What is Artisanal Processing?
Artisanal processing refers to making a value-added product from a raw agricultural material, in this
case MILK, using traditional, usually labor-intensive, hands-on practices. In the old days lots of
farmers' wives made butter and cheese for sale to their neighbors. But over the years farms have
given up these direct sales, mostly because of increased regulation, and now most sell only raw
milk to big dairy cooperatives, which ship the milk thousands of miles and subject the milk to
nutrient-depleting processing methods. What farmers get paid for raw milk sometimes doesn't even
cover their costs, while processors rake in big bucks on "value-added" products that consist of
over-processed milk, further corrupted by a variety of chemicals, artificial flavors, colors, packaging
and other treatments.
Small dairy farms are on the edge, being pushed out by large farms that are producing too much
milk, which causes prices paid to the farmers to go down, though retail prices rise due to fancy
packaging, greedy management and profit-hungry investors. Making dairy products on the farm
gives the mom-and-pop operation a chance to recapture some of the profits ordinarily lost to
middlemen, while offering consumers a closer link to the source of their dairy foods and, in most
cases, more wholesome products. Thanks to an increasing sophistication about wholesome foods
and local production, the farmstead and artisan dairy movement is growing rapidly in the U.S.
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Got Milk? smalldairy.com has
resources you can use!
Established in 1998 to assist
small commercial dairies in
finding information about on-
farm and artisanal processing,
this site now also serves
homesteaders and suburban
Want Milk? (cheese, butter,
yogurt, ice cream, kefir?) We
can help you find dairy sources,
including local cheesemakers,
bottlers and other small-scale
The featured book for April is Fancy Cheese in America:
from the milk of cows, sheep and goats, by Chas. A.
Publow (1910). Gilt lettering on cloth over board cover
with a few bumps and scrapes, but good for 100-year-
old book. Pages yellowed consistent with age but
without markings other than owner's name on front
endpaper. Illustrated. This is the original century-old
item, NOT print-on-demand. Describes a wide variety of
cheeses; includes detailed make instructions for some.
Take 25% off the regular price ($45) by including the
following code on checkout: XSZTN4PO469A. The
price includes free shipping by standard mail.
More information ...