We are lucky enough to live down the road from an organic dairy and we started ordering milk from them a couple of years ago when we moved house. I love the fact that the milkman/lady comes and we receive milk in recycled glass bottles, as was the norm when I was a child. I also enjoy the fact that we can support a local business and benefit from milk produced less than 10 miles away.
When it comes to money this is not the cheap option. Our milk costs 54p a pint as opposed to 25p a pint from Tesco. We currently get through 9 pints a week (£4.86). Whilst we are not made of money, I consider it a small way that we can buy better, know that the farm is getting a fair price and be assured of higher animal welfare standards.
When I began this blog a started to look at their other products and we now have a block of their butter delivered once a week too (wrapped in brown paper – another plastic tub gone from the fridge!) and I’m using their milk to make my own yoghurt, so I’ve reduced the packaging waste there from one large tub and eight small tubs a week yo just one small 150ml tub of natural yoghurt a month. You need to use a small amount of yoghurt as a starter culture. You can use a bit of yoghurt left over from your previous batch, but to be safe I like to go from scratch with a fresh starter once a month.
You don’t need a yoghurt maker to make yoghurt at home – you can make it in a thermos flask (Instructions here). I’ve been using my yoghurt to make over night oats or flavouring it with tinned fruit as a pudding. It’s also been a good way to get through the huge amount of blackcurrent jam we made last summer after an over enthusiastic trip to our nearest Pick Your Own.
We have also given raw milk a try. Raw milk is not pasturised and can only be sold at the farm gate. Whilst there is a small increase in harmful bacteria; many people believe it tastes better and can have some health benefits. We get ours from Atley Hill farm near Scorton and it costs £1 a litre. . One downside is it will not keep as long as pasturised milk and is also not homogenized so the cream does separate to the top.
I have also considered milk alternatives and on this topic I will admit I haven’t entirely made up my mind. I have lots of friends who follow a vegan diet and avoidance of suffering is the main push behind my choice not to eat meat. But equally, the production, packaging and airmiles of products like almond milk do not make for a perfect solution either. My compromise is to resolve to research options to reduce our reliance on dairy, even if we can’t cut it out completely. I eat a lot of cheap supermarket cheese for lunch and alternatives for this will be my first starting point (you may have spotted the chick peas soaking in the background of one of the photos!).