Milk men make fond memories, modern day deliveries
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For most people, memories of a milk man delivering fresh milk to the door or milk chute are fuzzy to non-existent. Home milk delivery was extremely popular and necessary for people living away from farms, but when reliable refrigerators started to replace ice boxes in the 1950s, the role of the milk man started to evaporate.
(The milk man would, of course, remain the butt of jokes for decades to come, always getting blamed for fathering a surprisingly red-headed child).
Milwaukee's Dena Aronson, who grew up in Bayside, remembers her milk man fondly. She went so far as to contact her sister via the Internet, who lives in Israel, midway through the interview for this article to retrieve his name, which was Norb.
"Norb delivered milk almost everyday when I was a child. What I remember most was the sound of the milk bottles after he backed up his yellow Golden Guernsey truck into our driveway, and the huge friendly greeting with a smile he gave all five of us as we raced to the back door to receive his wondrous delivery," says Aronson.
On birthdays, Aronson and her siblings were each given one bottle of chocolate milk for free from the milk man, and her parents instilled the rule that the bottle was only for the birthday boy or girl – he or she did not have share it unless they wanted to.
"Our milkman was actually a huge part of my childhood. It was an expected part of our day," she says.
Today, less than .05 percent of households in the United States have milk delivered to their home, but the service is still available. LW Dairy, located in Ixonia, delivers milk, along with other dairy products, to 1,000 homes and businesses in southeastern Wisconsin every week.
Larry and Maria Westoff started LW Dairy on Aug. 1, 2001. Larry was raised on a dairy farm and, at one point, owned 70 cows, but he decided to sell his cows, buy a couple of large vans and bottling equipment instead.
LW Dairy, which is a dairy plant and delivery service, purchases all of its milk from a nearby dairy farm, Wendorf's Crescentmead Dairy in Oconomowoc.
The family-run business offers 2 percent, 1 percent, skim and chocolate milk that's farmer-certified, rBGH-free and antibiotic-free, but not organic. The price for a half-gallon is $2.75 (whole); $2.65 (2 percent); $2.60 (skim) and $3.20 (chocolate).
"Just because we aren't organic, doesn't mean we're using pesticide foggers," says Maria Westoff.
LW Dairy also offers cheese, juice, bakery items, eggs, egg nog during the winter holiday season and hand-rolled, Amish-style butter that's minimally processed.
"Within hours of milking, we pasteurize, homogenize and bottle the milk. In doing so, we are able to provide you with the freshest milk you could ever buy," says Maria.
The Westoffs and their six children are dedicated to the business. Larry and his oldest son, Alex, spend 12 hours a night, four nights a week on the road making deliveries. They leave at 10 p.m. and return home about 10 a.m., Monday through Thursday, delivering the milk 24-48 hours after bottling.
"We've been told we're like Santa with udders," says Westoff, who delivered the dairy products with her husband for three years before her son joined the business.
"It's strenuous work. They work like dogs," she says.
LW Dairy's milk is available at multiple Sendik's locations, including Germantown, Mequon, New Berlin, Franklin and Greenfield. Sentry Foods in Delafield and the Piggly Wiggly in Delafield stock the products as well.
"People are very receptive to having their milk home delivered. It takes people back to their own childhood, and they want their kids to experience it, too," says Westoff. "People usually double their consumption once they try our milk. It just tastes better."
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