Hartmann, in Manly Gesture, Sacrifices Himself to MN Prosecutors to Save His Family; Rawesome Retrospective


Michael HartmannIn the end, Michael Hartmann made the best deal he could–if he was going to save his family–when he pleaded guilty Monday to two misdemeanors in connection with sales of raw milk  and other foods, and agreed to pay a fine of $585. Seven other misdemeanor charges were dismissed in the process.                                                                 

According to news accounts, he was placed under non-supervised parole for six months and  ordered to comply with all state labeling and licensing  regulations. 

In the end,  also, Hartmann  went alone to his fate. He didn’t want supporters present, and he has many.  Perhaps he went alone because this particular court  case had  become  a private matter between himself and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. There was no glory in copping a plea, so why have supporters waste their  time and energy coming, he may have  reasoned. (He hasn’t been talking to the media, nor has he wanted media attention when I’ve spoken with him over the last year.)  

So why make a deal with the enforcers he has challenged for years? There obviously was no fear on his part in dealing with the brutes at the MDA. The fear was for his family. You see, the MDA had gotten the local prosecutor to file similar misdemeanor charges against his wife, Diane, and his brother, Roger, and an associate–essentially taken them legally hostage. And no way was Michael Hartmann going to let them be exposed to the ongoing pressures of a trial and possible jail time so the MDA thugs could say they got someone in the Hartmann family. 

So the deal was basically a way to protect his family from the MDA’s ravages, according to associates, something he has been intent on doing since the matter first came up earlier this year. Being  the man he is, he decided to sacrifice himself on behalf  of  his  family–the deal also provided for dropping all the charges against his family members.

Hartmann was in a box of sorts, stemming from eight illnesses from E.coli O157:H7 that Minnesota public health authorities linked  to his dairy in  May 2010. It would have been very difficult for him to gain an acquittal so long as  the prosecutors could bring any of those made ill as witnesses in the trial against him. There were also accusations of four illnesses the following fall from campylobacter and three from cryptosporadium, a parasite. 

Through it all, Hartmann has steadfastly denied his milk made anyone sick. He argued that tests showing the presence of pathogens on his farm  never showed up in any of many tests done on his milk. Moreover, dozens of his loyal customers say they have never met anyone who became ill from his milk, and most continue to drink it  without concern.  (There is some interesting commentary from supporters at one Minnesota news site.)

I know there are those who feel Hartmann has gotten what he deserves via the prosecutions of himself and his family. Just keep in mind that almost no food producer anywhere in the U.S. gets hit with criminal charges in connection with food-borne illnesses. Even owners of Peanut Corp. of America, whose peanut butter in 2008 killed seven and sickened more than 200, haven’t been prosecuted, and with a five  year statute of limitations rapidly  approaching, it seems unlikely they will be. According to food safety lawyer Bill Marler, “in 15 years of involvement in every major foodborne illness case, there have been only a handful of prosecutions and fewer convictions.” 

The reality is that such cases alleging illness are mostly adjudicated in civil court. According to local media, there is a suit against Michael Hartmann in civil court in Minnesota by the parents of a two-year-old boy who was allegedly sickened by Hartmann’s milk,  seeking $50,000 of medical expenses. 

Criminal charges in this case were way outside the bounds of real-life practices in  this country…unless you are  the MDA and you have a personal score to settle with a farmer  you detest. 


On  the subject of copping a plea, Victoria Bloch, one of  the original Rawesome Three, has an interesting  retrospective about her experience  as  a criminal defendant on the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund site. 

About her  decision eventually to accept a plea deal, she says, “The day before the (pretrial) hearing, the D.A. offered me a misdemeanor plea that I could live with (essentially, having sold one jar of unlabelled milk); Sharon was offered a separate misdemeanor just before the start of the hearing. We had both wanted to be vindicated at a trial, before a jury of our peers. But we had to take into account fiscal reality, as well as the ongoing toll on our families and ourselves. So we each accepted the plea offered, ending the saga with a sigh instead of a yell, but grateful for an end nonetheless.”

