On the Road Again: Reflecting on Climate Change, Community, Safety, Traveling Through Southern Asia

For the last four weeks I have played tourist, traveling through southern Asia—Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand,  Sri Lanka, and then for the last ten days, India.  For all the economic gains we hear so much about in Asia, the differences between that part of the world and ours remain stark. I’ve only begun to digest what I have seen. I’d like to share observations on a few things that stood out especially strongly:  

Climate change. One of the biggest surprises to me was the intensity of the heat, everywhere in southern Asia—generally between 90 and 100 degrees, with the humidity hanging heavy. Even on the ocean at night, I doubt it ever got below 85 degrees. Only in the 5-000-foot-high mountains of the south India state of Kerala, in the late evening and early morning hours, did the heat abate, to perhaps 75 or 80 degrees. In Mumbai, along the waterfront in the evening, when thousands crowd the boardwalk, a sea breeze cools things slightly.  

I met at least half a dozen experienced tour guides, and without exception, they feel strongly that global warming is upon us. One pointed out that Mumbai just had its hottest day within the last two years last month—42 degrees Celsius, which is 107 F.  And remember, most buses and trains, along with cars, and apartments, aren’t air conditioned.

The huge economic gains being made across southern Asia make the climate situation seem ever more daunting. Mumbai is a case in point. Its population has swelled to 18 million. Because it is situated on seven islands, some man made,space is limited and  a subway system in such a wet environment is out of the question. So most transport is via gas-burning vehicles. The traffic is brutal, and even in the middle of the day or late at night, main roads are backed up for miles. There is little in the way of open space like parks. It’s a pulsating city with wonderful art galleries, restaurants, and architecture. But the scenes made famous by the movie, “Slum Dog Millionaire”, aren’t difficult to find, even if the tour guides mostly avoid them. As dynamic and exciting a city as it is, it’s difficult to imagine how people can survive if it gets even a little warmer. I couldn’t wait to get out

Fishermen along the Arabian Sea assess their overnight catch. Community. While cities like Mumbai are highly westernized, it was out in the country that I saw inspiring examples of how closely-knit communities routinely come together for the sake of food production. While driving through one village, our tour guide stopped the van when he noticed perhaps 100 bicycles and motorcycles parked near a river. We walked through some woods, and there were several hundred villagers bent over in shallow river waters dragging small nets through the waters. Each month, according to the lunar cycle, villagers take a  day off from their regular work and gather in a community fishing celebration. I worried I was intruding, but villagers were proud to show off their catches of small sardine-like fish.  It was like that in other places as well, including in the seaside city of Cochin, where, as you can see in the photo, I was invited by good-natured fishermen to help in the ongoing routine of the day of pulling ropes that bring nets, and hopefully a few fish, out of the waters.

A few good-natured fishermen temprarily recruit yours truly to help in hauling out their nets. They wouldn't have wanted me for very long. I came across a similar scene around six one morning walking along a seemingly deserted Arabian Sea beach. Suddenly, dozens of villagers began returning from their regular night fishing, mostly carried out on single-person floats that can’t be said to qualify as boats. They carried their rolled-up nets, with fish still visible in the netting.

Safety. At movie theaters, government-sponsored public health shorts warn and advise about problems well under control here. For example, prior to a Bollywood movie I attended, one short segment warned about malaria, while another dealt with glaucoma. I was glad as I watched the scenes of mosquitos hatching in still water that I had decided to take malaria-prevention pills.

The safety-related theme I experienced up close was on  the transportation side. I wound up covering a lot of miles around southern India, and all I can say is that I’m glad I didn’t have to drive. To describe the traffic as chaotic doesn’t begin to capture the situation, especially in smaller cities, where cars, trucks, buses, bicycles, motorcycles, and the ever-present tuk-tuk three-wheel taxis compete for turf (along with cows and goats, for good measure). There’s lots of horn-honking, but little in the way of the angry aggressiveness that typifies most American urban areas. As for safety, you’re pretty much on your own.

At least one member of the family, shown here cruising at 40-50 mph, has some protection. Most taxis have no working seat belts for passengers. Entire families ride around on motorcycles. No one wears helmets, for the most part, except in a state like Kerala, where the driver (usually the dad) is required to wear one. Tuk-tuks designed to hold maybe four people sort of comfortably routinely carry eight or ten people, and I saw a few cases where probably 12 or 13 people were crammed in.

In Mumbai and other cities, the commuter trains are so packed, the doors aren’t closed. In the Indian scheme of things, suffocation is counted as a greater threat than an occasional passenger losing his or her grip and falling out going around a curve.

