Frequently Asked Questions
Is Raw Milk Safe?
Raw milk produced responsibly is very safe. Here at Shumway Farms we have a very high standard of quality to ensure a high level of safety with our products. For more details about our safety program, read about raw milk on our learn page.
Do you Test your Milk?
Testing our finished product is a critical part of our food safety program. We like to make sure that when that milk hits the bottles that we did our job along the way of producing healthy, safe and delicious milk for you and your family to drink. Here on our farm, we have our own lab for basic milk testing. We test for two items on the farm, which include:
Standard Plate Count (SPC) - A count of all colony forming bacteria in the milk. A low count is an indication of good general sanitation, udder health and proper chilling of milk. Allowable SPC levels are typically around 15,000 colony forming units per ml. However, we strive for under 1000, which will help improve the flavor and shelf-life.
Coliform Count (CC) - This indicates the number of coliform bacteria present, a specific family of bacteria found nearly everywhere in the environment. Coliforms come in fecal and non-fecal species. The wide majority of coliform bacteria are totally benign. However, some pathogenic strains (like e coli 0157/h7) are part of the coliform family. The number of coliform bacteria in milk indicates the general level of sanitation conditions of the milk as it travels from the udder to the bottle. A low coliform count (under 10 per ml, the same level required for pasteurized milk) indicates that the milk was handled in a way that avoided contamination by environmental bacteria.
Multiple times each week, we collect a milk sample to test in our on-farm lab so that we can monitor levels of CC and SPC bacteria. This helps us to consistently check how we are doing in producing clean, high quality milk! While no farmer or food producer can ever guarantee 100% safety, in regards to raw milk production, risk can be reduced significantly when producers create and follow a well-designed risk management plan and consistently produce milk with very low SPC and coliform counts.
For more details about our safety program, read about raw milk on our learn page.
Why don't you use glass bottles?
When working with raw milk, it is critical to minimize the places where it can potentially come in contact with harmful bacteria. Glass bottles, while they may be more environmentally-friendly, are a place where the milk can be affected if they have not been cleaned thoroughly. In order to ensure that bottles have been washed and sterilized properly, it requires a lot of extra equipment and the use of environmentally un-friendly chemicals. This equipment, coupled with the added labor of cleaning and handling bottles, would dramatically add to the costs associated with production, and thus, increase the cost on your end.
Instead of glass, we use recyclable HDPE plastic jugs, which are BPA/BPS Free. This plastic will not leach unless heated. We know some customers who prefer to transfer their milk into glass jars once they arrive home. If you are interested in harvesting your cream, then you will want to transfer the milk into a wider-mouth container in order to easily skim the cream off the top.
How can I get a Drop Point in my town?
We are always open to expanding our pool of customers and getting our products out to other parts of Western Wyoming! However, in order to make it worthwhile for us to establish a new Drop Point, we require a certain number of committed customers in your community. This number will depend on your town's distance from our farm. If you are interested in seeing a Drop Point added to your town, please email us at:
When you email us, we will let you know the feasibility of coming to your town and how many more committed customers we would need before adding your town to the schedule. Then, talk with your friends and neighbors and get them to email us as well. We keep track of all requests for new Drop Point locations.
Once we reach the targeted number, we will notify you and all of the other customers of the scheduled time. The biggest key is getting help from you to spread the word to more customers!
Is it Legal to Buy Raw Milk?
During the 2015 Wyoming State Legislative Session, the Wyoming State Legislature passed with overwhelming bi-partisan support the Wyoming Food Freedom Act (HB 56). It was later signed into law by Governor Matt Mead. This law makes it possible for producers to be able to sell food that is unlicensed or unregulated as long as it involves a single transaction between the producer and the informed end-consumer. Raw milk is one of the many foods included in this new law. The state currently does not have a program to license or inspect raw milk (or other foods covered in the law), but it does leave discretion and responsibility solely to producer and consumer. For this reason, we take very seriously this enhanced freedom, but recognize that it brings great responsibility. That is why we beleive it is important for us to work hard in making sure we operate our own high-standard food safety program.
Federal regulations currently prohibit raw milk from being sold across state lines and so for now, raw milk sales are dependent on individual state laws. Fortunately, most states now have some form of law that allows for the legal sale of raw milk. This trend is growing and the Wyoming Food Freedom Act is one evidence of that growing interest in the local food freedom movement.
In short, raw milk sales are perfectly legal in the state of Wyoming. However, it may not be sold on a retail basis and a person may not purchase our milk and then use it to create a product that they then re-sell.
To read the full text of the Wyoming Food Freedom Act, CLICK HERE.
Why are Government Health Officials so Opposed to Raw Milk?
We wish we could answer that question, actually! Sadly, government health officials have been very cold to the idea of raw milk and discourage anyone from drinking it. They're biased views and opinions are rooted, unfortunately, in very old data and very old industry norms. The FDA consistently refuses to sit down with raw milk advocates. However, the tides are changing as more and more consumers educate themselves and demand a change to the national regulatory laws and statutes. While current officials may have a strong bias against raw milk, we believe that future officials will be more open-minded due to consumer-driven changes. This is how we will ultimately affect change in this arena.
So, in short, while government health and food officials do oppose raw milk and discourage people consuming it, you'll have to decide for yourself whether you'll listen to bureaucratic government agents who may have never set foot on a dairy farm, or if you'll make your decisions based on new studies and scientific evidence, along with the testimonials of hundreds of thousands of raw milk consumers and advocates who have ample anecdotal evidence to show the positive, dramatic effects on their health. You decide.
My Raw Milk Soured. What Should I Do?
If your milk has soured before the stamped expiration date, you may return it either for a full refund or exchange it for a new container of equal size. However, here's a little secret: Raw milk never technically "goes bad"! While it will sour, the souring process is simply the milk converting into a new product. Raw milk is a living food and because of that, it won't last forever. But because of the fact it is a living food is the reason it's so good for you! Essentially, raw milk, because of the natural bacteria and enzymes, is able to morph on its own through a natural process and is essentially trying to become cheese. Pasteurized milk loses those natural properties which prevent the milk from changing into another natural product. Instead, it molds and can be harmful if consumed. Raw milk, if consumed sour, would not harm you.
Now, no one wants to drink sour milk, so here are some things you can do with it:
Bake with it! Soured raw milk is fantastic for baking.
Make smoothies out of it.
Use it for making kefir.
Skim the cream off the top, and store it a bit longer to make sour cream!
Feed it to pets, they will love it, and it will be super healthy for them!
Use it as plant fertilizer.
To see a cool experiment conducted by Organic Pastures Dairy in California (a fellow raw-milk dairy), CLICK HERE! It shows you how different types of pasteurized milk looks compared to raw milk after sitting out at room temperature for a while! It will blow your mind!