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43 Comments on "Hartmann, in Manly Gesture, Sacrifices Himself to MN Prosecutors to Save His Family; Rawesome Retrospective"

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Sylvia Gibson
Sylvia Gibson
October 18, 2012 10:55 pm

Did the funds from FTCLDF provide legal representation to Sharon Palmer and Stewart?

Good Lord, one of palmers workers said she obtained goats milk from another farm……outsourcing? What was that word Mark used? Apparently she bought a lot out of Chino…http://www.farmtoconsumer.org/news_wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Bloch-Treviso-Affidavit-2011.pdf arsenic and mercury?

October 18, 2012 11:46 pm

The race traitors who run Ham-merica, now, learned the technique of taking family members hostage, as a way to grind-down a dissident into admitting “guilt”, from their kinsmen who operated that political science experiment, brand-named = Union of Socialist Soviet Republics.

Sylvia Gibson
Sylvia Gibson
October 19, 2012 12:23 pm

1 cup cooked oats has approximately:
manganese 1.36 mg which is 68% RDA, selenium, 2.64 mcg 18%RDA , phosphorus 180.18 mg 18%RDA, fiber 3.98 g 15.9%RDA, magnesium 63.18 mg 15%RDA, zinc 2.34 mg 15%RDA

When you add nuts, fruit, wheat germ, etc and whatever you cook it in, will add more nutrition to it. Of course the more processed the oats are, the less nutritious they are. I haven’t been able to find the difference in nutrition between rolled oats and steel cut oats.

I’ve had patients… Read more »

Deborah - Pacifica
October 19, 2012 3:52 pm

That’s a good point Sylvia…is there a difference in the two ways of processing oatmeal? Of course, which method would produce more heat, rolling between stones or steel cutting? I don’t think I’ve come across any documentation about that, but perhaps the folks at Bob’s Red Mill would know since they use both methods. The only thing that I do know is that I prefer the taste & texture of steel cut oats as opposed to rolled. Rolled oats don’t have that hearty, nutty flavor that steel cut has, plus it is more mushy &… Read more »

October 19, 2012 4:11 pm

Sylvia, FTCLDF agreed to take my case on; in order for Gary Cox to practice in California, he needed a sponsoring attorney. Ultimately, things dragged on so long, with procedural hearing after procedural hearing, there was no need for him to come out, so my attorney here in LA, Freddy Sayegh, handled it. Gary was actively involved via e-mail and phone, and both he and Pete Kennedy were wonderful support and counsel.

Sharon had 80 goats, 40 of which were owned outright by Rawesome. She never bought goat’s milk; the only allegations involving the tiresome word “outsourcing” have been… Read more »

Deborah - Pacifica
October 19, 2012 4:44 pm

Thank you Victoria, for your beautiful post here. It is great to get the correct information from a key person very close to the happenings. It is such a destructive thing for people to use rumors as facts, it then tends to run rampant. Of course, the major accusers that have been on this forum have been strangely silent & absent for some time, but I hope they read your post here. Maybe….just maybe, it will give them food for thought, but perhaps as hard headed that they are, not to mention, so tunneled visioned,… Read more »

October 19, 2012 4:51 pm

Thank you, Deborah, for having taken the time to read my lengthy rant. I just snapped when I saw the word “outsourcing” – again. And now that I’m out of the case, I am somewhat freer to, um, express myself!

Sylvia Gibson
Sylvia Gibson
October 19, 2012 5:43 pm

Deborah, Scotland is on my bucket list, as is Ireland. When I hear the word porridge, I envision Americanized oatmeal (mushy). I’ll try to remember to send an email later, to Bob’s Red Mill asking about the difference in oat processing.

Sylvia Gibson
Sylvia Gibson
October 19, 2012 5:56 pm

Sharon palmer admitted to outsourcing eggs, without informing the consumers, on this very blog. That was fraud to those who purchased those eggs, believing they were from Palmer’s farm.

Sharon Palmer admitted to selling eggs not from her farm and did not inform the consumers. She admitted to fraud. This egg fraud lasted at least 6 months, per her own admitting. Her long history of fraud will continue to follow as long as she continues to commit fraud.

