As I learned researching olive oil, sometimes more expensive versions of products are worth the extra money because the increased overhead costs of producing it “the right way” result in a superior product. This is the basic argument against fast food and I’m all in on the handmade/craft/artisan/small-batch/local movement. But sometimes these overhead costs just make things more expensive, not necessarily better.
The Zasavica nature reserve is the only place in the world where farmers milk donkeys. According to this news report, each donkey only yields a twentieth of a gallon daily. It takes about 3 gallons of this milk to make 1 pound of cheese. You don’t have to be an agronomy economist to figure out that this isn’t going to make for a very efficient business model.
For what it’s worth, the reserve claims the true market value would be three-to-five times more and that they sell it at the reasonable $576/lb price point to raise awareness for their conservation work. The same news report provides the only specifics on donkey dairy I could find – that donkey milk has 60 times the vitamin C of its bovine counterpart – which isn’t a compelling reason to spend this exorbitant sum. Something tells me that the people buying this cheese are doing so for the same reason 6 people bought the short-lived $1000 “I am Rich” iPhone app that literally did nothing except cost $1000 – to throw the number at the lesser, non-rich people of the world.