Vanishing Breed: Milkmen

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It seems home milk delivery is up. Of course, through mid-century, most Americans had milk delivered to their doorsteps, from horse-drawn wagons, and then from trucks. In Southern California, the Adohr man left cold bottles in a metal carrier outside our door. But supermarket milk seemed more convenient, and many routes were discontinued (like Adohr, and then our Helms Bakery truck), and by 2000, less than one percent of Americans had their milk delivered.

If there’s a slight uptick, we’re part of it. We’ve been getting milk delivered for nearly 10 years. We started because I wanted my daughter to have that experience, to be able to mark time by the simple routine of a weekly delivery, as well as taste farm-fresh organic milk — produced the same day we get it, we’re told. Because our driveway is too steep for the milk truck, we would even wait for it to come driving up the street below. If we missed our milkman, no problem. Glass bottles could be left in our oversized mailbox, which serves the same purpose as a tin cooler of old.

Our milkman is Ron LaMariana, the Sonoma-Marin Milkman, who calls himself “Mr. Moo.” His milk is from the Straus Family Creamery, in West Marin, the first organic dairy west of the Mississippi. We even took a tour of the Straus Creamery, to complete the loop. To say hi to the cows that give us our milk, to walk the land, and to churn butter so fresh you could taste a hint of spring grass in it. Even now, I like the weekly routine of going down to the mailbox and returning with a crateful of milk. Sometimes we’ll even get a nice cream top on our 2%, so thick you have to scoop it out with a knife.

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