What’s old is new again as companies like Milk Run and Alpenrose bring back milk deliveries of the past with a new twist. Vans splashed with colorful logos and full of local milk and produce are bringing the farm directly to your doorstep so that you can experience the fresh taste of locally harvested food.
Alpenrose, a dairy that began in 1916 in Portland, recently returned to it’s milk delivery roots this August by delivering daily milk and produce within the Portland metro area. You won’t get milk in glass bottles, but it’s easy to order through their website or mobile app.
“It’s been nearly 40 years since our trucks delivered fresh milk to the area,” said Josh Reynolds, general manager for Alpenrose. “We are ready to bring back a new, modern twist on home delivery.”
Milk Run, the brainchild of farmer Julia Niiro, started with a question: How could farmers bring fresh food from their farms directly to their neighbors? Niiro, a partner with Revel Meat Co. in Canby, OR, reached out to a handful of neighboring farms to join her in answering it. A few short years later, Milk Run operates in Portland and Seattle and works with over 200 farmers across Oregon to supply it’s rapidly growing customer base.
With more people stuck at home due to quarantining, Milk Run saw an opportunity to shrink the gap between farmers and consumers and educate prospective locavores. “I think that the tactile experience of getting the food in our Milk Run box is the teaching tool for understanding what can be experienced locally.” said Lilly Harris, Operations Manager for Milk Run.
Alongside favorite staples like Sourdough Boules from Grano Bakery, fresh eggs from Trent Family Farms and Gravenstein Apples from Kiyokawa Orchards, dairy lovers will be happy to see locally produced milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, cream cheese, sour cream and more. Participating farms and processors include TMK Creamery, Garry’s Meadow Fresh, Nancy’s, Organic Valley, Larsen’s Creamery, Lulubelle’s Creamery, Briar Rose Creamery, Cascadia Creamery and Willamette Valley Cheese.”
“We can think about local food abstractly,” said Harris, “But having it delivered to your doorstep and opening a box of local produce is a totally different experience. You’re able to see what’s in season and learn why it’s important to cherish the produce when it’s fresh and ripe.”
Farmers seem to be responding in kind to the local demand for their products. Lulubelle’s, one of Milk Run’s dairy purveyors, will soon be producing new products like Half & Half and Heavy Cream for it’s online customers.
In working directly with farmers, Harris commented, “I think farmers are the most grounded, intelligent people that we could possibly work with. They’re knowledgable about their craft and excited to share what they produce with consumers. I love being able to provide that conduit for their excitement and knowledge.”