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'Milk Cow Blues': Enthusiasts Seek the Raw Stuff

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'Milk Cow Blues': Enthusiasts Seek the Raw Stuff

'Milk Cow Blues': Enthusiasts Seek the Raw Stuff

'Milk Cow Blues': Enthusiasts Seek the Raw Stuff

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/4230005/4232771" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Tucked away in the vanishing farm country on the outskirts of ever-spreading Indianapolis, the Apple family and their neighbors have created a kind of fellowship of milking. The Kitchen Sisters tell the story of the Apples' efforts to bring raw milk to their community.

Debbie and Mark Apple, pictured with one of their milk cows. Sandra Wong Geroux hide caption

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Sandra Wong Geroux

The Case Against Raw Milk

Public health officials say that drinking raw milk is dangerous. Disease outbreaks associated with unpasteurized milk happen every year. General information from the FDA on raw milk and the details on two such outbreaks of intestinal illnesses from the CDC can be found by following the links below:

The Case for All Natural

Enthusiasts of raw milk and organically grown foods explain their views:

Indiana dairy farmer Alan Yegerlehner calls for people to think long-term and holistically about their food.

Only Available in Archive Formats.

Yegerlehner discusses the benefits of drinking unpasteurized milk.

Only Available in Archive Formats.

Physician-turned-organic farmer Peter Kunz thinks of his new work as preventative medicine.

Only Available in Archive Formats.

'Milk Cow Blues'

* Used by permission of Arhoolie Records.

Hear an early version of the song, performed by the Maddox Brothers & Rose and produced by Arhoolie Records.

Only Available in Archive Formats.

'Hidden Kitchens' Hotline

Hear related calls we received from listeners:

Therese Rubino sings about her milk home-delivery business.

Only Available in Archive Formats.

The owner of the East Concord General Store in New York praises the products of a local dairy farmer.

Only Available in Archive Formats.

Story Notes

The only way to obtain fresh milk in Indiana is to own a cow.

The 53 families who take home jugs of raw milk from Mark and Debbie Apple's farm are not customers, despite the fact that their farm has 11 milk cows. Nearly a year after state health officials issued a cease-and-desist order, the Apples still milk cows — and people still take home unpasteurized milk.

The Apples have clarified that their "customers" actually own shares of the cows. The Apples simply provide room and board. Those technical changes are the Apples' way of defending the rights of raw milk enthusiasts who laud its reputed health benefits.

Run by third-generation farmers in McCordsville, Ind., the Apple Family Farm is dedicated to farming naturally, without chemicals, hormones or unnecessary antibiotics. Chickens, beef and sheep are raised on the farm, which aims to provide healthful food, protect the environment — and enrich the community.

Story Credits

Produced by The Kitchen Sisters (Davia Nelson & Nikki Silva). Mixed by Jim McKee. In collaboration with Sandra Wong Geroux, Laura Folger, Kate Volkman, Melissa Robbins and Jay Allison.

To learn more about The Apple Family Farm and this subject, follow the links in our resources section to a variety of sites and articles.

— The Kitchen Sisters (Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva)

Special thanks to: the Apple Family Farm; The Trader's Point Creamery; Traders Point Green Market in Zionsville, Ind.; and the Indiana Cow-share Association.

Music in This Story

The following songs were heard in this story:

· "Bolero," composed and performed by Maurice Ravel (1928) on Mauric Ravel: The Composer as Pianist And Conductor, Pierian Records — The Caswell Collection Vol. 4.

· "Milk Cow Blues Boogie," performed by Elvis Presley, on Sunrise Elvis Presley, Sun Records.