Posted on June 16, 2010 - by

Letter from a raw milk producer

This is a guest post from FRESH supporter Evan Sayre

I had been considering trying raw milk for a few months. Not only are my food decisions based on how the food is raised but also how it tastes. Through The Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund I found a farmer, Kalish Family Farms, in Southern Minnesota that delivers raw milk to the Twin Cities. I had been considering ordering from him so that I could at least try raw milk and see how it tastes. I had signed up for the farms e-mail list to try to get more info from them before I purchased. They also raised beef, pork, chicken and sold eggs.

Last month there was an E-Coli outbreak that has allegedly traced back to a different raw milk producer in Southern Minnesota. Soon after this e-mail came:

To all my dear customers:

Thank you for all the kind emails and voice messages you have left me this week. Sorry I could not reply to every individual email and voice mail, as I received hundreds, and you all mean a lot to me. My decision to pack it in is due to the e-coli breakout down in southern Minnesota, and the way the government is putting the fear of God into all local farmers with threats and machines guns (ok I just threw the “machine gun” part in for kicks).

The dairy farm where I have my guersney cows is quitting with all the raw milk production and I have been backed into a corner as a result, with no other options. I cannot do just the meat and eggs and still be able to provide for my family. If I can’t farm with the quality and high standards that I set for myself, I do not want to do it at all. I refused to take shortcuts like my previous partners do.

I would happily like to keep going, but getting the finances to do so is out of the question at this time (unless any of you are venture capitalists and want to invest?)

It has been said that big government is pushing away all the small farmers. I now have experienced this first hand. I may not have been the best businessman, but I have always been an honest, hardworking individual, who loves what he does.


Jay Kalisch

As someone who wants to begin small-scale farming my biggest fear is regulation designed to kill a fly with a shotgun. More small farmers go out of business and we let more and more consolidation of our food sources. Minnesota is a large agriculture state but we import about 90% of our food.

Also, the E-Coli strain is the famous O157:H7 which only emerged when we stopped allowing cattle to eat grass and started making them eat corn.

Please call and e-mail your government representatives and make sure they understand that people do care where their food comes from and want to know the people that produce it for them.

Evan Sayre

Photo from Chiot’s Run on Flickr



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  1. Visit My Website

    June 17, 2010


    Melody D said:

    It breaks my heart to read that letter. We are trying to start a small farm and while we won’t likely be selling raw milk it still leaves me with a concern that eventually this type of government bullying of small farms will eventually come my way just as we are finding our way.

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    June 17, 2010


    brenda said:

    remember the religious heritics, well now there are the farmer heritics, the health food heritics, the health concious heritics,and so on and so on. they will scour the land to rid it of all such heritics. (i am not on the side of the inquisition)but am seeing quite a parallel.
    good luck and stand strong against them.

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    June 17, 2010


    brenda said:

    smallpock blankets was one way and now (has been going on fo a very long time)doing it other ways to the rest of us also.chemicals on of foods, in our meats, and in our foods, gmo, feeding un-natural foods to our meats.chemicals in our waters, air. all deliberate efforts to downsize our population. sounds hooky. but…..think it through.
    funny thing is they call it choices.

    we wonder why our popuulation is soo sick and have such deseases that “seem to have no cures”

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    June 18, 2010


    laura said:

    This is heartbreaking that our government who should be after OUR best interest isn’t. They are fighting against farms and the small farms. I just don’t get it….let us have our LOCAL food. I don’t want grapes from Chile I want grapes that grew in a vineyard by a wonderful family that care as much for their vines as they do their own family. And that is exactly what is being forced out and shut down.