Raw Milk

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Stop by the stands at your local farmer's market or talk to the dairy aisle clerk at the natural foods grocery store, and you'll be treading on thin ice. They have what you want, but you'll have to be cagey about how you ask for it. "Do you have raw milk," you'll say, quickly adding "for my pet?" Phew. Dodged a legal bullet, there.

Raw milk adherents note that pasteurization destroys enzymes, denatures proteins and reduces the vitamin content of this wholesome beverage. Better yet, raw milk comes largely from local producers, some small enough to keep a few cows or goats in their back yard, which means the animals are usually grass-fed, antibiotic free and don't undergo any of the nastier practices common at factory dairies. And it tastes good.

Raw milk is illegal for human consumption in Florida, however, hence the need for wink-nudge shenanigans. Illegal, or not, you can find raw milk at most organic and natural foods groceries. One of our favorite providers — Tilted Halo Ranch (813-818-0305) — sells its product at Nature's Food Patch in Clearwater (under "The Dancing Goat" label) and sets up shop at the Saturday Morning Market in St. Pete and the Sunday Sweetwater Organic Market.

And hey, there's nothing stopping you from actually feeding it to your pets, too.

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