Milk and honey is a metaphor meaning “all good things” – abundance and prosperity.
Milk is a symbol for life. As we know babies drink only milk in the early months of life. Milk is so versatile. We can make milk drinks, use it in cocktails or in cooking. It is also used to make yoghurt, butter and cheese. Honey is used as a sweetener in beverages, in recipes or on a sandwich or toast. Honey and banana are a great combination. I use honey regularly when I make a marinade for meat or chicken.
To produce milk and honey there are mutual relationships at work. Cows need grass. They need good pastures to produce a good supply of milk. Then there are bees and flowers. Bees go in search of nectar and pollen which they collect to feed the colony. As the bees move from flower to flower they drop a little pollen. There are some plants that rely entirely on the bees pollination for their survival. We planted a row of Callistemon (wildfire) near our back border and this year they are flowering profusely. Food for the bees.
Milk and honey have been on the lips of people for a while. Firstly, due to the $1 litre milk at Coles and Woolworth’s. Are farmers getting a fair deal when multinational companies sell their branded milk to customers for $1 a litre? It is a complex task to work out just how much farmers get for their milk. While the milk is sold to consumers for a low price, this is offset by increasing prices for yoghurt, cheese and butter so farmers get a decent price for their milk. However, some farmers think the price paid for their milk is too low and this has been the motivation behind some dairy farmers processing their own milk. One example of this is Maleny Dairies. When living in Maleny we got all our milk and yoghurt directly from the dairy not far from our place. Maleny Dairies full cream milk can be bought online through Coles. Some Woolworth’s store sell their milk and you can buy the yoghurt online. There is a great success story behind the Maleny Dairies label.
Looking at the bigger picture in Queensland the suppliers for Coles supermarket private label milk is Lion (far north and west) and Norco (south-east). Lion is owned by a Japanese company and they also produce Dairy Farmers, Pura and The Complete Dairy brand milks. Norco is a cooperative based in Lismore and they also produce the Norco brand milk. Woolworth’s milk suppliers are Parmalat, an Italian company owned by French dairy giant Lactalis. They also produce Pauls brand milk. Then, what milk should we buy? I expect that families are looking for value and it is easy to reach for the $1 a litre milk, the cheaper brand. Other supermarkets such as IGA are independently owned stores but their supplier is Metcash, a wholesale distribution and marketing company. Then there is Aldi with most of their products having the Aldi brand. Their range is not as extensive as Coles or Woolworth’s but that does not stop the “happy shoppers” flowing in and out of their supermarket doors. I have made a few more trips to Aldi lately and for convenience once I picked up a 2-litre lite milk – not my favourite.
Then there is honey – we now know that many well-known brand names of Australian honey have sold us adulterated honey! We now know there has been a practice to bulk up the honey with products such as corn or rice syrup from places like China. Makes sense to buy honey from a farmer’s market, 100% pure honey.
If you are like me and want to make sure we are supporting our farmers, then buy products from places such as Maleny Dairies or an Australian owned cooperative like Norco. Watch the short video about dairy farmers Jim and Debbie.
Moving on to coffee lovers…when you buy your coffee do you know where they are sourcing their milk? Ask your Barista. I rarely drink coffee so I don’t have that dilemma! In Toowoomba there are café’s popping up all over the place. One of the latest is Milk & Honey.
Then what about honey. While honey is high in sugar, it is a natural product and is better for us than sugar! But then, what about all the farmers that grow sugar cane? There is a lot of sugar cane grown in Queensland. My O&O likes sugar is his tea and sugar crystals in his coffee, so he makes up for me. I stopped having sugar or honey in my beverages decades ago.
Am I living in the land of milk and honey? I must be as the café Milk & Honey is a short car ride or cycling distance from our place. If I get on my bicycle and point it in the right direction then I will be in the land of milk and honey, enjoying “all good things” – is it really that simple?