Milford’s milk man

MILFORD – In a different era, milk was delivered by horse and wagon, left in a box on the front step and stored in an ice box. It stayed fresh for only a couple of days.

Deliverymen got pickup trucks in the 1930s.

It was an era of trust – money was left in the box on the doorstep along with the order for the next day, or in some cases, brought into the kitchen and placed in the fridge if the owner wasn’t home.

On March 15, resident Jim George, a longtime collector of milk bottles, talked about the many dairy farms in Milford and surrounding towns from about 1900 until 1970 with the advent of 24-hour convenience stores such as Cumberland Farms. His talk, "Remembering the Milkman – Milk delivery in Milford and New England," covered a wide variety of farms and businesses.

Several dozen people attended the program at the Congregational Church Parish House, part of its Lyceum series.

The last dairy to make home deliveries in the area was Producer’s in Nashua. It was a cooperative operated by 16 area farmers, including the Tromblys, Whitings and Holt Bros.

George said he has been collecting bottles for about 20 years. The collection was begun by his late father, University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension agent Ernie George.

"I caught the disease from him," George said, "when he sold some bottles on eBay and I saw how much he got for them."

He has about 2,500 bottles in his collection and keeps looking for more, especially from some of the smaller dairies that didn’t operate very long.

In 1907, Milford had 78 farms with 701 cows. In 1978, there were only three large farms – Curtis, Trombly and Fitch.

The Whiting Milk Co. – Hampshire Hills Farm – was still operating in Wilton.

Milford’s first commercial dairy, formed in 1910, was Milford Farm Produce Co., founded by the Unitarian minister, and it united 140 farmers into a cooperative shipping milk to Boston by rail. It lasted for two years, folding because of "dishonest clerks in Boston," a problem of out-of-town owners.

It was reorganized a few years later as Milford Creamery. They sold milk, cream, butter, eggs and fresh produce.

"But government regulation was coming," George said. "Cows were being tested for TB," and there were changes in sanitation "for the safety of the people."

George listed several of the local farms:

– The Burns Farm, which operated from 1910-29. The herd failed the TB tests, and the Burns family turned to other crops.

– The Holland Farm on Osgood Road was also eliminated by the tests, and the family turned to chickens.

– The Adams Farm on Federal Hill had about 100 customers. When it closed, the route was picked up by Norwood Dairy.

– Matti Laurila on Osgood Road, where the schools are now, was also taken over by Norwood.

– Frank Cassarino, a manager at Hayward Farms, had his own milk route for a time.

– Savage Farm on Elm Street operated for about 100 years.

– Crosby Farm, also on Elm Street, pastured its cows where Granite Town Plaza is now.

– Fitch Farm on North River Road is the last dairy farm in town. Walker Fitch began the operation in 1858. His great-great-grandson, also Walker, now heads the operation.

Norwood began as Riverview Farm on North River Road, with the dairy behind what is now the VFW Home. Carl Norwood gradually expanded the business until the 1970s, when they sold the operation to Haywards.

Charles Hayward was working for Whiting Dairy in Wilton when he bought the Elm Street farm. It was continued by his three sons, one running an operation where the Nashua Mall is located.

In 1940, the firm added a cold storage locker plant; in 1954, a restaurant; and in 1957, the ice cream stand. In 1966, the buildings burned and the business was sold to Idlenot Dairy.

In 1975, Arthur Hayward opened the popular Crazy Teepee used goods store. That also burned, and the lot beside Agway is now vacant.

Producer’s Dairy in Nashua was founded in 1921 by 16 local farmers. Stan Trombly was one of the directors. At one point, it was the largest dairy operation in the state. But, George said, the farmers involved were more interested in their cows than managing the business, and it was eventually sold to Agrimark.

There were other dairy farms, George said, "but they sold their milk in bulk and did not deliver locally."

George also talked about the changes in milk production.

"Mechanization began about 1930," changing from hand milking through a series of improvements in milking machines, he said.

The advent of electric refrigeration allowed milk to be kept longer, and 24-hour convenience stores provided milk whenever it was wanted. Home delivery stopped.

Asked about cows, George said, "Holsteins produced the most milk (per cow), but Guernsey milk had a higher butter fat content.

"I always liked Ayrshires myself."

