Saturday, July 20, 2019

Let's Visit a Dairy!

As many of you already know, Saturday is when I will post pretty much anything except Disneyland. It's a nice break for me, and hopefully for you too. And if you don't like these, well, GDB will return to the parks soon enough.

The first three of today's scans are from "Valley Farms" Dairy, location unknown, and undated (though certainly from the 1950's). I dunno, I just found them interesting!  There's lots of gleaming steel, steam (gotta keep things clean), and men with white shirts hustling to and fro. I have no idea what any of those contraptions do, though I suppose pasteurization is a good guess, and of course they will separate some of the butterfat, and will have cream (or half and half), and delicious milk of magnesia as additional products.

Good old glass bottles; I don't know if I've ever had milk from anything other than a paper carton or plastic bottle. These bottles (freshly sterilized, presumably) are filled and capped, and made ready for delivery. You want 2%, 1%, or skim milk? Too bad, hippie!

I don't know about you, but a big bowl of cereal sounds pretty good to me right now. Lucky Charms, maybe. Or Cap'n Crunch with Crunchberries.

I found this image in an folder of old, old scans, and am not sure if this "Valley Dairy Farms" Drive-In Dairy has any connection to the other three photos. I'm sure I still have the slide somewhere, but wasn't going to spend hours digging for it. My guess is that this is somewhere in Southern California, but... it's just a guess.


"Lou and Sue" said...

Major, I still occasionally crave Lucky Charms and buy a box. First, I like to pour the cereal into the bowl and then I dig around the box to add LOTS of extra charms to my bowl. But, eventually, once the box is about half empty, all I have left are the boring plain cereal bits (so I toss it). One of the privileges of being an adult.


TokyoMagic! said...

Gee, that machinery in the second pic could stand to be sanded down and repainted! These pictures remind me of a second grade field trip to a dairy. We even got to see the cows, up close and personal. I don't remember where that dairy was located, but it didn't seem like it was too far away. Are there any dairy farms left in the Los Angeles area anymore?

Nanook said...


In grammar school, we took a trip to our local dairy - and by local - it really was. Adohr Milk Farms was located on South La Cienega Blvd and W. 18th Street - a little north of the Santa Monica Freeway. Only have vague memories of that field trip; but certainly drove by that plant many, many times growing up.

Milk. It does a body good, Major.

"Lou and Sue" said...

"You want 2%, 1%, or skim milk? Too bad, hippie!"

What am I missing??


Chuck said...

Based on the script on the building in your last photo, that Valley Farms appears to be associated with the still-operating Valley Farms in Williamsport, PA.

I remember a couple of preschool class field trips to a dairy farm one of my classmates lived on near Mankas Corner, CA. I still remember how cold the raw milk we tasted was. I remembered enough that I could understand what I was looking at 16 or 17 years later when I wandered through a Portuguese dairy farm in the Azores.

Neat photos today, Major Thanks!

Andrew said...

Chuck, there are still Valley Dairy stores/restaurants here in Pennsylvania, but they're closer to the central part of the state (which makes sense, I guess, if they're headquartered in Williamsport). That picture doesn't really look like PA to me, though!

I never have gotten to take a field trip to a dairy. I guess those are just the woes of growing up in the 21st century. ;)

JC Shannon said...

May I just say, you all have great taste in cereal. I too, visited a dairy in grade school. I believe it was a right of passage in the 50s and 60s. Not only do I remember glass milk bottles, but hitting up the milkman for ice chips in the summer. Major, everyone knows milk of magnesia comes from camels. Thanks for the cool pics.

stu29573 said...

My wife and I went to the milk exhibit at the state fair (because we're wild and crazy people). The guy said that you should really drink whole milk because the fat actually makes the other vitamins work. He also said kids should always get whole milk because it helps with brain development. I suspect they had a lot of whole milk laying about...

Melissa said...

I visited a dairy exhibit at the California State Fair grounds when I was out there, and a calf sucked my whole hand into his mouth. It's one of my favorite California memories.

Nanook said...

@ Melissa-

That experience was undoubtedly the inspiration behind the Sherman Brothers song Makin' Memories.

Chuck said...

Andrew, there used to be a Cub Scout advancement requirement to visit a dairy. When I contacted our local industrial dairy to set up a tour in 2008, the rep was really apologetic but explained that they were no longer able to do tours due to concerns about protecting the food supply since 9/11. Not sure if this was a nationwide policy or not, but that could explain why you've never gone on a field trip to a dairy.

They did send me a DVD about milk production and bunch of pencils and balloons that were spotted like a Holstein cow. I still have some of the pencils if you want one.

Andrew said...

Chuck, why not? Pencils (especially the cow-spot kind) are the perfect complement to a morning glass of milk, as you can use them to do your daily crossword puzzle! I once got a cow pencil on my elementary school's "Lucky Tray Day" that I had for years.

Darn federal regulations! I don't know how I'll be able to deal with this dairy deprivation. ;)

TokyoMagic! said...

It's nice to see that so many other people also took those school field trips to a dairy. My mom was an elementary school teacher, and I think it was standard curriculum to teach the kids about "where our milk comes from." I don't know if they still teach that today. When my mom retired, she kept some of her teaching materials, which included some books about the dairy (I have to look for those) and also a poster, which I came across just a few months ago. I believe this poster is quite old and was given to my mom in her early years of teaching, by an older teacher who was retiring. This looks like it could be from the 1950's. I think it's a hoot! If anyone's interested in seeing it, click here, but then scroll all the way down to the bottom of the post: Classroom Dairy Poster

Dean Finder said...

We still get glass deposit milk bottles (though from the local supermarket, not delivered by the milkman) from a dairy called Trickling Springs. Whole milk, of course. Once I had good whole milk, I don't care for lowfat.

Lou & Sue, you can just get a bag of lucky charms marshmallows with none of those pesky oat cereal bits. Just search on Amazon for "cereal marshmallows"

BTW, did anyone watch the youtube rebroadcast of the CBS coverage of the lunar landing today? There were a few cutaways to people watching from Tomorrowland, with the Peoplemover and CoP in the background.

Major Pepperidge said...

Lou and Sue, a few years ago, my sister (who knows that I like Lucky Charms) bought a very large bag of JUST the marshmallows - on eBay I think. I could add a bunch to each bowl of cereal and never run out of the best part!

TokyoMagic!, should it be painted pink and blue? We went to a dairy, but (curiously) I don’t remember seeing actual cows. I think my brain has just deleted that part for some reason.

Nanook, I believe that the dairy we visited must have been in Orange County, but I have no idea where. I want to say that we got sundae cups with the Carnation logo on the lids, but it might just be my dumb brain again!

Lou and Sue, I could be wrong, but I don’t think 1% or 2% milk were available in the 1950’s. Does anybody know? I always like to blame hippies (just because I find it amusing) for everything, such as low-fat milk.

Chuck, I looked up “Valley Farms”, and saw milk bottles with that Pennsylvania logo. It does look the same, but I really would be surprised if that building is in Penn. Not that I am ever wrong, of course. I used to date a girl who grew up on a dairy farm, she missed drinking raw milk. I don’t think I’ve ever had the unpasteurized stuff.

Penna. Andrew, I suppose it’s possible that there is some part of Pennsylvania that looks like that last photo, but I agree, it doesn’t look like PA to me! Have you at least gone to Amish country to buy some bread?

Jonathan, I could eat cereal every day - and it doesn’t have to be sugary kid’s cereal either. I envy your memories of glass milk bottles and ice chips from the milkman, it sounds wonderful.

stu29573, hmm, I wonder if that’s true about whole milk? When I have cereal or anything with whole milk, I’m so used to the low-fat stuff that it feels like I am drinking half and half.

Melissa, yikes! Ha ha.

Nanook, it’s the only explanation!

Chuck, gosh, that’s a shame that they don’t allow dairy tours anymore. My grandfather worked at the Hormel plant in Austin, Minnesota, and he took us through. We saw dead animals, heard unpleasant noises, and smelled bad smells, and it was a traumatic experience! Some of the sights are still branded on my brain. BUT… I guess it was educational to a city boy who never thought about where his hot dogs came from. You’d think it would have made me a vegetarian, but… it didn’t.

Penna. Andrew, take all the freebies you can in life! Holstein-spotted pencils can only be a good thing. “Lucky Tray Day”, we didn’t have that. Since you were deprived of a dairy visit, you should get to buy any flavor of ice cream you want and eat the whole pint.

TokyoMagic!, very cool that you still have some of your mom’s teaching supplies. That poster does look quite old, I’d say 1940’s if I had to guess, which is pretty cool. I used to date a girl who collected old children’s cook books, there were some fun examples from Carnation and Borden’s.

Dean Finder, now that I think about it, I think I’ve had chocolate milk in glass bottles from the grocery store. It was delicious, or so I remember at least! Ha ha, see my note to Lou and Sue, getting the bags of marshmallows is awesome! I was sad when they ran out, and admit that I have never purchased them myself, but now that the idea is in my head, maybe I need to. I watched a 5 hour rebroadcast of Apollo 11’s launch, with all of the original commercials and “regular news” inserts. I wonder if I can watch the moon landing broadcast on YouTube? I love all of this moon stuff so much!

Melissa said...

I grew up in farm country, so if I wanted to visit a dairy I could go see my neighbor. Or my uncle. 4-H and FFA were so big in my school that our trophy cases were full of statuettes that looked like Les Nessman's coveted Silver Sow and Copper Cob awards. And then I worked in Ag Ed Outreach for years, handing out those cow-spotted pencils and golf tees made from corn at Farm Bureau events. I see that New York has slipped into 4th place in dairy production; Idaho must have overtaken us when I got out of the field.

Major, I am shocked and horrified over your childhood meat packing plant tour! I hope your family visits to Disneyland helped with the trauma!

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I think you are right about that poster being from the 1940's. After I said the "50's" I looked at it again and I think the hairstyles on the girls, as well as just the overall style of the poster, is more "40's."

I only wish that the calf in that poster was shown sucking on one of the kid's hands! Melissa, that had to be a scary experience! When they are calves, do they have their teeth yet?

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I forgot to answer your question. Yes, they should paint the equipment at that dairy, pink and blue. But it has to be HOT pink and ELECTRIC blue. Then they need to paint a bunch of gold stars, just randomly, on everything.

Melissa said...

It wasn't scary at all! I didn't feel any teeth in there, but the texture of his tongue really tickled!

JG said...

Wow, these are really interesting photos.

Like Melissa, I grew up in dairy country and have seen my share of cows, calves, and milking parlors (yes, this the part of the dairy barn where milking takes place). My Dad used to have a dairy before my time. Sold them when he was drafted for WWII.

Some observations from experience.

First, this is the bottling line dairy, unlikely there are any cows nearby. The cows are milked at their home dairy and the milk is shipped to the central plant, which is what we are seeing here.

Major, you are correct, the milk is pasteurized and separated at the bottling line and processed off into the variants we get in the market. The small cans in the first photo are cream cans, used to store the high fat cream for separate packaging.

There are some "craft" dairies now in the Bay Area that sell milk in glass bottles, bu cost and fragility dictate plastic and paper now.

The domed device to right in photo 3 is probably the cream separator, using centrifugal force to make the cream rise so it can be separated off.

Also, I strongly believe that the last photo is related to the rest, and that these are from a California location, not back east. Not sure why, but it all looks so familiar.

@Nanook. Dad used to sell to Adohr Farms back in the day (early '40's). The company was named after the Owner's wife Rhoda. I believe it is gone now, but it was a big name in central and southern CA into the '60's at least. I remember seeing the packages in the store.

Altadena Dairy in Pasadena/City of Industry is a long-standing and current source of Raw Milk and live culture yogurt.