Oct 2012 29

by Kristin Canty

Rawesome, Venice, CA

[The Third And Final Multi-Agency Rawesome Raid]

In the movie, Farmageddon…The Unseen War on American Family Farms, one of the stories covered was of a raid that occurred in Venice, CA, at a private food buying club called Rawesome. Whenever I was lucky enough to be in the vicinity and able to visit this club, it was like being a kid in a candy store…or, well, a raw foods lover in a raw foods store!

I was able to buy raw dairy products such as grass fed yogurt, butter, cream, cheese, and raw chocolate mousse – is that dairy? Raw meat and homemade delicacies such as ceviche and marinated raw meat salads were also available, along with salad dressings, pure olive and other freshly made oils, and a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and fermented drinks…all organic and raw.

This may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for me it was pure bliss. I was filming during one visit, and had the pleasure of having people come up to me to tell me their raw food healing stories. I heard many first person accounts of how the symptoms of diseases such as MS, Parkinson’s, cancer, arthritis, and other conditions, were alleviated greatly by a raw food diet.

Unfortunately, the FDA does not like stories of people being healed from food, and they don’t like raw foods in general. In the case of Rawesome Foods, multiple agencies (both local and federal) raided it three times. The last time, it was closed down. One of the club’s many suppliers, Sharon Palmer (a farmer who had provided raw goat milk for a time), the manager, James Stewart, and a Weston A Price Chapter leader, Victoria Bloch (who volunteered for Sharon), were all charged with multiple felonies. There were no actual felonies in the case, however, all three were charged with conspiring together to commit misdemeanor level offenses, which magically turned the charges into felonies.

[The Rawesome 3: Felonious Fresh Milk Dealers]

Thirteen months later, just before their preliminary hearing, Victoria Bloch and Sharon Palmer were both offered plea deals, which they accepted. Victoria pled guilty to one misdemeanor count of selling unlabeled milk and accepted a $100 fine and two years’ summary probation. Sharon Palmer pled guilty to one misdemeanor count of storing milk in unsanitary conditions, since on the day she was raided she was milking her goats to feed her livestock (Rawesome had picked up their milk up a day earlier). She received a $1,300 fine, 40 hours of community service, and three years’ summary probation. Both Victoria and Sharon would have preferred to have taken this case to a jury trial. But unfortunately, neither had the money to cover the high cost of defending themselves in a trial that would have lasted at least two weeks, perhaps more. James is still in jail, as he was considered a flight risk, and is awaiting either trial or the opportunity to plead out of the case.

There is still a separate Ventura County case awaiting both James and Sharon. And there is a petition to set them free that was written by a Rawesome Foods club member. I fear that the Rawesome community has been torn apart by these circumstances. No one ever became sick from foods they had gotten at Rawesome Foods. Certainly, nobody ever complained about having access to some of the freshest, most delicious foods available. And nobody ever complained about the fresh goats milk Sharon provided to the club, as well as to a few of her own farm’s CSA members. On the contrary, I met happy, vibrant, healthy people who enjoyed the foods they sourced from these two wonderful people.

If you would like to learn more or help, please read and sign the petition.


Meadowsweet Farm, Lodi, NY

Steve and Barbara Smith, farmers in upstate New York were raided and shut down by New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets for their private buying club that provided raw milk, yogurt and cheese to many happy customers.

They went to court after the shutdown, and hoped a judge would find that the Department of Agriculture & Markets did not have authority over their private buying club. Unfortunately, the judge ruled against them, and said that the Department of Agriculture & Markets did have authority to shut down their LLC.

They were therefore forced to dissolve their club. They then sold the entire herd to the former members of the club. Currently, Steve and Barbara are under contract with the owners of the herd to milk and maintain the herd for them. They have had this herd share for two years now and they have a waitlist of people that would like to join in on purchasing a share. Unfortunately it is very difficult to obtain raw milk, so farms that supply it often have long waiting lists of customers.

In New York, as in every state except Wisconsin, it is legal to drink milk from your own cow and since the members own the cows, hopefully the Department of Agriculture & Markets willrespect that and leave them alone from now on.

The demand for raw dairy products is not going to go away, so hopefully more farms and farmers like Meadowsweet will pop up! We are thinking of the Smith family and their farm as the drought hit them hard and they had to sell off their beef herd in order to have enough hay to keep the dairy going through the winter.

For more information visit:


For background information on this, please go to, and watch the documentary, Farmageddon…The Unseen War On American Family Farms.

Related Posts
Multi-Agency Armed Rawesome Raid: Major Controlled Substance / Health Food Cartel Arrested
SG Interview with Kristin Canty – Farmageddon