Milford’s milk man

MILFORD – In a different era, milk was delivered by horse and wagon, left in a box on the front step and stored in an ice box. It stayed fresh for only a couple of days.

Deliverymen got pickup trucks in the 1930s.

It was an era of trust – money was left in the box on the doorstep along with the order for the next day, or in some cases, brought into the kitchen and placed in the fridge if the owner wasn’t home.

On March 15, resident Jim George, a longtime collector of milk bottles, talked about the many dairy farms in Milford and surrounding towns from about 1900 until 1970 with the advent of 24-hour convenience stores such as Cumberland Farms. His talk, "Remembering the Milkman – Milk delivery in Milford and New England," covered a wide variety of farms and businesses.

Several dozen people attended the program at the Congregational Church Parish House, part of its Lyceum series.

The last dairy to make home deliveries in the area was Producer’s in Nashua. It was a cooperative operated by 16 area farmers, including the Tromblys, Whitings and Holt Bros.

George said he has been collecting bottles for about 20 years. The collection was begun by his late father, University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension agent Ernie George.

"I caught the disease from him," George said, "when he sold some bottles on eBay and I saw how much he got for them."

He has about 2,500 bottles in his collection and keeps looking for more, especially from some of the smaller dairies that didn’t operate very long.

In 1907, Milford had 78 farms with 701 cows. In 1978, there were only three large farms – Curtis, Trombly and Fitch.

The Whiting Milk Co. – Hampshire Hills Farm – was still operating in Wilton.

Milford’s first commercial dairy, formed in 1910, was Milford Farm Produce Co., founded by the Unitarian minister, and it united 140 farmers into a cooperative shipping milk to Boston by rail. It lasted for two years, folding because of "dishonest clerks in Boston," a problem of out-of-town owners.

It was reorganized a few years later as Milford Creamery. They sold milk, cream, butter, eggs and fresh produce.

"But government regulation was coming," George said. "Cows were being tested for TB," and there were changes in sanitation "for the safety of the people."

George listed several of the local farms:

– The Burns Farm, which operated from 1910-29. The herd failed the TB tests, and the Burns family turned to other crops.

– The Holland Farm on Osgood Road was also eliminated by the tests, and the family turned to chickens.

– The Adams Farm on Federal Hill had about 100 customers. When it closed, the route was picked up by Norwood Dairy.

– Matti Laurila on Osgood Road, where the schools are now, was also taken over by Norwood.

– Frank Cassarino, a manager at Hayward Farms, had his own milk route for a time.

– Savage Farm on Elm Street operated for about 100 years.

– Crosby Farm, also on Elm Street, pastured its cows where Granite Town Plaza is now.

– Fitch Farm on North River Road is the last dairy farm in town. Walker Fitch began the operation in 1858. His great-great-grandson, also Walker, now heads the operation.

Norwood began as Riverview Farm on North River Road, with the dairy behind what is now the VFW Home. Carl Norwood gradually expanded the business until the 1970s, when they sold the operation to Haywards.

Charles Hayward was working for Whiting Dairy in Wilton when he bought the Elm Street farm. It was continued by his three sons, one running an operation where the Nashua Mall is located.

In 1940, the firm added a cold storage locker plant; in 1954, a restaurant; and in 1957, the ice cream stand. In 1966, the buildings burned and the business was sold to Idlenot Dairy.

In 1975, Arthur Hayward opened the popular Crazy Teepee used goods store. That also burned, and the lot beside Agway is now vacant.

Producer’s Dairy in Nashua was founded in 1921 by 16 local farmers. Stan Trombly was one of the directors. At one point, it was the largest dairy operation in the state. But, George said, the farmers involved were more interested in their cows than managing the business, and it was eventually sold to Agrimark.

There were other dairy farms, George said, "but they sold their milk in bulk and did not deliver locally."

George also talked about the changes in milk production.

"Mechanization began about 1930," changing from hand milking through a series of improvements in milking machines, he said.

The advent of electric refrigeration allowed milk to be kept longer, and 24-hour convenience stores provided milk whenever it was wanted. Home delivery stopped.

Asked about cows, George said, "Holsteins produced the most milk (per cow), but Guernsey milk had a higher butter fat content.

"I always liked Ayrshires myself."

