Farmers Markets : Caroline Wright 31 October 2009

First published in Features

WHEN heading to your local farmers’ market there are certain things that you expect to find on the stalls – good quality veg and meat, lovingly baked bread and cakes, delicious jams and preserves, locally-grown fruit, maybe handmade cheese.

One thing that you might not expect to see is bottles of milk – and unpasteurised at that. But it’s on sale at a number of markets now that Beaconhill Farm, Bosbury, near Ledbury, has joined the farmers’ market group.

Unpasteurised milk, you ask?

Surely that isn’t healthy? Well, the answer is quite the opposite.

Pasteurisation is a specific heat treatment process first invented to kill tuberculosis in milk.

The milk is heated and held at a high temperature for a specific period of time. This action kills the majority of any bacteria present but also destroys many of the natural proteins and enzymes which new research suggests are beneficial to your health.

The main reason for pasteurisation today is, according to farm owner John Barron, to prolong the shelf life of milk, rather than for any healthy reasons. But is there a risk to drinking unpasteurised milk?

He says: “Absolutely not. We have been specially approved to sell this milk and this means we have had to pass rigorous hygiene inspections at a much higher frequency and level than ordinary dairy farmers. Our milk is filtered and is extremely clean.

In may cases it is shown to be cleaner than pasteurised milk.

“There are many health benefits to drinking our milk.

Recent studies published in the medical profession’s journal The Lancet showed that children drinking unpasteurised milk did not suffer from allergies. There is growing evidence that unpasteurised milk is better for your digestive tract and helps to fight against many common ailments, from eczema to asthma.

“It also tastes like real milk should. It is full of flavour and, once you have tried some, you will never go back to pasteurised.”

Mr Barron and his ‘right-hand man’ Katrina Lacey attend Royal Worcester and Malvern farmers’ markets, where they also sell unpasteurised cream.

Today’s market is at Little Heath Garden Centre, Bromsgrove, where you can try your hand at pumpkin carving for Halloween.

Tomorrow, head along to Royal Worcester Porcelain, Worcester, from 10am until 2pm. Next weekend’s market is in Victoria Square, Droitwich, from 9am to 2pm, on Saturday, November 7.

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