The priorities are a lot different in a developing country of 1.2 billion versus a well developed country of 300 million.

The three guys riding the back of this tuk tuk hide at least eight others riding inside...also cruising at 40-plus mph. As for the food, I loved nearly all of what I ate. I generally avoided street food, figuring I probably am not ready for some of the bugs I would encounter. But I found myself eating raw fruits and vegetables, despite warnings I had received before the trip, and came out okay. Nearly without exception, I found the food to be more flavorful than most Asian food I’ve had in the U.S., and I’ve long been a big Asian food fan. The spices seemed to carry more oomph, more subtleties, than what I am used to. 

Finally, on the subject of pathogens, there was one bit of fascinating irony I came across while touring a Jain) temple in Mumbai. Like many devout Buddhists and Hindus, the Jains  are very respectful of human life, so much so that devout followers where white kerchiefs over their mouths…to avoid killing both good and bad bacteria we harbor.  

As fun and fascinating as the trip was, it sure is good to be back home.

***

The doors of this train are open, as always, as it pulls into a Mumbai station during the morning rush hour. Finally, I want to say how blown away I was by the guest posts that appeared during my absence. Informative, provocative and well written. Many thanks to Dave Milano. Pete Kennedy, Scott Trautman, Bill Anderson, Steve Bemis, Joseph Heckman, and Ben Hewitt.  Ongoing, there’s no reason this blog can’t include guest posts at other times, as well…all by way of saying I’m open to ideas and suggestions.

Silvia

I am on my I Phone so I can not post the link for the CDFA food and ag code that defines a dairy. I quick Google of CA Food and Ag code #32505 and you will find the definition of a dairy. It must have more than two cows.

David glad you are home. I did enjoy the great writing of the guest authors. I am still astonished by the Cornell study comparing illnesses from pasteurized v raw milk. The facts are the facts. What an embarrassment for the CDC and FDA. I hope Gary Cox can shown that data to the federal judge handling the CFR 1240.61 case. That's hard to swallow data and the FDA will have no answer to that. Nothing.

Mark

David-

Great post. You talked about your personal experiences, and it was very interesting to me. I've never travelled to Asia, but I'm always interested in the global perspective on things.

This is "globalization from below" -- it is a grassroots globalization -- not the top-down military-industrial-corporate-neo-liberal globalization being imposed by the powers that be!

Speaking of future topics of guest posts, I would love to hear more about the personal experiences of raw dairy people here in raising and maintaining their herds and milk quality.

People like Ken, Miguel, Goatmaid, (and others) have some very interesting perspectives. Even people like Lola Granola (as much as we butt heads about the politics) I'm sure have insights to contribute about dairying. At one point, Lola criticized Scott Trautman for spending money on MidWestern Bio-ag services, and suggested there were other ways to rebuild soil and improve forage quality that were less expensive. I am genuinely interested in Lola's experience and knowledge about these things.

Hopefully we can hear more diverse perspectives about these issues!

Does anyone have the link/citation to the Cornell study?

We ought to be thinking very hard about exactly what economy is.

Developed countriesthose wonderful, enlightened, modern inventionsmeasure economy in terms of money transfer, and the more the merrier. In the great big modern economic analysis then, there is no difference between buying fresh food or a new house, and getting divorced, getting cancer, or having a mortgage foreclosed. Its all boosting the economy. Money is changing hands! GDP is rising! Were making economic gains! Yippee!

To put economy into a human perspective, please see this series of video segments (with advanced apologies to those who have followed this link from me before). The link is to the first of six segments. Watch them allit will take about an hour:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_-UeifKAZM

then think about what our politicians and economists mean when they proclaim continued economic growth as a key to happiness...

Thanks for the link Dave, I will check it out!

I couldn't agree with you more about the false promises of consumerism and technological "progress."

In the social sciences, the idea that increasing GDP will increase overall happiness goes back to the theory of marginal utility, which unfortunately is the basis of most economic theories today of liberal, conservative, and "libertarian" persuasions. It is the acedemic basis for the twisted system that holds us captive to debt, markets, and commodities. And it is profoundly dehumanizing.

I am definetly looking forward to checking out this video!

Anyone know a good lab for testing milk for fallout contamination? Mark, what did you find from the sample you sent off, to Italy wasn't it?

http://blogs.forbes.com/jeffmcmahon/2011/04/10/epa-new-radiation-highs-in-little-rock-milk-philadelphia-drinking-water/

Pete,

No word yet from Siliker Labs in Italy. They were the only lab we could find that would perform a differential assessment of Japanese radioactive isotopes verses just simple generic radiation. I wanted to get meaningful specilic information about radiation from Japan.

