It's All About The Milk
For a raw milk cheesemaker, the quality and integrity of the milk is essential. As a farmstead cheesemaker we have the luxury of controlling every step of the process.
Our milking parlor is a swing twelve -- twelve cows on each side and a row of milkers down the middle, milkers "swung" from a milked cow to a unmilked one as quickly as she's finished. This lets us milk 140 cows in under an hour — the least time possible on concrete. Because they change fields every 12 hours, the cows come into the parlour very clean, but nevertheless all the cows are pre-dipped and inspected before the machines go on.
The milking system itself was designed in Ireland to keep good udder health in the cows and maintain high milk quality. The cows' health is monitored closely; we treat only a handful of cows every year, but when there is a problem, we respond to it quickly. If there's any question of quality from a day's milk, the milk is dumped rather than used.
The result? Our microbiological requirement is a maximum SPC (standard plate count) of 10,000 -- ten times lower than the requirements for pasteurized milk -- and we routinely test lower than half of that.