Had I purchased eggs from her, and not been told they were outsourced, I’d be very… Read more »

Mary Jean
October 19, 2012 6:11 pm

Victoria, I also appreciate hearing directly from you about what you know, what you have seen and what you have experienced. I have read various attacks against you and Sharon on this blog and have reserved judgment. When David publishes articles about events in my state, about which I have personal knowledge, I see how people rush to judgment based on misconceptions or false assumptions. Also those making comments twist the topic around to pontificate on their pet ideology or theory, often distorting the facts to make it fit. Therefore, I am cautious about making… Read more »

Deborah - Pacifica
October 19, 2012 6:17 pm

Oh Sylvia you would love Scotland! Every time I go, it gets harder & harder to come back here. I can’t begin to tell enough of what makes Scotland so great..the people, the country, the culture & so on!

October 19, 2012 7:47 pm

No, actually, that’s not correct.

She said that she provided eggs for Rawesome, with Rawesome’s full knowledge, following the demise of most of her flock. That is not outsourcing, Sylvia, and she is not the one using that word here.

Rawesome was a customer of the farm’s as far as chicken and eggs, and a herdshare partner as far as the goat dairy products. Sharon offered Rawesome the same opportunity to source their own alternate eggs, or have her do so as a convenience for them, while she rebuilt her flock as she does restaurants during low-egg seasons. The… Read more »

October 19, 2012 7:50 pm

Thanks! You are a wise woman to suspend judgment on situations you have no first-hand knowledge of. Would that we all were as balanced in our consciousness.

Sylvia Gibson
Sylvia Gibson
October 19, 2012 9:46 pm


“She denied she was outsourcing chickens, but said she did outsource eggs for six or seven months in 2008 and 2009…with the partial knowledge of James Stewart, Rawesome’s manager.”

Guess you are saying David is telling lies? If the people who bought the outsourced eggs were not informed they were outsourced, that is fraud, deliberately misleading the consumers. There is somewhere on this blog where she admitted not informing the consumers that the eggs were outsourced. Most crooks say they fell into the “legal rabbit hole”.

October 20, 2012 12:52 am

When I read Victoria’s justifications and presentment that Palmer is a upstanding individual, I became so saddened and nauseated. Has she begun her coverup of the facts? Let’s look at the evidence. Since UnhealthyFamilyFarm.com is up and running again, you can read the testimony of 5 past employees and volunteers who worked for Palmer and you will discover that she defrauded the members of Rawesome for at least 1.5 years. According to documents obtained from commercial egg and meat wholesalers, Palmer bought and sold product for over 2 years. Because the criminal charges were filed for… Read more »

October 20, 2012 12:55 am

One last comment: It astounds me that David, as wise as he is, and Victoria as smart as she is can be so easily swayed by such adept con-artists as the evidence proves Palmer and Stewart are.

October 20, 2012 7:37 am

His supporters should have rejected his request that they stay home. They should have decided for themselves whether to still demonstrate against the state’s persecution. As some commenters here said a year ago in light of the Stewart/Palmer case, we need to support the movement first and foremost, not particular personalities. This case is exemplary, and is therefore bigger than Hartmann himself. Citizen-customers should take every opportunity to publicly assemble and state that we’re going to take our freedom whether the thugs like it or not. The more milk customers do this (and the more we can take some… Read more »

October 20, 2012 11:47 am

The solidarity symbol must be a hoax. How do you pass judgement on a man and his family when all tests prove the opposite of food contamination and link to illness? You should know better than to rely on the misinformation of an alleged link between a food and a sick boy. This would NOT have happened in the USSR or any other regime that did not use the largest marketing entity in the world (FDA and state departments of ag) to make the rules, hide behind them and then use our tax dollars to fund the destruction of… Read more »

Sylvia Gibson
Sylvia Gibson
October 20, 2012 1:45 pm


“rekindled doubts about the safety of the nation’s drug supply.”

Rekindled? Those doubts never left many people. For years, many physicians, scientists, etc have reported the dangers of various drugs et al and the FDA has ignored them. FDA “approves” drugs that kills thousands every year. It is a money wasted entity.

