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Postcard: Raw Milk, Roadside

In search of raw milk during a two-day bike ride in New Zealand.

Sung Han

5:07 p.m. GMT+12 | Georgetown-Pukeuri Road, New Zealand — We’re nearing the end of a two-day bike ride across New Zealand’s South Island, and I’ve passed enough cows to know this is dairy country. Kiwis are the largest exporters of dairy in the world, and rumor has it that their milk is good. But best when raw, more than one person’s told me. Illegal to sell in many parts of the world, raw milk can be purchased here by law from any farmer directly (as long as it’s produced for that purpose). We see a farm and I encourage the stop. We’re out of water and my legs could use the break anyway. I knock on the door of a small house and a woman opens up. I ask for water before I pop the question: “Any chance you have some raw milk?” I feel stupid and can tell that this woman is weirded out. But she says she’s going to call the owner of the farm to ask permission. It’s not something they usually do.

She returns with the OK and leads us up a dirt road to the milking parlor. She says her name is Ana, lightening up a bit. We’re in luck, she says — milk just went into the vat. A man with an English accent greets us, whom Ana introduces as Chris. “You here to try some raw milk, are you?” he says, sounding excited. He pulls a lever on the vat without warning and milk spouts out. I grab my water bottle and place it under the stream, soaking my glove. I don’t care. I take a sip, then another. I down my whole bottle and ask for another. I don’t even consider that I have a ride to finish.

Photo Info: Canon 5D | f/4.0 | 1/80 | ISO 400


A postcard is always a pleasant surprise, particularly in an era of Instagram and SMS pics. We don’t have enough postage for our entire readership, but our new bite-sized series, Postcards lightly details the who, what, when, where and why. It’s a simple, and effective, premise. Whether they’re based on a life-changing subject or just a strange one, shot with a Red Epic or an iPhone, we hope you find these little moments more genuine than the stock images you’re used to seeing opposite of the Xs and Os.

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