I want very much to support what you are doing and to see you succeed and your business thrive. You are making this world a healthier place and I am glad to be a part of that in some little way."
- Laurie, Boise

"We love your raw milk. My daughter wouldn't order milk at a restaurant the other day because it was normal milk."
- Lorna, Meridian

"When I got my recent blood test my bad cholesterol was down and my good cholesterol up. The doctor was surprised and told me to keep doing whatever it is I'm doing. The only thing I can think of that has been different is your great products!"

" My granddaughter loves the milk and I do also. I love the butter and the cream cheese!"

"Thanks so much for all your products... Keep up the good work!!"

- Connie, Meridian

"I love your raw milk, and so does my lactose-intolerant sister! She can drink as much as she wants with no problem, unlike the pasteurized products! Also unlike the pasteurized products, the raw milk doesn't leave your mouth feeling sticky or phlegmy! I'll never go back!

" I was starting to notice that I was getting stomach aches after eating regular yogurt, and the raw milk yogurt doesn't bother my stomach at all!"

"I know that eggs in the store have often traveled over a long distance, and sat on the shelf for a long time. I also know that many large farms cheat the requirements to be "free-range". So I am so glad to find a local, fresh, and trustworthy source for my eggs (and dairy)!"

-Tracey, Boise

"The yogurt was awesome for breakfast this morning!"
- Pam, Boise

"We really love the round glass jars... the milk in the jars smells like it was just poured from the milking pail! And so much easier to skim a little cream. You are providing a wonderful much-needed service and we are very grateful."
- Kim, Boise

"Thanks for everything, the cheeses are DELISH!!! The eggs are great! I really appreciate all that you do."
- Christina, Nampa

" I am glad that you are continuing to expand your capabilities and products you offer!"
- Brad, Meridian

" I have tried other grass-fed beef but was not wild about the processing--seems there was always a lot of gristle and/or bone chips. But this was so much better. Plus the flavor was great."
- Margaret, Meridian

"Thanks so much for the wonderful dairy products! The cream and yogurt are amazing! Not sure if it's the anti-bodies or what, but I'm the only one at work who isn't sick."
- Lauren, Boise

"I love your products. Thanks so much."
- Rosetta, Boise




Picture: Our cows turning the green grass into
healthy, raw milk! To read more about our producers,
visit our Producers page.

What's the big deal with
Raw Milk?

There is a lot of controversy regarding the benefits of raw milk, as well as the safety of drinking it. You can visit our Raw Milk Information Page for some resources to learn more. Many federal organizations openly warn against consuming the product and claim that there are neglible nutritional differences. Unfortantely, comparing the "nutritional label" of raw vs. pasteurized milk doesn't adequately compare the two products, because regardless of whether fortified, pasteurized milk and raw unprocessed milk contain the same amount of calcium, for example, there are many more considerations. We all know that "cooking" any food dramtically changes that food. Here is a short list of some components of milk changed by the process of pasteurization:*


Vitamin C: Raw milk but not pasteurized can resolve scurvy. “. . . Without doubt. . . the explosive increase in infantile scurvy during the latter part of the 19th century coincided with the advent of use of heated milks. . .” (Rajakumar, Pediatrics. 2001;108(4):E76).

Calcium: Longer and denser bones on raw milk (Studies from Randleigh Farms).

Folate: Carrier protein inactivated during pasteurization. (Gregory. J. Nutr. 1982, 1329-1338).

Vitamin B12: Binding protein inactivated by pasteurization.

Vitamin B6: Animal studies indicate B6 poorly absorbed from pasteurized milk (Studies from Randleigh Farms).

Vitamin A: Beta-lactoglobulin, a heat-sensitive protein in milk, increases intestinal absorption of vitamin A. Heat degrades vitamin A. Said and others (Am J Clin Nutr. 1989;49:690-694. Runge and Heger. J Agric Food Chem. 2000 Jan;48(1):47-55).

Vitamin D: Present in milk in protein-bound form, assimilation possibly affected by pasteurization. Hollis and others ( J Nutr. 1981;111:1240-1248).

