By Shannon Hayes
Twenty-eight year old Shannon Hayes grew up on a farm in Warnerville, one hour west of Albany, New York. Her parents, Adele and Jim Hayes, raise pastured beef, chickens, turkeys, geese, lamb and pigs. Shannon is following in her parents’ footsteps in the progressive agriculture field, has a contract for a cookbook on meat dishes, writes a monthly column for a publication called Graze, is a poised speaker and sits on the board of New York’s Regional Farm and Food Project. Recently she appeared on a radio program where she poetically described the process of buying raw milk straight from the farm:
One cannot purchase raw milk from an anonymous figure standing at the grocery store register. It cannot come from faceless, all-powerful corporations. It cannot come with a guarantee of the watchful eye of government inspectors. Raw milk is passed to you through the farmers’ hands. The assurance of a safe glass of raw milk means looking the farm family in the eyes, knowing how they grow the food, knowing firsthand of their integrity. Purchasing raw milk is not merely a commercial transaction. It is an act of faith and trust between the farmer and the buyer. One is entrusted to grow the food with care; the other is entrusted with protecting the farmers’ right to grow it. To accept this drink, without the layers of so-called protective treatments and bureaucratic inspections, is to accept more than simply nourishment, flavor and ideals. It is accepting a glass of fellowship.
This article appeared in the Spring 2003 edition of Wise Traditions, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation.