From farm to front porch: Remembering the milkman
It may sound like a nostalgic scene from yesteryear, but the milkman is making a comeback.
Growing up in the 1950s and '60s almost every house in the neighborhood had a small ice chest on the porch. This was the telltale sign of the milkman. The two local dairies that come to mind were Borden's and Roberts.
You didn't have to be rich to have your milk delivered to your home. Average people had fresh milk and dairy products, delivered on a regular basis. The milkman exchanged the same number of full bottles as your empty ones. If there was any communication needed, your Mom simply wrote the milkman a note and placed it in the box. Many customers insisted on paying for their dairy items at every delivery and would place their cash in the box. No one ever stole the money.
Remember, this was a time when many families owned only one vehicle and depended on traveling peddlers for much of their shopping. It was before homes had reliable refrigeration. And this was an era before supermarkets.
The milkman usually started his route in the wee hours of the morning dressed in a crisp white uniform. Mom and Dad knew him, called him by name and considered him a friend. Actually the milkman was nearly a part of the family. Like the mailman, the milkman always delivered.
According to USDA numbers, in the 1950s more than half of consumer milk sales came from home delivery services. In 2005, the last year recorded in USDA's statistics, the number of home delivered milk fell to only 0.4 percent of sales.
Milk delivery businesses are quickly growing as people opt for the service, whether for the sake of convenience, or a preference to support local organic farmers, or just for the nostalgic appeal.
Say what you want but milk in cartons or plastic containers in the dairy section of the grocery just doesn't seem to taste as good as the foil-topped glass bottles of milk that were delivered to your doorstep in the early mornings by the milkman.