In Vernon County, Missouri, you might encounter some peculiar animals. Ostriches, zebras, and camels wander freely in this park – a former zoo which has been converted into a farm. The idea for "Desert Farm" was born when 25-year-old Walid Abdul-Wahab, a young man from a traditional Saudi family, met Sam Hostetler, a local Amish farmer.
The duo decided to start producing camel's milk, a traditional Bedouin drink that's still not very common in the Western world. Getting there wasn't exactly straight forward, as Walid explains:
"My family came from a very traditional background. They wanted me to go to school, get a degree. My dad used to make fun of me saying that he sent me all the way to USC to study finance and now I'm a farmer."
With Sam Hostetler's help, Walid was able to launch his business and now exports primarily to California, where the raw, unpasteurized milk is consumed by the bottle and hailed for its good taste and probiotic properties.
The new drink of California hipsters
For centuries, nomadic Bedouins, Africans, Asians and Middle Easterners have been drinking camel's milk, which makes it possible for them to survive several months in the desert.
It's a precious resource that's been growing in popularity in the Western hemisphere among health food gurus always on the lookout for the next super food.
Camel's milk is said to have many healthy properties: it has low fat and lactose content, it's rich in vitamin C and B, rich in iron, and easy to digest. It is better for people with lactose intolerance and other food allergies and even boosts the immune system. It is also gluten free and suitable for a Paleo diet.
It goes without saying that this "white gold" has won over hipsters in California, where Walid has quite a following. As Vice jokingly says:
"If you’re a California twentysomething with a couple of bills burning a hole in the pocket of your artisanal selvedge jeans, you’re either saving it for the vinyl release of Run the Jewels 3 or you’re swinging by Whole Foods to pick up two pints of camel’s milk."
So apparently raw camel's milk has become the new health trend that you absolutely must try if you live in Los Angeles. Walid certainly didn't miss his mark, especially at 18 dollars per pint!