I am with Steve....who has the Link to the Cornell Study on pasteurized milk verses raw milk illness data.

I need it.

Mark

Here is the link to the story that made mention of a Cornell Study and data on Raw Milk verses Pasteurized Milk illness data.

I am not sure how scholarly the author is? He may have made some assumptions and broad sweeping statements as to the data. Does anyone know Vince Hundt...he calls himself a Coon Vally dairy farmer? I would be shocked to see that Cornell would make this kind of apparent pro raw milk statement. In the past Cornell has not been friendly to raw milk. In fact they have been down right tough on raw milk. Someone had to fund this study and no one funds Cornell University studies that are friendly to raw milk.

http://host.madison.com/ct/news/opinion/mailbag/article_a8388581-92de-54cf-abea-54a1b103cfdd.html?mode=story

Bill...you are one of the data diggers arround here. What do you think?

Mark

I know Vince. He is an organic farmer, and one of the few pro-raw-milk people who sits on the DATCP working group. I'm not sure what study he is talking about here, but I will try to get a hold of him and find out.

THX Bill,

Here is an appropriate piece on looking at radiation in our food and milk. Even though I generally do not like Dr. Mike Payne PhD DVM at Western Institute for Food Safety and Security at UC Davis I think he is right on this one.

http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2011/03/30/1542056/milk-radiation.html

The take away is this..... Japanese radiation is all over the USA and Canada at very very low levels, this radioactive "iodine isotope 131" degrades quickly and becomes a none issue.

Mark

I'm worried about pacific seafood, with all the radioactive water being released into the ocean. Any word on that? It could be years before we understand the full effects...

Washington waging class war against us, again!

"Dont Punish the Poor" Economist Jeffrey Sachs Slams Obama-GOP Budget Deal

http://www.democracynow.org/2011/4/11/dont_punish_the_poor_economist_jeffrey

If they really wanted to balance the budget, they would slash military spending. Can't believe we just started ANOTHER war. Obama is a tool! At least if McCain was in office people would be protesting in the streets right now!!!! Stupid Democrats always pacify social protest...

Great documentary Dave! I really enjoyed it. Its a good look at rural sociology in the "developping" world and the effects of industrialization. It is so sad, that this story has played out so many times in the last two centuries of the history of industrialism. Both capitalist and communist regimes have basically done the same thing -- disposs peasants from the land and drive them into urban slums to be wage-slaves in industrial factories, eliminating their traditional substinance culture.

I am reminded of how Rudolph Steiner was a visionary in his efforts to help many of these peasants in Europe develop democratic social institutions as they were forced into industrial society.

Bill,

Yes, the Ladakhis (the subject people in the documentary I linked above) suffered dramatically from consumerism and the loss of their traditional culture. But they were absolutely not driven into the cities or into the modern world by some regime. The Ladakhis were rather enticed into it. They CHOSE to do it.

To believe otherwise is to pretend that solutions can be found in the forming of some sort of social movement, of yet another fighting force to do battle with a political evil. That would be merely another form of the problem, as many of Ladakhs community and spiritual leaders said then and say now. True and good solutions lie only in the hearts of individualsthose individuals who realize that money simply doesnt buy happiness. The most lovely of Ladakhs leaders remind us continually that fighting is not good, that warfare is ALWAYS destructive, whether military or class warfare, and that it is a sin to entice anyone into joining any sort of fight.

Ladakis could today return to their roots simply by choosing to do it. They neednt shake their fists or shout slogans or demean any other man. (The Buddhist tradition that kept them happy for so long in fact decries that sort of spirit.) Ladakis need only turn their backs on modernity, and resume their old way of life in the mountains.

Now please dont get me wrongI surely do not mean to say that it is easy to turn away from the enticements of modernity. But that does not change the fact that no Ladakhis foot is nailed to the floor of his city apartment. This is emphatically NOT a crisis of powerlessness, but one of understanding, and of will. (Sure, there are certain legal responsibilities one might be tied to once in to the system, but those things are not chains. They are mere entanglements that can be worked through to make an exit. NOT impossible to do on ones own.)

Things are not much different here in the USA. Anyone willing to live with less, willing to accept and apply himself to the often dirty work associated with owning a human body on this earth, can find peace on the land. We get ourselves into trouble when we want more, when we attempt to escape the lowly duties, when we desire the ease of high pay for easy work, or subsidized or even free services, and then of course, when we create institutions to extract those things from our brothers.

