Mill-King Market & Creamery
A food allergy inspires this family farm to rethink how it produces milk
Rhianna Miller thought she was allergic to milk. "I would be sick for two days after drinking a glass," she remembers. For 16 years she avoided milk and everything made from it. So when she ended up married to Craig Miller, a third-generation dairy farmer in McGregor, Texas, it became a huge family joke. "It just struck everyone as hilarious," Miller says. "Here was a dairyman married to a girl who was allergic to milk!"
Then a friend suggested that she try raw milk, which was easily done. Surprisingly, she found that she had no difficulty digesting it. "That is what got us started thinking about the way milk is produced, which in turn took us on a journey that eventually led us back to producing a much higher quality product," says Miller.
Mill-King now produces low-temperature pasteurized, nonhomogenized milk, which is far more digestible than conventionally pasteurized milk. Instead of being heated to 190 degrees for a few seconds, their milk is heated to 145 degrees for a full half hour. This kills any potential pathogens in the milk, but allows the beneficial enzymes, which are crucial to proper digestion, to be preserved. Homogenization is the process of evenly suspending the milkfat (cream) throughout the milk. It isn't necessary, and just about the only purpose it serves is to obscure the quality of the milk. Recently, scientists have been discovering evidence that homogenization may actually be harmful, because it allows microscopic globules of milkfat to cross into the bloodstream instead of being digested.
Mill-King sells milk ($7 a gallon, $4 a half-gallon), cream ($7 a pint), half-and-half ($5 a pint), and a variety of cheeses: Cheddar curds, Cheddar block, fresh Mozzarella, and aged raw milk cheese ($6 for 8 oz.). They also sell yogurt ($6 a pound) in vanilla, berry, mango, and plain flavors.
The demand for Mill-King products in Austin is tremendous, so much so that the Millers can barely keep up. Currently all their products are available at the Sunset Valley Farmers Market, the Republic Square SFC Market, the Cedar Park Farmers Market, the HOPE Farmers Market, the Mueller Farmers Market, and the Lone Star Farmers Market. Whole Foods Market, People's Pharmacy, In.gredients, and Wheatsville, among others, also carry Mill-King milk, and it is available through Greenling and Farmhouse Delivery.