by Alyssa Kiefer
Rick Anglin grew up on a dairy farm; his father was a dairyman and instilled a love for dairy cows in Rick since a very young age. He bought his first cow - a Brown Swiss, the same breed found on his farm today - at age 16. Rick followed in his family’s footsteps as a traditional dairy farmer, but he sold his 650-cow farm in 2012 and started over with a brand new facility built specifically for raw milk production that opened in July 2014. “Getting out of large-scale, commercial dairy life was a no-brainer for me,” says Rick. “I love cattle; I love working with cows,” but he felt the large farm was too impersonal. Today, Rick and his family own and operate Fond du Lac Farms as a raw milk dairy in Casa Grande, Arizona.
At Fond du Lac Farms, 30 Brown Swiss cows -each one with a name, not a number- are milked twice a day. Brown Swiss cows are notoriously high-yield milk producers with high protein and fat contents to promote a nutrient-dense milk. This breed also retains A2 beta-casein, a protein that has mutated to A1 beta-casein in other dairy breeds such as European Holsteins and Jerseys. A2 beta-casein is proven to be easier to digest, and is naturally occurring in both goat and human milks.
Raw, unpasteurized milk is packaged directly upon removal from the cow, whereas pasteurized milk is flash-heated to remove all bacteria and natural enzymes before it is packaged for sale. This pasteurization is used to bring the milk to specified Food and Drug Administration (FDA) safety standards; raw milk therefore reaches FDA standards without processing. This indicates a healthier source; Fond du Lac Farms prides its reputation on its healthy dairy cows that are raised without any added hormones or antibiotics. Rick says monitoring the cow’s health is simultaneously an “art and a science,” and that it has been a journey to reach the standards he prides himself in. He says he specializes in the “3 C’s” necessary for a quality product: “cattle, chemistry, and cleanliness.”
Without pasteurization, raw milk retains 100% of all vitamins, minerals, calcium, and proteins (including 22 amino acids and 8 essential amino acids) that are otherwise lost or altered during the pasteurization process. Raw milk also retains naturally-occurring lactase, which is removed during pasteurization and necessary for the intestinal tract to digest lactose, the main carbohydrate in milk and milk products. That means raw milk is able to be digested even by those suffering from lactose intolerance! It seems the only benefit of pasteurized milk is its longer shelf life; raw milk is best used within 2 weeks. But as with all foods - fresher is better!
Raw cow milk is legal to be sold in retail stores in 11 states, including Arizona, although the inter-state sale of raw milk is federally illegal as per the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Consumption of raw milk, however, is legal in all 50 states. In Arizona, Fond du Lac Farms raw milk is sold various places statewide, including every Sprout’s Farmers Market location. It is also available at Aqua Vita, New Life Health Centers, and the Food Conspiracy Co-Op in Tucson, Arizona. Healthy Habit Health Food Store and La Grande Orange stock the milk in Phoenix. In Sedona, head to Rinzai’s Market; in Prescott you can find Fond du Lac raw milk sold by the Honey Man.
Rick Anglin recently joined Local First Arizona as a business member, and already finds it “a really good fit for us and the business.” As an Arizona local born and raised, he connected with the ideals that Local First Arizona exhibits and the strong support they provide to local businesses, business owners, and local products. He looks forward to the camaraderie and socialization opportunities that Local First Arizona offers; as a busy independent farmer, he is excited to meet more “people of the same order” as himself and his family. Rick also looks forward to the increased exposure being a member will provide in social media and events put on by the nonprofit, such as the recent Food and Farm Finance Forum in Tucson, Arizona. Fond du Lac farms is also member of A Campaign for Real Milk (listed in their Real Milk Finder) and Raw Milk Institute, a coalition of raw milk dairies across the country.
Fond du Lac Farms has gained the attention of several local eyes, including Edible Baja Arizona who featured an article written by Debbie Weingarten in their most recent issue. Edible Phoenix also did a feature in December 2014. Fond du Lac was also previously featured in Phoenix Magazine highlighting Arizona dairies (August 2015) and on Fox10 Phoenix (March 20, 2015) in a segment supporting the health benefits of raw milk. Find Fond du Lac Farms on Good Food Finder and follow them on Facebook at @FDLFarms and Instagram at @fonddulacfarms.
“A Campaign for Real Milk” https://www.realmilk.com/real-milk-finder/arizona/
Arizona State Legislature 3-606 http://milk.procon.org/sourcefiles/arizona-raw-milk-code.pdf
"Former Ahwatukee Resident Opens Dairy for Unpasteurized Milk" by Allison Hurtado. Ahwatukee Foothills News. August 14, 2014. http://www.ahwatukee.com/money/article_1a7a3f30-2271-11e4-a224-0019bb2963f4.html
“The Battle in the Bottle” by Debbie Weingarten. Edible Baja Arizona. May/June 2017 Issue no. 24. http://ediblebajaarizona.com/the-battle-in-the-bottle
“Dairying in the Desert” by Christine Hyatt. Edible Phoenix. December 1, 2014. http://ediblephoenix.ediblecommunities.com/what-drink/dairying-desert
Fond du Lac Farms http://www.fonddulacfarms.com
“Lactose Intolerance by Ethnicity” http://milk.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000661
“Milking It” by Leah LeMoine. Phoenix Magazine: Valley News. August 2015. http://www.phoenixmag.com/valley-news/milking-it.html
Personal phone interview with Rick Anglin: May 30, 2017 at 12:39pm. Duration: 25 minutes
“Raw Milk Laws State-by-State” http://milk.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=005192