Monday, January 17, 2011

The Cow Down the Road

A short walk from our home, in the parking lot of the boulangerie and traiteur, is a big green milk machine. It's filled frequently with unpasteurized, untreated cow's milk from a local farm. It's quite an advanced system: the milk is stirred in it's chilled holding container to guarantee even fat distribution. The temperature is digitally displayed on the outside. It sells glass and plastic bottles. You can buy either 500 mls or 1 liter of milk, for 0,50 euro or 1 euro, respectively. When you are ready to fill your bottle, you place it in a drawer with a glass door that locks when in use. The bottle gets filled, the door unlocks, then the drawer is washed down with a javex solution before another bottle can be filled.

The green machine displays pictures of the cows that provide the milk, and descriptions of the novel collection process: the cows themselves decide when they want to be milked. Apparently, when they feel like being relieved of milk, the cow walks over to an automatic milker, stands in the stall while the machine does its thing, then walks away when finished.

We have only recently started buying milk from the machine, usually on weekends when we feel like a treat. It's safe to drink for 24 hours from the time of purchase, or several days if boiled. It's creamy, tasty, and likely filled with lots of good things that are removed by the pasteurization and homogenization processes.

The sale of unpasteurized milk is very illegal in Canada, so it's interesting that we can simply walk down the street and fill our bottles. It seems to be quite popular, as there is usually someone buying milk when we are there. In fact, over the holidays we were denied a bottle of the good stuff as the lady in front of us drained the machine dry with her four bottles.

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