Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund
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Defending the rights and broadening the freedoms of family farms and protecting
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Local farmer touts benefits of raw milk

By Phil Devitt |

WESTPORT — Sandi Porter says that, despite reports to the contrary, there is nothing wrong with drinking raw milk.

Saturday, she opened her goat farm to the public and told visitors why.

Lyons Brook Farm at 76 Drift Road was one of nine farms statewide open for free tours as part of Raw Milk Dairy Day, organized by the Northeast Organic Farming Association.

Porter raises alpine and nubian dairy goats at her small farm on the Westport River, and sells the raw, unpasteurized milk to the public.

"Raw milk is very important," Porter said. "Children need it who have Crohn's disease (intestinal inflammation) and milk allergies that don't allow them to drink pasteurized milk. It has benefits."

Some people praise raw milk for its protein, minerals and bacteria that make it digestible, but pasteurization advocates say raw milk potentially carries dangerous, disease-ridden bacteria.

Raw Milk Dairy Day allows farmers to explain the benefits to a larger audience, Porter said.

Throughout the day, curious people stopped by the small farm for tours of the doe and kid barns. Most of Porter's goats leapt up on their hind legs and leaned against their stalls to greet visitors, much to the delight of several small children touring the property Saturday afternoon. Visitors also watched milking demonstrations and watched the goats get fitted for agricultural shows.

Porter feeds her goats from infancy, which makes raising the animals easier because "they think you are their mother," she said.

Porter said milk inspectors with the Department of Agriculture Resources test her milk regularly for problems.

Winton Pitcoff, the raw milk network coordinator for NOFA and organizer of Raw Milk Dairy, praised farmers last week for producing an "excellent product" and contributing to the state's economy and environment.

According to NOFA, there are 26 raw milk farms across Massachusetts. Lyons Brook Farm was the only state goat farm open for Saturday's event.

Porter started raising goats in 1998, when she was getting ready to retire from a nearly 40-year teaching career.

"I traded two-legged kids for four-legged kids," the former Westport Elementary School teacher said.

For more information about the raw milk at Lyons Brook Farm, contact Porter at (508) 636-2552

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