D. Smith
October 20, 2012 6:56 pm

@ AV: You see things one way, the Rawsome folks see things another way. You say there’s evidence one way, Victoria says there’s evidence the other way. That’s why all of this ends up in front of a judge. A judge who doesn’t know a thing about that which he has to make a decision, nor does he care. It’s as if everything is black and white or run and fight. And then they call this justice? It doesn’t matter who wins, we ALL lose. This gets the attention of the gubment… Read more »

D. Smith
October 20, 2012 7:23 pm

Baylen Linnekin has a good article today about food and foodies. Pay special attention to #9 where he talks about legality issues. http://reason.com/archives/2012/10/20/ten-important-federal-food-policy-issues

The only thing I don’t concur with in his article is the idea of getting rid of the USDuh. Well, yes, I agree – but it goes much deeper than that. I’m sure there are at least a hundred alphabet agencies who dabble in food issues of some sort which should be entirely terminated. Although we all know that won’t happen, maybe they could start to “regulate” their own agencies for a… Read more »

D. Smith
October 20, 2012 10:18 pm

All of this outsourcing talk is making me dizzy – again. If a judge in this land had half a brain, couldn’t he just say “tell her to put up a sign letting the customers know where the eggs (or whatever) came from” and that be the end of it? Ah no, of course not, that would be too simple and would actually solve the problem without costing a gazillion dollars. Not to mention, the whole affair could be done on the phone – no courtroom drama involved.

Our farmers market, at every tent… Read more »

mark mcafee
October 21, 2012 1:20 am

On Thursday this last week, a lobbyist raw milk friend of mine gave me a call and said to immediately fly up to Sacramento in my airplane for a big CA Dairymans Protest and rally on the State Capitol Steps. I had not been told about the protest and rally.

In 55 minutes I arrived just in time to give a short speech in front of the large crowd. I was welcomed and spent the next hour talking with at least 25 dairymen about their common plight. The same story resounded…. they all said “We need more money for… Read more »

Deborah - Pacifica
October 21, 2012 1:22 am

David – thank you, thank you, & once again, thank you for your post here. When I saw Aajonus’s repetitive vile posts yesterday, I had the same exact thoughts as you. I cannot believe his ongoing vindictiveness. Because of his actions & his alone, Rawesome was totally shut down thereby depriving all the members that depended on Rawesome for their food items. Does he not have any clue what this has do to those members that had to turn to alternatives that more than likely were not of the same type & quality, nor the… Read more »

Deborah - Pacifica
October 21, 2012 1:24 am

Oh…..and very despicable!!!

October 21, 2012 5:34 am


October 21, 2012 4:55 pm

Just a general note here.
I am starting to get “lost in the weeds,” and am badly in need of definitions, at least working definitions.
Specifically, what is the definition, of private, and of public? And how is the term “secret” related? For instance, there are “sealed” records, are they public?, private? We are long past the point where the public-at-large can justifiably be treated as children. As in “you don’t need to know just eat it.” For that matter, I need more than clear definitions. I also need examples. And I need contrasts… Read more »

Sylvia Gibson
Sylvia Gibson
October 22, 2012 10:15 am


“researchers have reliably proven that dietary doses of carrageenan can lead to harmful inflammation, the additive is still approved for use in foods.”

Further proof that the govt is not interested in preserving peoples health and safety.

Sylvia Gibson
Sylvia Gibson
October 22, 2012 12:09 pm


“Socialism is based on the concept of everyone gets their share. This economic system exists in those environments where resources are plentiful, or populations are extremely small (such as family units).

Properties of Socialism

All members of the economy share benefits, regardless of their economic value to the system.
Succesful socialistic systems depend on sufficient resources for the entire population.
A healthy socialistic system results in non-economic productivity.

Advantages of Socialism

In environments with plentiful resources, socialism provides all members with their survival needs, creating a… Read more »

Sylvia Gibson
Sylvia Gibson
October 22, 2012 12:14 pm

I had received this in an email:

1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.
2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.
3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.
4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!
5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to… Read more »

October 22, 2012 2:37 pm

It all describes Corporate America perfectly. It’s all corporate capitalism has done – take nature’s and labor’s abundance, destroy most of it in order to generate artificial scarcity, and steal what’s left.

