I have a weakness for dairy — butter, cheese, ice cream and just plain old milk. I once owned a cow share from Avery’s Branch Farms — in Virginia, you have to buy a “share” of a cow because it’s illegal to sell raw milk — but one daughter turned out to be lactose intolerant, so we had to stop getting it. It was the best glass of milk I’ve ever had.
Pasteurized milk from small farms that raise dairy cows on grass the old-fashioned way comes very close. Usually heritage breeds, these cows produce richer milk with more butterfat. Virginia has a number of outstanding dairy farms. Here in Richmond, you can easily find products from two — Homestead Creamery and Old Church Creamery.
One restaurant wants to show you how much better dairy can taste. On Sunday Aug. 9, from 2-4 p.m., Saison will hold an Old Church Creamery milk and yogurt tasting, with the dairy's Sean Eubank on hand to answer questions. The farm raises Jersey cows, a breed of smaller, cuter cows — not that cuteness should be a factor — that produces a lot of extra creamy milk relative to their size.
“We will be making some espresso drinks as well to showcase that baller butterfat that Jersey milk provides," Saison owner Jay Bayer says. "I'm still holding out hope for an on-site cow!"