Niche Biz: Camel Milk

Deve (Camel)
photo credit: Veyis Polat

Does the idea of camel milk appeal to you? In some countries, camel milk is called “liquid gold” for its healing and nutritional qualities. Camel’s milk has three times as much vitamin C as cow’s milk and contains high amounts of iron, unsaturated fatty acids and B vitamins. There’s on big problem, though. Camels don’t like to be milked. The Wall Street Journal has more:

grace !
photo credit: dhahi alsaeedi

But there are several humps to overcome before camel milk is widely available in the U.S. For starters, there aren’t many camels here. Those that are mainly work in circuses or live in zoos.

Another challenge: Camels don’t much like to be milked. Camels can be cantankerous and persuading them to give up their milk can be part chore, part art. Camel experts say the animals are often ticklish around their udders and, without proper training, might lie down in the middle of being milked.

Camel milk is a centuries-old staple for nomadic tribes across the Middle East and Africa. It is also drunk by elderly men to enhance virility; by the sick to treat a variety of ailments; and by those who believe it has magical properties.

Camels feed at North Carolina’s Ferncroft Farms, which is working with Millie Hinkle, proprietor of Camel Milk USA.

Ms. Hinkle said she’s working with a large camel dairy in the Middle East that is interested in helping start a camel dairy in the U.S. She declined to name the dairy.

Most camel milking is still done by hand, but some modern dairies have gotten into the game. A dairy in Dubai called Emirates Industries for Camel Milk & Products sells camel-milk chocolate and camel milk under the brand Camelicious. The milk comes in flavors including saffron and date.

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