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'Milk Cow Blues': Enthusiasts Seek the Raw Stuff

Tucked away in the vanishing farm country on the outskirts of ever-spreading Indianapolis, the Apple family and their neighbors have created a kind of fellowship of milking. The Kitchen Sisters tell the story of the Apples' efforts to bring raw milk to their community.

Story Notes

The only way to obtain fresh milk in Indiana is to own a cow.

The 53 families who take home jugs of raw milk from Mark and Debbie Apple's farm are not customers, despite the fact that their farm has 11 milk cows. Nearly a year after state health officials issued a cease-and-desist order, the Apples still milk cows — and people still take home unpasteurized milk.

The Apples have clarified that their "customers" actually own shares of the cows. The Apples simply provide room and board. Those technical changes are the Apples' way of defending the rights of raw milk enthusiasts who laud its reputed health benefits.

Run by third-generation farmers in McCordsville, Ind., the Apple Family Farm is dedicated to farming naturally, without chemicals, hormones or unnecessary antibiotics. Chickens, beef and sheep are raised on the farm, which aims to provide healthful food, protect the environment — and enrich the community.

To learn more about The Apple Family Farm and this subject, follow the links in our resources section to a variety of sites and articles.

-- The Kitchen Sisters (Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva)

Special thanks to: the Apple Family Farm; The Trader's Point Creamery; Traders Point Green Market in Zionsville, Ind.; and the Indiana Cow-share Association.

Music in This Story

The following songs were heard in this story:

· "Bolero," composed and performed by Maurice Ravel (1928) on Mauric Ravel: The Composer as Pianist And Conductor, Pierian Records — The Caswell Collection Vol. 4.

· "Milk Cow Blues Boogie," performed by Elvis Presley, on Sunrise Elvis Presley, Sun Records.

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The Kitchen Sisters (Davia Nelson & Nikki Silva) are producers of the duPont-Columbia Award-winning, NPR series, Hidden Kitchens, and two Peabody Award-winning NPR series, Lost & Found Sound and The Sonic Memorial Project. Hidden Kitchens, heard on Morning Edition, explores the world of secret, unexpected, below-the-radar cooking across America—how communities come together through food. The series inspired Hidden Kitchens: Stories, Recipes, and More from NPR's The Kitchen Sisters, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year that was also nominated for a James Beard Award for Best Writing on Food. The Hidden Kitchens audio book, narrated by Academy Award winner, Frances McDormand, received a 2006 Audie Award.