Made by Cow, the first raw milk to be legally sold in Australia, has completely sold out.
Following the approval of cold pressurisation as a safe method of removing harmful bacteria from raw milk by the New South Wales Food Authority, 3000 750ml bottles of Made by Cow's Cold Pressed Raw Milk hit the fridges of Harris Farm and About Life stores in the state last Thursday. Within 24 hours most stores had sold out of the product. Now the team is "furiously milking" to keep up with demand, says Made by Cow founder Saxon Joye. "In a way, we could have never prepared for this. We have major supply issues that we really need to solve."
Joye has worked in food manufacturing for almost 20 years, but turned his attention to raw milk a few years ago, set on developing a "time and pressure recipe" that could make raw milk safe without compromising on flavour. Up until now, milk had to be heated to at least 72 degrees to destroy any nasty bacteria. "There are so many things that happen now that take milk further from the cow," he says. "The idea behind it was to create milk that was less messed with and less processed."
The untreated milk undergoes a cold water pressurisation method to kill bacteria. Rather than any heat pasteurisation or homogenisation, which often dulls the flavour and can deplete nutrients, the bottles are put under intense water pressure for several minutes. "We have demonstrated equivalent safety standards to heat pasteurisation," says Joye. "It's literally like drinking raw milk, although with the added safety factor built in."
All Made by Cow milk comes fresh from a single, 250-head Jersey herd in Numbaa, near Berry, the birthplace of dairy in New South Wales. The milk goes from the dairy to a bottling station, and then the bottles are transported to Homebush in Sydney where the water pressurisation method begins.
While Made By Cow might look at increasing the herd or working with other farms in the future to keep up with demand, Joye says it's not something that can happen overnight.
"It's been terribly difficult proving the science and all the things that are needed to bring this product to market," he says. "We want a beautifully fed cow who is healthy and happy, excellent herd management and hygienic milk practices. There's a lot of work in that."
So is there enough raw milk to go around? And when can folks get their next taste?
In short, yes, there's plenty, and very soon. Made by Cow has increased its production this week, and all stores (and likely many more) will be restocked as soon as possible. "We're a start-up and we're small-batch, but you can produce a lot with 250 cows," says Joye. "You also just never know if something you think is great is going to be perceived the same way out there in the world. It's a lovely problem to have."