Meet Ginger the Happy Cow


Bill and I have been on the fence about raw milk for awhile now. Turns out, even though he’s allergic to cow dairy, it’s the pasteurization, which apparently alters the milk protein molecule, that creates the allergy for him. Raw milk poses no problem, as we learned when we got a friend’s spare share of milk and made ice cream.

The issue isn’t whether or not to consume raw milk. Instead, it’s finding a local source that is convenient to make it an easy resource for us to procure.

Luckily, we found Ginger in Bangor, Michigan. A Jersey cow–known for buttery milk –she’s the charge of Matt Steele, who is offering cow shares for people interested in raw milk.

I think it’s important to know your farmer, so when Matt invited interested cow share contributors to visit over the weekend, Bill and I took advantage of the opportunity. Matt is a graduate of Michigan State University with a degree in food microbiology and knowledge of the FDA’s Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HAACP) food safety management system.

Ginger was in the milk house when we arrived but eagerly came to meet us, munch on some hay, and head out to the pasture to visit the other cows.

Matt Steele with Ginger

Her calf, Carmello, was born October 12 of this year.

Not only did we get to meet Ginger, but we also sampled some of her milk products: raw milk, cream cheese, and paneer (a fresh cheese used in Indian cooking).

From left: Yogurt, raw milk showing cream separation, raw milk before cream is separated

Cream cheese made from raw milk

Paneer, a fresh cheese, fried in spices

I can’t wait to start making raw milk ice cream, butter, and yogurt–indulgences for Bill especially, who’s been limited to goat and sheep products in the dairy category.

If you live in West Michigan and you’re looking for a raw milk source, contact Matt Steele. There are still some shares available!

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6 responses to “Meet Ginger the Happy Cow

  1. That is one beautiful cow! And the cheeses are pretty gorgeous too!

    I’m very jealous that you have this option, Marcia. I’m going to nose around over here in southeast Michigan and see whether there’s anything like this going on here.

  2. Love this post, Marcia. Thanks for sharing! Oh, I have a soft spot for Carmello – what a cutie. I like Michigan more and more these days.

    • West Michigan, in particular, is beautiful especially with the sand dunes and Lake Michigan on our shore. We really have access to lots of great local food. (But they still haven’t quite figured out how to make a good hard roll!) I never thought I’d end up here from Jersey! But I do love the climate.

      Yes, Carmello was adorable. Still a baby! Thanks for your comment!

  3. I recently moved to West Michigan from California. Looking for locally sourced food and a cow share. We did eat at the Green Well and LOVED it!

    • For cow shares, try Green Pastures. We’re no longer seeing Ginger for our milk but there are options in Michigan. My blog has some good resources for local food. Lots of CSAs around here. Also, the West Michigan Co-op is another good source. There are some farmers markets that last through the winter, too. Good luck, and thanks for your comment!

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