Where to Get Raw Milk

Many people are wondering where to get raw milk. Unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as going to farmers markets and grabbing a gallon. Let’s talk about where you can find fresh milk for sale near you.

goat's milk rough and tumble farmhouse

What is raw milk?

Raw milk is simply milk that has not been pasteurized. This means it has not been heated to a certain point to kill off all bacteria, both good and bad, within the milk. Pasteurized milk must come from facilities that are inspected, and the process of pasteurization has to be completed by a person who has a certificate in operating a pasteurizer. 

Depending on your state law, raw milk often comes straight from a farm or undergoes little to no processing.  

Raw milk may come from a cow, goat, sheep, camel, etc. However, some states differentiate between the different kinds. They may allow raw goat’s milk sales but not cow’s. 

Raw Milk in the United States

Unfortunately for most people in the United States, local raw milk can be difficult to get your hands on. This is because raw milk is subject to state’s raw milk laws and state regulations. It may or may not be legal in your state. It may also be kind of legal if you go about getting it the right way.

First, let’s break down the states and what the legalities of raw milk are in each. Once you have found your state, continue below to learn more about what that means and how you can get your hands on some fresh raw milk!

Please note this information is accurate as of December 12, 2023. I will update it as necessary. A big thank you to Real Milk for having this great information available on their interactive map!  If you’d like to dive deeper into raw milk in general I recommend checking out their other resources. 

pouring milk rough and tumble farmhouse

Raw Milk Laws by State

Alabama-Raw pet milk sales are legal.

Alaska-Raw Milk, yogurt, kefir, cheese, cream, ice cream, and cream cheese is legal directly to the consumer. Herd shares are legal. Retail sale is also legal if the facility is inspected and regulated.

Arizona-Herdshares are illegal. However, retail is sale is legal as well as cream, butter, yogurt, and kefir. It must be permitted. 

Arkansas-On farm sales of raw milk is legal. No permits are required. 

California-Raw milk sales are available retail as well as butter, cream, and kefir. Must be permitted.

Colorado-Herdshares are legal, as well as delivery to herdshare customers. 

Connecticut-Herdshares and retail sales of milk are legal. Must be permitted.

Delaware– Sale of raw milk is illegal. However it can be sold as “pet food” if the producer is registered.

Florida-Sale of raw milk is illegal. It and other raw milk products can be sold as “pet food” but registration by the producer is required.

Georgia-Direct to consumer sales of milk are allowed if the seller is permitted. Pet food sales are legal but the producer must be registered with that as well.

Hawaii-Illegal and not allowed even for sale as pet food.

Idaho-Retail sales are allowed if the producer is permitted. Herdshares are also allowed if the producer is permitted. Direct to consumer sales are also allowed so long as they only have a few dairy animals. 

Illinois-On farm sales are legal if producer is permitted

Indiana-Raw pet milk may be sold and hershares are not illegal or legal, so they can operate in that loophole

Iowa-Raw milk and any raw dairy product is legal for on farm sale and even delivered direct to customers so long as the farm has no more than ten animals in milk production.

Kansas-On farm sales are okay as well as raw butter, cream, yogurt, kefir, and unaged cheeses. 

Kentucky-Herdshares are legal and goat milk sales if you have a note from a doctor.

Louisiana-Herdshares seem to be your only option. No laws in the books for or against them so it seems to operate in that loophole.

Maine – Unlicensed sales of raw milk and dairy permits are allowed in towns that have passed a local food sovereignty ordinance. 

Maryland– Raw pet milk is legal if the producer is registered with the state.

Massachusetts-On farm sales are allowed, producer must be registered.

Michigan-Available by herdshare.

Minnesota-On farm sales legal.

Mississippi-Herdshares are legal. On farm goat milk sales permissible if no more than nine goats are being milked at a time. 

Missouri-On farm sales and delivery are okay for milk and cream. Permitted producers can also sell at places like farmers markets, though retail sales are illegal. 

Montana-Direct to consumer sales are legal so long as the farmer doesn’t have too many lactating animals of any one kind at a time.

Nebraska-On-farm sales of milk and cream are legal.

Nevada-Illegal. Pet milk too.

New Hampshire-Retail yogurt, kefir, cream, and milk is legal under a permit. On farm, farmers markets, and farm stands are allowed even if you are unregulated. Dang New Hampshire, way to go!

New Jersey-Pet milk sales are legal.

New Mexico-Herdshares aren’t illegal or legal so they operate! Raw cream and milk allowed for retail sales if the producer is permitted.

New York-On farm sales are legal so long as the seller has a permit.

North Carolina-Herdshares are legal. Pet milk sales are legal but must have permitted labels.

