Milk in the raw at Lemongrass

Today I stopped by Lemongrass natural foods market on Springwater Avenue in Wenatchee. Lemongrass has been in business about 19 months and is a boutique-style whole foods and supplement shop, owner Natalie Bennett told me.

Lemongrass owner Natalie Bennett

Bennett said that Lemongrass’s most popular products are supplements from Blue Bonnett, assorted nuts from CB’s Nuts from Kingston, Wa., honey from Lazy B Farm in Wenatchee and organic beer from Iron Horse Brewry in Ellensburg, Wa. They also have local wines from the Wenatchee and Yakima Valleys.

But it was the unpasteurized milk from Pride and Joy Dairy in Granger, Wa. that drew me to the store. Bennett is an advocate of raw milk and said she’s been drinking it her whole life. She said there’s a big movement to get back to whole foods and that raw milk has more health benefits.

“It’s raw so the enzymes are kept alive,” she said. “In my opinion milk that has been over processed isn’t even milk anymore.”

This brings up an interesting debate between people in the agricultural industry and it bears more investigation. I plan on speaking with USDA officials and commercial milk producers about the issue of pasteurization to get their take on the subject.

The sale of raw milk is only legal in 28 states and according to the FDA, in 2002, consuming unpasteurized milk made roughly 200 Americans ill. But in the name of journalism I’m going to take my chances and drink this milk. However at $7 a half-gallon, compared to roughly $2.79 for the pasteurized stuff, it is much more expensive for the raw milk.

But she said a lot of people come to the store specifically for the raw milk. Their coconut water is also a huge draw and she said she can hardly keep it in stock. But she said the almonds at $5.86 per pound are a good deal and their assortment of nuts brings people in as well.

Bennett said Lemongrass has about 35 customers on an average day and business is good but seeing that number double wouldn’t bother her any.

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