Iron: Lactoferrin, which contributes to iron assimilation, destroyed during pasteurization.

Iodine: Lower in pasteurized milk. Wheeler and others (J Dairy Sci. 1983;66(2):187-95).

Minerals: Lactobacilli, destroyed by pasteurization, enhance mineral absorption (MacDonald and others. 1985).

Health Benefits of Raw Milk:

ASTHMA: Three recent studies in Europe found that drinking “farm” (raw) milk protected against asthma and allergies (Lancet. 2001 Oct 6;358(9288):1129-33; J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2006 Jun;117(6):1374-8; Clinical & Experimental Allergy. 2007 May; 35(5) 627-630).

RAW HUMAN MILK: In recent studies, infants on pasteurized human milk did not gain weight as quickly compared to those fed raw human milk (J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 1986 Mar-Apr;5(2):248-53) and premature babies given raw human milk had more rapid weight gain than those given pasteurized human milk. Problems were attributed to pasteurization's destruction of lipase (J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 1986 Mar-Apr;5(2):242-7).

THE MILK CURE: In the early 1900s, the Mayo Clinic administered the “Milk Cure,” which consisted in drinking 4-5 quarts of raw milk per day, obtaining favorable results for a range of illnesses including cancer, weight loss, kidney disease, allergies, skin problems, urinary tract problems, prostate problems and chronic fatigue; these results are not obtained using pasteurized milk.

DANGERS OF PASTEURIZED MILK: Many studies have linked consumption of pasteurized milk with lactose intolerance, allergies, asthma, frequent ear infections, gastro-Intestinal problems, diabetes, auto-Immune disease, attention deficit disorder and constipation. During a period of rapid population growth, the market for fluid pasteurized milk has declined at 1% per year for the past 20 years. Fewer and fewer consumers can tolerate pasteurized (and ultrapasteurized) milk (Don’t Drink Your Milk, Frank Oski, MD, 1983).

LACTOSE INTOLERANCE: In a survey of raw milk drinkers in the state of Michigan, over 80 percent of those advised by a healthcare professional that they were lactose intolerant were able to consume raw milk without problem. (LactoseIntoleranceSurvey.doc).

POSITIVE TESTIMONIALS: Hundreds of testimonials involving reversal of failure to thrive in infants; allergies, asthma and behavior problems in children; and digestive disorders, arthritis, osteoporosis and even cancer in adults (Testimonials, MI-RawMilkHealthTestimonials.pdf).


Raw milk contains numerous components that assist in:

* Killing pathogens in the milk (lactoperoxidase, lactoferrin, leukocytes, macrophages, neutrophils, antibodies, medium chain fatty acids, lysozyme, B12 binding protein, bifidus factor, beneficial bacteria);
* Preventing pathogen absorption across the intestinal wall (polysaccharides, oligosaccharides, mucins, fibronectin, glycomacropeptides, bifidus factor, beneficial bacteria);
* Strengthening the Immune System (lymphocytes, immunoglobulins, antibodies, hormones and growth factors) (Scientific American, December 1995; British J of Nutrition, 2000:84(Suppl. 1):S3-S10, S75-S80, S81-S89).

USDA/FDA STATISTICS: Based on data in a 2003 USDA/FDA report: Compared to raw milk there are 515 times more illnesses from L-mono due to deli meats and 29 times more illness from L-mono due to pasteurized milk. On a PER-SERVING BASIS, deli meats were TEN times more likely than raw milk to cause illness (Intrepretive Summary – Listeria Monocytogenes Risk Assessment, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Sept. 2003, page 17).

OUTBREAKS DUE TO PASTEURIZED MILK: Due to high-volume distribution and its comparative lack of anti-microbial components, pasteurized milk when contaminated has caused numerous widespread and serious outbreaks of illness, including a 1984-5 outbreak afflicting almost 200,000 people. In 2007, three people died in Massachusetts from illness caused by contaminated pasteurized milk (Real Milk PowerPoint, slide 30).

READ MORE from the Weston A. Price Foundation

Home Products Delivery Info Producers Contact Us

Copyright © 2010 Sara Sweet