Hi Dave,

Not disagreeing with you about the problem of an overly aggressive mentality -- I'm certainly against war, and prefer nonviolent methods of conflict resolution. But I recognize that there is a war being waged against us by our own government and ruling elites. Michael Schmidt has been a role model on the use of non-violent tactics in one of the battles of this war (the struggle over raw milk). And Michael is no stranger to conflict, yet he manages to gracefully handle these conflicts while recognizing the need to build a social movement and social institutions which promote raw milk while upholding high standards for its production.

However, I think it is inaccurate for you to say that subsistance cultures merely choose to become modernized, and that it is only a matter of will to avoid modernization. What about the cities, roads, dams, and other industrial intrusions on the Ladakh's land base?

Modernization is quite often imposed on traditional societies through different means. In Europe, land reforms and the closing (aka privatization) of the feudal commons was in large part responsible for the forced destruction of the peasant's traditional way of life. In rural Mexico, traditional ways of subsistance are being lost because of NAFTA and the intrusion of military, paramilitaries, and corporations.

We see even in Ladakh how various enviromental and social stresses of industrialism were creating unfavorable conditions for the survival of the traditional culture. At one point, they spoke of building a new modern dam, which would have long term effects on the availability of irrigation water for the traditional culture.

In any case, I think the documentary demolishes pretty thoroughly the myths of the ultra-free-market ideology. As the narrator pointed out, trade and monetary transactions were rare in the traditonal society. They had a communal economy and way of life. It was the government-imposed industrial society which demanded that most social interactions be mediated by the market.

Globalization and modernization are inevitable forces that we cannot stop from happening. The struggle for those of us who seek to have a just, free, peaceful, and democratic society is to ensure that modernization and globalization happen in a way that is beneficial to humanity -- as opposed to the industrialists who only want more power and money for themselves and their institutions.

The Ladakh were a very interesting case study on how a traditional society functioned, and what happens when that society is modernized and westernized. But it wishful thinking to suggest that we could go "back" to that kind of lifestyle and social structure en masse in 21st century America -- if only we wished to in our hearts. We have a very different set of social and individual challenges than the Ladakh do.

It was a great documentary nonetheless. Thanks for posting it!!

Mark, thank you, I couldn't find the codes when I searched the states web site.

This is off-topic to the current discussion, but the following story indicates that the Irish Department of Agriculture is set to introduce legislation banning the sale of raw milk from any species.

http://www.independent.ie/farming/raw-milk-set-to-be-banned-eu-rural-bodies-form-coalition-buyers-to-get-a-bull-bonus-horse-project-team-revival-2615977.html

Bill, Your socio-political views are fully hinged on a recalcitrant belief that some ideal box can be built, out of which only goodness will come. That is wrong, as human nature instructs, and history has demonstrated again and again. Events in Ladakh teach us as much; whatever social and economic successes once enjoyed there were the result of no system at all beyond the local (religion a notable exception). Trouble came more from well-intentioned systems than evil capitalists. (Also notably, Ladakhis at their best did in fact enjoy what you would call an ultra-free-market which included not only local cooperative labor, but regional trade.)

As to the impossibility of return to local traditions, there are in fact Ladakhis living, more or less the old way, right now, today. Of course it can be done. Is it possible for systems to destroy that possibility? Yes, by using force to keep people off the land. At that point there is a dire messone that makes very real otherwise light theoretical discussions about whether it can ever be right to kill for land, or kill for peace, or kill for freedom. (Another of the questions that must be answered in every heart individually.) Such very dire conditions do exist here and there in the world, to humankinds most awful shame.

But while were talking, allow me please to change the subject and pick your brain about something you do know well. ;-) My wife and I recently took a cheese-making course from Peter Dixon. (A well-spent three days, by the way.) Peter relied often on pH measurement, so were in the market now for a meter. Any suggestions there, for home cheese efforts?

Dave,

I've used this pH meter with mixed results:

http://www.dairyconnection.com/commerce/catalog.jsp?catId=8
(scroll down, second to the bottom)

A word of warning, though: pH meters are not the most reliable. This has been borne out by my experience and the experience of other cheese makers I know. They have a tendancy not to work spontaneously or to give erroneous readings. Sometimes they also randomly start working again. Other times you have to contact the dealer or manufactuer for a repair or exchange.

Here is a slighly more reliable instrument, though it gives you a different reading:

http://www.cheesemaking.com/store/p/96-Acid-Meter.html

There is a difference between pH and the acidimeter readings. pH measures *available* acidity (H+ ions) while an acidimeter measures Total Acidity (TA for short).

The reason this is important, is because casein (curd protein) is both a natural buffer of lactic acid, and it is slightly acidic itself.