Milford’s milk man

MILFORD – In a different era, milk was delivered by horse and wagon, left in a box on the front step and stored in an ice box. It stayed fresh for only a couple of days.

Deliverymen got pickup trucks in the 1930s.

It was an era of trust – money was left in the box on the doorstep along with the order for the next day, or in some cases, brought into the kitchen and placed in the fridge if the owner wasn’t home.

On March 15, resident Jim George, a longtime collector of milk bottles, talked about the many dairy farms in Milford and surrounding towns from about 1900 until 1970 with the advent of 24-hour convenience stores such as Cumberland Farms. His talk, "Remembering the Milkman – Milk delivery in Milford and New England," covered a wide variety of farms and businesses.

Several dozen people attended the program at the Congregational Church Parish House, part of its Lyceum series.

The last dairy to make home deliveries in the area was Producer’s in Nashua. It was a cooperative operated by 16 area farmers, including the Tromblys, Whitings and Holt Bros.

George said he has been collecting bottles for about 20 years. The collection was begun by his late father, University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension agent Ernie George.

"I caught the disease from him," George said, "when he sold some bottles on eBay and I saw how much he got for them."

He has about 2,500 bottles in his collection and keeps looking for more, especially from some of the smaller dairies that didn’t operate very long.

In 1907, Milford had 78 farms with 701 cows. In 1978, there were only three large farms – Curtis, Trombly and Fitch.

The Whiting Milk Co. – Hampshire Hills Farm – was still operating in Wilton.

Milford’s first commercial dairy, formed in 1910, was Milford Farm Produce Co., founded by the Unitarian minister, and it united 140 farmers into a cooperative shipping milk to Boston by rail. It lasted for two years, folding because of "dishonest clerks in Boston," a problem of out-of-town owners.

It was reorganized a few years later as Milford Creamery. They sold milk, cream, butter, eggs and fresh produce.

"But government regulation was coming," George said. "Cows were being tested for TB," and there were changes in sanitation "for the safety of the people."

George listed several of the local farms:

– The Burns Farm, which operated from 1910-29. The herd failed the TB tests, and the Burns family turned to other crops.

– The Holland Farm on Osgood Road was also eliminated by the tests, and the family turned to chickens.

– The Adams Farm on Federal Hill had about 100 customers. When it closed, the route was picked up by Norwood Dairy.

– Matti Laurila on Osgood Road, where the schools are now, was also taken over by Norwood.

– Frank Cassarino, a manager at Hayward Farms, had his own milk route for a time.

– Savage Farm on Elm Street operated for about 100 years.

– Crosby Farm, also on Elm Street, pastured its cows where Granite Town Plaza is now.

– Fitch Farm on North River Road is the last dairy farm in town. Walker Fitch began the operation in 1858. His great-great-grandson, also Walker, now heads the operation.

Norwood began as Riverview Farm on North River Road, with the dairy behind what is now the VFW Home. Carl Norwood gradually expanded the business until the 1970s, when they sold the operation to Haywards.

Charles Hayward was working for Whiting Dairy in Wilton when he bought the Elm Street farm. It was continued by his three sons, one running an operation where the Nashua Mall is located.

In 1940, the firm added a cold storage locker plant; in 1954, a restaurant; and in 1957, the ice cream stand. In 1966, the buildings burned and the business was sold to Idlenot Dairy.

In 1975, Arthur Hayward opened the popular Crazy Teepee used goods store. That also burned, and the lot beside Agway is now vacant.

Producer’s Dairy in Nashua was founded in 1921 by 16 local farmers. Stan Trombly was one of the directors. At one point, it was the largest dairy operation in the state. But, George said, the farmers involved were more interested in their cows than managing the business, and it was eventually sold to Agrimark.

There were other dairy farms, George said, "but they sold their milk in bulk and did not deliver locally."

George also talked about the changes in milk production.

"Mechanization began about 1930," changing from hand milking through a series of improvements in milking machines, he said.

The advent of electric refrigeration allowed milk to be kept longer, and 24-hour convenience stores provided milk whenever it was wanted. Home delivery stopped.

Asked about cows, George said, "Holsteins produced the most milk (per cow), but Guernsey milk had a higher butter fat content.

"I always liked Ayrshires myself."