Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Back in Time - Picking Up the Milk

Dean Weitzel
Milk Truck Driver
approximately 1976
I can't remember when the Fremont County dairymen joined the Mountain Empire Dairymen Association (MEDA), but it was some time in the mid to late 60s. Dairy herds were common and numerous in Fremont County at that time. In the 50s and early 60s, the milk was trucked and processed and distributed by the Morning Star Dairy in Riverton.

Milk in the bulk tanks was tested before being picked up by the truck driver. Note in the photo below the driver has a sample bag in his right hand. If a producer's milk did not pass the inspection, the entire tank was dumped or arrangements were made for it to be sold to a cheese manufacturer in Afton, WY. I don't remember any of our milk being dumped or sold for cheese.

With so many dairies in Fremont County, milk was in surplus, so the local producers and those from Park County joined MEDA, which included Colorado dairy farms. Fremont and Park County dairies transported milk to Denver twice a week, a one-way journey of 366 miles from Riverton and 513 miles from Powell. The cost of transport was deducted from the farmer's checks. When the Morning Star Dairy closed, all the milk was trucked to Denver.

Dean visits with Rich (my brother) while the milk is pumped into the
truck. Note the hose from the truck going into a small door in the barn
 wall. That hose was attached to the bulk milk tank inside the barn. The
spiral wire plugged into the barn outlet is for the truck's electric pump.
Dean is holding a milk sample in his right hand: milk in the bulk tanks
was tested for quality and butter fat content and the price paid for the
milk was determined by those tests.  

Dean was one of the drivers who picked up milk from the farm. Two different trucks were used, one with a semi trailer tank and one with a fixed tank.

Fixed tank milk truck
(Penny on barn step)
approximately 1978
Usually, the truck picked up the milk from the surrounding farms and headed for Denver after the last farm on the route. My mom and brother did not want to cause any delays in that schedule and sometimes pushed up the start of milking a bit on the days the milk truck was expected. 

When I read that Dean recently passed away, I searched for photos of him and the truck, and was pleased to find the ones in this post.

13 comments:

  1. I always look forward to your Back In Time posts. Thanks for sharing the photos and the memories.

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  2. Thanks for the glimpse of how life was back when...love the simple honestly of it.

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  3. What a nice post...and a great picture of Dean. I like reading about the milk operation in Fremont County.

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  4. So interesting.... I remember seeing dairy's and milk trucks picking up.... son-in-law had a dairy farm 15 years ago..

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  5. Cool pictures. It's funny. My uncle had dairy cows (holsteins) in upstate Pennsylvania. I spent a bit of time on the farm. I remember the cows, but I don't remember trucks coming to pick up the milk. I'm sure they must have. It was a pretty big herd. He milked for Martin Dairy which later became Lehigh Valley Farms.

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  6. What a sweet tribute to a hard working man! I remember my mom pointing out the milk trucks to me and trying to explain how the milk got from the cow to the truck and into the bottles that were delivered to the house every week. It was all magic to me. Thanks for sharing Nancy!

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  7. Fun post! I remember, especially when it's cold like now, when milk came in glass bottles on your porch and you had to bring it in quickly before it froze and broke the bottles.

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  8. awww how sweet of you to memorialize him here. I LOVE MIlk. My kids do too.
    I am know to say , Ahhhh I love milk right as I drink a glassful. How can humans not love cows milk?

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  9. What a nice memorial! My paternal grandfather was a dairy farmer, as was his youngest son. I kinda' remember when we still had a milkman too.

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  10. What a fun post. When we were first married the steel shop where my husband worked would have milk delivery.

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  11. i remember the milk man coming a couple of times a week when I was a kid in Minnesota. Even the school got glass bottles of milk from the dairy. And one of my cousins drove a big milk truck with the fixed tank like in your picture. Thanks for bringing back some great memories.

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  12. Those are wonderful photos, I bet Dean had many stories to tell. We never had a bulk tank only milk cans...old style milking. I enjoyed this post very much:)

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