For example (theoretical scenario):

Fresh protein-poor milk
pH: 6.70
TA: 15

Fresh protein-rich milk:
pH: 6.70
TA: 18

Now when you allow the cultures to act on these two milks (in the same amount) prior to coagulation, here is what happens:

Protein poor milk:
pH: 6.45
TA: 19

Protein rich milk:
pH: 6.50
TA: 22

Now, once you coagulate the milk and cut the curd, and since you can only titrate liquids, you will be measuring TA on the whey and not the curd. Since the casein has been removed from the liquid phase of the milk, you have lost those natural acids from the titration and your TA will be considerably lower. However, since pH only measure free acids and not total acids, the pH will be unaffected.

Here is an example, the exact same milk as the previous example, but coagulated and cut (to allow syneresis to begin) without any additional acid development.

Protein-poor coagulated & slightly acidified milk:
curd pH: 6.45
whey TA: 9

Protein-rich coagulated & slightly acidified milk:
curd pH: 6.50
whey TA: 12

Now, as the acid continues to develop during the cook, moulding, and drainage of the curd, it is very important to consider where you are getting your samples for measuring TA and pH, because you will get different readings depending on where you measure.

In general, most of the cultures are trapped inside the curd protein matrix, and so the acidity develops inside of the curd. Thus, pH samples should be taken directly from the inside of a curd. TA samples should be taken by grabbing a handful of curd, squeezing the extra-granular whey out from around it back into the vat, and then continue squeezing so that the sample of the intra-granular whey (the whey from inside the curd) is pressed out. The intra-granular whey is your sample for TA.

If you are making traditional (milled-curd) cheddar, after draining the vat and starting the cheddaring process, you can take your TA samples directly from the extra-granular whey that is slowly leaving the cheddar slabs as the acid develops and dissolves the calcium-phosphate bonds in the casein matrix, thus releasing whey. The acidity of this now extra-granular whey (was intra-granular just a few minutes ago) will lag slightly behind the actual acidity of the curd, but its not a big deal.

Most cheddar cheesemakers mill at a TA of about 50-55. After milling, the whey looks more milky, because of the fat and protein losses from breaking up the curd mass. As a result, the TA after milling will be higher, because of all the casein that is released into the whey. In general, a whey with more curd fines will have a higher TA.

Hope this all makes sense to you. ;-)

Bill,

Thank you! I believe that our recipes do have TA listed as well as pH, but if I can extrapolate from your numbers it appears theres a quantifiable relationship between the scales, so a conversion factor must exist, no?

Ive seen in the lab that pH meters themselves seem pretty reliable, but the electrodes are a pain. Must be stored in a wet neutral solution, must be calibrated immediately before each measurement, tend to be fragile, are expensive to replace and generally last just a year or two at most. And not to put too fine a point on this (its complicated enough without that) I wondered about temperature compensation as well. Are the meters accurate across typical cheese-making temperature ranges? (All this seems a bit much for a household kitchen)

Im really hoping that as long as we use the same techniques (including pH or TA) we can get reasonably consistent results even with some degree of variability in conditions. Id guess thats true since there is so much variability in milk qualities that isnt accounted for in recipes (at least the ones that I have) like the relative fat and protein concentrations throughout the milk cycle (for us April through December), seasonal pasture/hay variability and the like. Are you saying that measuring TA will better account for variable conditions than measuring pH?

Anyway, were not trying to win any contests; we just want to be able to reproduce a cheese that happens to turn out well. Weve made good cheese, and cheese weve fed to the chickens, but have not been able to make the exact same cheese twice in a row.

Thanks for the help. Cheese-making seems to me the perfect blend of art and science.

Dave-

There is no fixed conversion from TA to pH. Though they are related measurements, the conversion will depend entirely upon the unique qualities of your milk. The % protein is the biggest factor determining the conversion. However, things like calcium and mineral concentration in the milk, degree and type of proteolysis during milk storage prior to cheese making, and probably dozens of other factors which we don't even fully understand can effect the way that pH and TA relate.

Obviously, since you are seasonal, this conversion factor is going to vary seasonally even within just the milk from your farm.

If your goal is relative consistancy in the type of cheese you produce, another important measurement besides acidity/pH, is the rate and degree of coagulation. The best way to measure this is through understanding the floculation time (aka "floc time", Peter probably discussed this, no?), and its relationship to the cutting time. This is what might be called the "coagulation schedule"

Cheesemaking, at the most fundamental level, is a process of controlling these two schedules: the acidification schedule, and the coagulation/drainage schedule. Depending on the type of cheese you are making, you want these two schedule to line up in a different way. And depending on variations in your milk, you have to adjust variables within these two schedules to get the same end result.

