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Milk and beer come locally grown, too

September 19th, 2008 · 2 Comments · local food

As long as I’m talking about local wine, I might as well mention some other locally grown beverages.


bottle of Iwig milk, one-quarter fullWe’ve had something of an embarrassment of riches in the local milk department here, what with Iwig and Green Hills Harvest available. Iwig is available at the supermarkets and the Community Mercantile; I’ve only seen GHH at the Merc. What a dilemma: Buy milk from Iwig, which is closer and 20 cents more expensive, or from GHH, which is organic and pastured. Both are in reusable glass and require deposits.

My dilemma was solved for a while this summer because the Green Hills Harvest milk went bad long before the sell-by date. Iwig wasn’t consistently keeping well, either, but it did better than GHH. I spoke with a cooler person at the Merc about it. He was nice and apologized and traded my stinky milk for a new jug, but I never got a clear sense of whether the problem developed at the Merc or at the farm. In any case, cooler temps are now prevailing, and I trust I can buy either and hope it will last.

In the meantime, the KC Star ran a raw-milk article this week, the first I’ve seen locally on the raw-milk subculture. In case you like to drive for your (raw) milk, I was surprised to see how many Kansas farms sell their milk on site. You can find yours at (And damn if the Kansas Department of Agriculture isn’t back at trying to keep dairies from labeling their milk as being from cows not subjected to rBGH. But that’s another story for another day.)


I guess everyone around here knows that locally brewed beer is available at the Free State Brewing Co., and some people know about the 23rd St. Brewery. But did you know about the Lawrence Brewers Guild? I didn’t, until the other day at Jensen Retail Liquor, my friendly neighborhood booze emporium. (It says something to that effect on its sign.)

I was in buying a bottle of wine and there, on the counter, was a plateful of hops, although I had to ask to confirm that that was what they were.

(They’re pretty, don’t you think?) Owner Jeff Jensen confirmed that they were indeed hops, and I told him that I’d seen identical items growing behind the fence of a neighbor. Turns out Jeff’s brewing partner lives there, and Jeff got the rhizomes for the vines. Thus began a discussion of hops—there’s a shortage, you know—and beer-brewing. (You’d think if you owned the store you wouldn’t need to brew your own, but who am I to say?)

Free drinks?

So far, I haven’t been able to snag free wine, milk or beer the way I’ve managed free tomatoes, cherries, plums, eggplant, apples, pears and whatnot this year. But that’s OK. At least I can buy local versions any time I want!

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2 Comments so far ↓

  • Ellie

    Janet, did you see the article about raw unpasteurized milk in Harpers magazine last year? Fascinating. All about the legality and health concerns. A few people in an unnamed Amish community were actually arrested. Personally, i think it tastes great.

  • Janet Majure

    I missed that, Ellie. The first I heard about it was in Real Food by Nina Planck. I ran into a woman yesterday who sells raw milk and had a good conversation about it. I just may have to try it one of these days.