Meanwhile Food Sovereignty would guarantee basic prosperity to everyone willing to work, exercise stewardship rights on the land (only those productively using* the land have any right to be on it) and drive all parasites off the land.

*Common sense moral defintion, of course. Productivity = growing food for personal and community consumption, and similarly direct local/regional production of human needs and basic wants.

Kristen P
October 23, 2012 4:48 am

If you are referring to me, Deborah, I spoke to Victoria about this many moons ago…she was the first person I asked about it all at a WAPF meeting. She and AnnMarie. Once I looked into things myself, I could see that Victoria really felt like she knew things were Kosher at HFF so I went looking for other voices. Victoria is a very passionate and compassionate person.

Kristen P
October 23, 2012 4:51 am

She admitted to outsourcing the eggs for Rawesome here in this blog. It’s the one thing she has admitted so that is why Victoria is tired of hearing about the eggs.

Kristen P
October 23, 2012 4:58 am

…and David once again doesn’t understand that hundreds of customers are pizzzzzzzzed because they were allegedly sold crappy food at premium prices… Yes, Bravo!

Kristen P
October 23, 2012 5:01 am

“Four months ago, an investigation for my law suits against Palmer and Stewart turned up veterinarian Daniel Drake who has documentation that Palmer bought non-organic goat’s milk from his herd and peddled it as organic and as produced on the farm for at least 1 year.”
This does not surprise me. Thanks for sharing, Aajanus.

October 23, 2012 2:43 pm

Hey Bill,

Do you have liability insurance for making cheese? Do you mind disclosing some info on about how much it costs and what it covers?

Thank you in advance.

November 1, 2012 8:25 am

I have studied, experimented with and consumed raw milk since 1968 when I was a “high risk” individual for drinking raw milk. With raw dairy, I reversed my death-sentence cancers of blood, bone and lymph. Through 1974, 1975 and 1976, I drank only unclean raw milk directly from cows or goats with dirt and fecal matter in it without once getting sick. From that, I reversed my juvenile diabetes and stopped taking insulin.
People drank raw milk from hand-milking for at least 6000 years without scientific proof of harm. Civilizations… Read more »

November 1, 2012 8:39 am

One example of an unhealthy city child who drank raw milk although he was considered at high risk: Walker Kerhrer. In 2000 he was a severe asthmatic sufferer. He began drinking raw milk and was suddenly able to breathe almost normally. He continued to drink raw milk throughout his youth and his asthma was history. In 2009, he was the #1 high-school tennis champion in USA. Do you raw-milk doomsayers get that, from an asthmatic city kid to a top tennis champion?

D. Smith
November 1, 2012 2:54 pm

@ AV: Would you mind if I copy your personal story (from the first post) and then this story about Walker Kerhrer? I would like to place it at my forum. I would also like to cite your web site at the same time, but I can’t remember what it’s called. Could you provide an url? If you do not wish to have this information used, please just say so and I will not copy it. Thanks.

November 2, 2012 12:39 pm

D.Smith, you may post my story but if you use the name “Primal Diet®” it must have the trademark after it and at the bottom “®aajonus vonderplanitz”. Walker’s story is not mine to own. It is his but his mother told me he does not mind it being told by anyone.

November 2, 2012 12:55 pm

D.Smith, I do not have a website however, I contracted with a man to publish online my my information online that is additional my books but not published in book form, such as my newsletters at: WeWant2Live.com. PrimalDiet.com takes you to my publisher’s website for my books.

January 14, 2013 7:30 am

Both Palmer and Stewart did not give RTCHF the membership fees they collected under the RTCHF membership agreement although they verbally contracted to that. Stewart owes RTCHF at least $60,000. Some of the donations to RTCHF have been used to sue Stewart and Palmer for defrauding RTCHF members with commercial contaminated food.

The claim and rant about Hartmann’s raw milk caused disease that caused HUS is complete fiction. Those who claim that their is proof have never been in a laboratory and do not know the process. When a milk is tested for bacteria, it is not simply measured for… Read more »