It probably doesn't help to simlify things when you understand that the two schedules share some variables (i.e. the development of acidity aids in the coagulation and drainage of the curd)

Its a very complex system, obviously, but a lot of it just comes with time and experience, and from learning from other cheese makers. The most important thing you can do is take careful notes, so you can always go back and cross reference the batch and try to understand what caused each change.

p.s. the pH meter I linked to earlier automatically adjusts for temperature (it has a thermometer built in). Most modern pH meters do.

Dave,

Let me add that you should pay attention to the taste ,smell and firmness of curd and learn how these are all related to the PH and TA.Eventually your senses will tell you a lot about how the cheese is progressing.The goal should be to dispense with the expensive equipment so you can relax and enjoy making cheese.Time and temperature are important and stirring the curd gently makes better cheese.Sometimes those cheeses that are bad tasting at first can improve with age.Taking careful notes is a big help because by the time the cheese is tasted it is impossible to remember how things went as it was made.

Agreed Miguel. I also think that having a community of cheesemakers who share experiences can aid in developping each others skills. I'm fortunate enough to have such a community, coming from Wisconsin.

The same can be said of dairy farmers. That is one of the main reasons I am for having a voluntary raw milk certification program, to increase cooperation and sharing of knowledge and experience amongst dairy farmers who are serious about producing quality and safe raw milk.

Dave, I don't think one measurement is better than the other, between pH and TA. They are just different.

If I could only use one of the two, I would choose pH. You can't measure the TA of your finished cheese on day + 1 (the next day, prior to salting) because it is a solid, with little to no extra-granular whey for measuring TA. But you can measure the pH.

The final, stable internal pH and composition of the cheese (i.e. once all lactose has been consumed by the cultures) is the most important thing for an artisan cheese maker to understand. Everything you do in the vat and in the moulds is aimed at achieving a certain pH and moisture content in the finished product.

There is a danger of post-production acidification if there is still a significant quantity of residual lactose left when the cheese goes into the cave (in some rare instances, this is a part of the cheese variety's characteristic, such as vacherin mont d'or-style). So don't think just because the pH at day+1 is 5.0 that it is your final stable internal pH. To be certain, you have to monitor the internal pH for a week or two after production. If the pH continues to drop, your cheese will become more mealy/chalky in texture, and will experience much more shrinkage (moisture loss) in the cave. Since a lower pH means a more demineralized protein, moisture is freed and will evaporate in the cave much more easily. On the other hand, in a cheese which stabalizes at a higher pH within the first 24 hours, the moisture is more tightly bound to the protein matrix because of the stronger calcium-phosphate bonds, and so it will lose moisture more slowly in the cave.

Like I said, its a complex system. You are right that it is both an art and a science. But knowing the science helps alot with the art.

In other news, Japan is raising the severity of the nuclear crises to its highest level. A little late for that, don't ya think?

http://www.democracynow.org/2011/4/12/nuclear_catastrophe_in_japan_not_equal

Nuclear Catastrophe in Japan Not Equal to Chernobyl, But Way Worse

Also Permaculture research institute of Australia has linked GMO's to organ failure:

http://permaculture.org.au/2011/04/10/gmos-linked-to-organ-disruption-in-19-studies/

Dave-

Here is a book that you will find very useful:

http://www.amazon.com/American-Farmstead-Cheese-Complete-Selling/dp/1931498776

Bill,

Do you think someone can safely and effectively make raw cheese from Jersey milk or Brown Swiss milk in a home kitchen? Following Ricki Carroll's instructions, the two people I know who tried it with fresh raw Jersey milk didn't have successful results other than with the soft cheeses and have given up on making raw hard cheeses. Does the book you recommend above tell how to make raw milk cheese? Is that the book you would recommend to someone just starting out in cheesemaking? Does Peter Dixon teach how to make raw milk cheese?

Lynn

Lynn, sounds like their rennet may not be fresh? With old rennet, you have to use more or you get softer cheese or curds that never really set.

I make hard cheese with my Jersey's raw milk: Colby, m.jack, cheddar, and a generic farm cheese; in fact, that's why I bought a cow. No matter which recipe you use, aged goat cheese all tastes the same... goaty, so now my goat milk is reserved for chevre and feta. Last fall I didn't have enough goat milk for feta so I added half-Jersey milk. It was not a good... too yellow and had a strange bland flavor. lol

I have most of the cheese books, including Ricki Carroll's a good great first book, but which I don't use much anymore.

