I slept a lot better last night, as did Richard and Annette Hebron.
Richard didn’t get home to Vandalia, MI, until about 11:30 last evening (Friday), dead tired after having been stuck in Detroit traffic for two hours, and Annette was nearly asleep, but they were both feeling pretty good. "This time he made it home without any problems," having made deliveries to Family Farms Cooperative members in Ann Arbor and Birmingham, Annette told me this morning.
What she meant was that this was a much better outcome than two weeks earlier, when he was stopped on his way to deliver raw milk and other products in Ann Arbor by Michigan State Police and inspectors from the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA), who served him with a search warrant and confiscated $7,000 worth of dairy and meat products, prior to serving Annette with a search warrant and rummaging through their home.
Before returning home last evening, Richard appeared in a video posted to the Family Farms Cooperative site to thank co-op members and others who have supported him, and express optimism that all will end well. "I’m hopeful we’re going to get a good outcome and it will be better for farmers all across the country."
This case finally seems to be generating some buzz in the Michigan media, as the Ann Arbor News today published two articles on matters I’ve covered–the revelation by a co-op member that the family-sickness incident that sparked the investigation into the co-op likely was likely triggered by bad pasteurized milk and yesterday’s resumption by Richard Hebron of deliveries to Ann Arbor.
On the latter item, the resumption of deliveries, a sense of relief and even celebration seemed to prevail among the 100 or more co-op members who swung by a barn in Lodi Township, a good ways outside Ann Arbor, to pick up their raw milk, eggs, and meat. One commentator to my post yesterday, Shana Milkie, put it this way: "It was indeed a celebration today. All of us were so glad to see Richard again and to regain access to the wonderful food our cooperative produces. My kids cheered when they got to drink fresh, delicious, health-giving raw milk for the first time in two weeks!"
Yet some tentativeness and uncertainty intruded. One member told me she was following another car on her way to the barn, and when the two cars arrived, the occupant of the first car said she worried that this member’s car might have been MDA agents intruding on the distribution. This member also ordered some extra raw milk, and suspects a few others did the same, just in case next week’s distribution isn’t as smooth.
There were some provocative comments to my post yesterday, and I’ve added responses in a new post at the end of that one.