North Dakota-Raw dairy products are legal through herdshares.

Ohio-Raw milk and raw milk products are legal through herdshare. Pet milk is also legal under a permit.

Oklahoma-On farm sales are legal under a certain amount per month.

Oregon-Unlicensed on farm sales are allowed under a certain amount of lactating animals. Goat and sheep milk as well as cream is legal to be sold retail.

Pennsylvania-On farm purchase is legal. Retail and restaurant sales are also legal under permits.

Rhode Island-Totally illegal.

South Carolina-Retail sales of milk are legal.

South Dakota-Milk and cream sales allowed on farm. Delivery is also legal.

Tennessee-Herdshares are legal, pet food sales legal under permit

Texas-In state of Texas raw milk products are legal if permited through the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Utah-Herdshares are legal under a certain amount of milking animals, on farm sales are legal for unlicensed producers under a certain amount of animals, retail sales are allowed through licensed producers.

Vermont-On farm sales legal, permited farmers may also sell at farmers market.

Virginia-Herdshares legal

Washington-Retail and restuarant sales legal under permits.

West Virginia-Herdshares legal if producer is registered with the state.

Wisconsin-On farm sales legal.

Wyoming-Herdshares legal, unregulated farmers can also sell on farms, direct to consumers are farmers markets, through delivery, and retail stores. 

Two young nubian goats sitting by a tree rough and tumble farmhouse

Defining Raw Milk Lingo

Pet Food

This means that the milk isn’t being sold for human consumption and is only for pets. WINK WINK. 


When I say “permitted” that means the farmer selling the milk has gone through some sort of inspection process through their state health department or similar, and have been given a permit/license/whatever that gives them permission to sell raw milk. This process and its exact definitions are going to vary by state.

Direct to Consumer

This means the milk can go straight from the dairy farm to the consumer. There can’t be a middle man like a restaurant, grocery store, etc. Whether or not this has to be picked up on the farm or not might vary from state to state. 

On Farm Sales

This is what the situation is in Minnesota. People can pick up milk from local farms but we can’t bring it to you or sell it anywhere else. If this is the situation in your state you will have to physically go to the farm where the milk is being produced and pick it up.

Retail Establishments

This is the dream! Raw milk is available at retail locations like grocery stores. I haven’t visited a state where I could just buy raw milk this way. However I have to imagine that you will need to seek out smaller grocers and local options. Bigger national chains won’t carry raw milk for liabiity reasons.

Herdshares and Cow Shares

This is a popular loophole in many states. How this works is you buy a share of a cow. Technically you and likely a few other families “own” this cow. Because it is your cow, the milk is yours to drink. You are paying money to the farmer to look after your cow, not for the milk itself.

Herdshare programs always have guidelines for how it will work on their particular farm. While you are technically the co-owner of a cow, you don’t actually have your own cow. If you decide to no longer get milk from the herdshare then your share of the cow will be sold to someone else.

​In some states they are able to have drop spots where milk is delivered in bulk. Other times you have to go on farm to get it. Some states and herdshares may even do home delivery.

Depending on the farm and its size you may or may not know which cow you own a share of. Heck they may not even know which cow you own a share of! I do know of some herdshares though where you can come out and visit your own cow.  

Home Delivery

This means exactly what it sounds like. Milk is delivered from the farm right to your door, just like in the old days! Again, what a dream. 

​Other Things to Know

In some states like Minnesota, advertising raw milk is illegal. You can’t put up a flyer or post on craiglist, etc. That means to find your raw milk source you will have to use word of mouth. Don’t be concerned if some people are tight-lipped about raw milk.

As you’ve probably noticed while looking at the wide range of raw milk’s legal status across the country, it can run the gamut from totally legal to very strictly illegal. Folks might be cautious about who they discuss their milk sales with, especially if they have to operate on the raw milk black market!

With on farm sales there might be rules about how that happens. In Minnesota for example you are required to bring your own jars. I can’t bottle up milk here on the farm and sell it to you. I have to pour it from my jars into yours. Other states might have weird little caveats like that too, so be sure to check in with your farmer about the process.

People don’t often realize it but milk has a growing season the same way veggies do. Some farms may only have raw dairy products available certain times of the year or just less product in general. 

Buying Raw Milk from a Farmer

If you live in a state where you are getting milk directly from small farms, there are a few key things you’ll want to look for to make sure you are getting the freshest milk possible from healthy milk cows 

Check out my guide to buying raw milk! 

Recipes for Raw Milk

fresh mozzarella cheese rough and tumble farmhouse

Now that you have your raw milk supply lined up, here are some great ways to use it.

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