My go-to book for the last couple of years has been "Making Artisan Cheese" by Tim Smith. It's a large glossy book with pretty pictures of cheeses, the 50 recipes are clear and easy to follow, and recipes list generic ingredients in specific amounts instead of kit ingredients like Carroll's recipes ("one packet of direct-set whatever"). Those direct-set packages get expensive once you start making a lot of cheese.

On strong recommendation from the GoatCheesePlus Yahoo Group, I recently bought a new book, "200 Easy Homemade Cheese Recipes" by Debra Amrein-Boyes. It has more of the exotic cheese recipes, but haven't had much chance to look at it yet, not having spare milk for cheesemaking lately.

Goatmaid-

Adding lipase enzymes will give the cow's milk "feta" more favor. There are already lipases naturally in raw milk, but not enough to break through the large fat globule membranes of cow's milk. Goat milk is naturally more lipolytic because of the smaller fat globule size, thus the "goaty" flavor.

Hi Bill, I did add lipase, about what I put in my extra-strong feta, but the Jersey-ish feta was too creamy, too yellow, tooo something so it didn't move well. Even I didn't like it, though the chickens did. lol Might have worked had I skimmed all the cream off instead of part.

I buy lipase by the pound since I make three different grades of feta: medium, strong and extra strong that knocks the socks off wimpier consumers. I also make an incredible Herbes de Provence feta, my favorite.

Its possible that the lack of flavor is because you are removing cream. (At the risk of being "master of the obvious" here -- if there is no butter fat, then there is no reason to add lipase. Lipase by definition can only act on lipids.) You may also want to consider aging it longer to bring out the flavor.

Also, consider adding LH100 (Lactobacillus helviticus) to the cow's milk version. That will also help to bring out some flavor as the cheese ages.

Funny, CP, that Bill Marler has blocked my comment from being published on his blog, because I provided information about ways for consumers to identify if their raw milk is contaminated or not. Contrary to what Bill says, bad germs actually CAN be identified by taste and smell, if you know what to look for.

It would seem that Bill Marler is not interested in food safety. He is interested in outbreaks, because it makes him rich. Also, it would appear he is inerested in fear mongering and censorship. If he was really interested in food safety, he would have published my comment which provides valuable information about ways for raw milk consumers to identify good and bad milk.

Bill Marler could prove me wrong by publishing my comment. But it appears to me that his agenda is not food safety at all.

CP and Bill Marler,

Nice scare tactics and warning to moms about raw milk. If it was fare information there would be some positive pitch to it...there is none.

What I find most interesting is the complete lack of reference to substantiate the claims. Not one study or reference.

Kids adapt to bacteria even pathogenic bacteria. Show me a "dairy farm family" with a sick kid from farm tank raw milk...it may occur but it is extremely rare. When a gut is young and healthy, a pathogen is not considered a pathogen....it is like any other bug. A childs immune system is adaptive and responds with an anti-body complex. When an immune system is weak becuase of damage or inexperience from lack of exposure to pathogens or biodiversity of bacteria then illness is more apt to occur. But it does seem to matter that Breast Milk is raw and can and does contain pathogens and their antibodies....that is how it was discovered that pathogens do not act the same in adaptive healthy babies GI tracts...

Bill Marler, you have done a disservice to moms that can not breast feed. You have done a disservice to babies that can not drink pasteurized dairy products.

I got an email from a mom years ago here in CA that told me that her child had a "head to toe" outbreak of hives after drinking raw milk whey. She said she had "cooked the whey" after making cheese and fed that cooked whey to her child. The child immediately had this bad reaction. I reviewed the email and then I reviewed and read it again....did she say that "she cooked the raw whey????"

I called her and told her...that was "not raw whey you fed your child". She said....oh...did I screw up. She did not realize that cooking the whey would change it some how.

She tried feeding her child again using raw fresh whey...( not heated at all and kept cold ) the child had no problems and has been drinking OPDC for 6 years now. If the child ever drinks cooked or pasteurized milk or dairy products....guess what...epi stick and call #911.

Raw proteins, enzymes, fats and bacteria are not the same as cooked proteins, fats, enzymes and bacteria. Bill, your suggestions about eating probiotic cooked stuff may be ok for some, but it is not ok for others.

Moms will make the best decisions based on their experiences. When cooked dead stuff causes head to toe anaphylactic reactions and 911 has to be called...perhaps your ideas are not so great.

Perhaps you should stick with what you are great at....scaring and screwing-over-insurance companies and leave nutrition and early human life GUT immunity to the experts and the raw milk community.

Your advice stinks of sterile food processor protection and FDA mantra.

Remember this Bill:

There were 422,000 illnesses from pasteurized dairy and 17 deaths from 1973 to 2010.

There were 1100 illnesses and zero deaths from raw milk from 1973 to 2010.

If that matters....that means 29 illnesses from raw milk each year and more than 11,405 illneses each year from pasteurized milk and pasteurized milk is the top most allergenic food in America for kids. ( Cornell University and CDC Data )

Your ethics committment as a lawyer is a bit bent right now. Please consider the math on this...raw milk is a food safety non-issue. Especially when done properly with a safety plan and standards. The more that you and the FDA say things like you say the easier it is to sell raw milk. Why...becuase your advice is hallow and does not ring true. It does not match the true to life experiences of the consumers.

To them...your words are just more dead FDA-Food Inc-PMO-CAFO lies.

Mark

I owe Bill Marler an apology. Apparently the comment was lost in cyber space. I will repost it.

Bill Anderson,

I posted my comments shown above to Marler as well.

We will see if he posts my comments as well. he has never blocked me before.

I bet he does post my comments.

We will see.

Mark

Here is the comment:

Fortunately, propoganda such as this is not going to turn the tide on the millions of people who are increasingly seeking out fresh unprocessed farm-direct milk. However, there are ways to ensure food safety in raw milk. And contrary to what this pamphlet suggests, there actually are ways to taste and smell contaminated milk.

For example, gross E. Coli contamination (of the type that would lead to an enterohemorrhagic infection) is very readily apparent to taste and smell. All coliforms (of which E. Coli is a part) in milk produce CO2 gas bubbles, and a distinctive putrid smell which includes acetic acid/vinegar.

Or take the example of pseudomonas, which is a bacteria that causes premature spoilage of the milk in the fridge, and aids in the survival of campylobacter. (Normally campy will expire within 24 hours... a good case for fermenting into yogurt/kefir, or aging your milk for a day).

Pseudomonas produces bitter pepties and an aromatic compound called cadaverin (smells like a dead mouse). Generally pseudomonas in milk is a sign that the milk harvest and storage equipment is not being properly cleaned. Because it consumes oxygen, pseudomonas helps to keep campy alive for upto 2 days in milk (campy is very oxygen sensative). Thus it is very important to let your milk "breathe" -- leave a little head space in the jar for air.

Unlike pasteurized milk, raw milk is a complete biological system with bio-diverse living benficial lactic bacteria. If produced and handled with proper sanitation and attention to detail, it is very safe. But it is important for consumers to be savvy about the quality of their milk -- don't buy raw milk that tastes bad and spoils quickly, or that doesn't ferment well into yogurt, kefir, cheese, and clabber.

Mark-

Excessive cooking causes whey proteins to denature and unfold, thus they bind with any casein (curd proteins) that might be present. I can see how this might cause an allergic reaction in a sensative child. It certainly changes the way that the milk coagulates and thickens. PMO ice cream makers do this intentionally (over-cook ice cream mix) to increase the viscosity of the ice cream, because of the denaturation of whey proteins.

Bill Anderson,

Marler posted both of our comments. Mine was far from kind. i should have been nicer but I had just recieved some very powerful emails from consumers that drove me to try and send a message of protection to Marler...one of the forces that is trying to deny moms and their babies raw milk.

This is the kind of email that puts the purpose and passion behind Mark McAfee and the team at OPDC....

Recieved today...quote from Moms Email saying Thank You:

I am e-mailing you to THANK you for your raw products. Your raw milk saved my baby. He has been having very severe constipation for almost a year. We have tried everything, of course i didn't want to medicate him for that. We did all that his doctor and other parents suggested, nothing helped. I knew that raw milk could help but was afraid after all the warnings about the dangers of it. After carefully researching, I decided to try your raw milk , my mother instinct was telling me it was safe. I prayed to God and started giving it to him. In 3 days is stool came out like a breast milk poop the first time after I couldn't breastfeed him(about 6 months, he is now 14 months old). Within last 4 months the first time he pooped without an enema, also the texture and the color look very healthy. I am also happy that he is getting all the health benefits of raw milk. Thank you sooo much, God bless you and please, please keep up the GOOD business.
Sincerely,
Sona

These forces can not be stopped. These forces will change the future for farmers in America. These forces will change nutrition and the FDA and sink the 100 year old dead milk PMO battle ship.

Mark

"..one of the forces that is trying to deny moms and their babies raw milk."

What or who gives anyone the right to tell another how to raise/feed their child? Or what anyone else consumes?

I'll remember to leave an air space in the jar. Thank you.

Great stuff Miguel! I'm a fan of Sepp Holzer and Permaculture ideas. There's a farmer in SW Wisconsin who I know that does some pretty incredible permaculture stuff. Inspirational.