Friday Flashback #48

The news that Amazon is buying Whole Foods has everyone atwitter.

Perhaps the mammoth company that delivers nearly everything except babies will now make those pesky supermarket food runs obsolete too.

What could be better than, say, having fresh milk delivered right to your home?

Jeff Bezos, meet Marty McFly. And both you guys, meet the milkman.

(Photo copyright Paul Ehrismann)

Back in the day, Westport was awash in milkmen. Ferris (on North Morningside), Wade’s, Clover Farms* — they and many other local dairies brought milk straight to your doorstep. Sometimes, they’d even put it in your refrigerator icebox.

Sounds like a great idea whose time has come.

And gone.

And come again.

If that works, maybe we can also ask doctors to come to our homes too.

I’ve got just the name too. We could call them “house calls.”

*Never heard of Clover Farms? That’s because it turned into a slightly larger business called Stew Leonard’s. You know — “the worlds largest dairy store.” They don’t use an apostrophe — but they do sell cashmere.

27 responses to “Friday Flashback #48

  1. Jonathan Maddock

    My parents used Ferris Dairy. We would get the clear bottle that had cream on top. Occasionally I still find myself shaking the milk as if it were non-homogenized.

  2. Anita Janson-Bower

    I grew up in Westport & fondly remember the excitement of hearing the milkman arrive – no matter what the weather. Glass bottles of milk with cream layered on the top. I also remember house calls from the pediatrician. Those were the days! Mr. Woog, your commentaries on all things 06880 are a delight to read & make me proud to have been raised in Westport “back in the good old days”! Thank you.

  3. Edward C. Saenz

    Off course years ago gas was cheap and therefore transportation for groceries was inexpensive Today it is very different Food deliveries to the house is already in existence but not heavily used Most eople like to see the food they are bout to buy and they like o compare & read the ingredients, inspect the fresh vegetables and fruit

  4. Seth Schachter

    Love it! I have one of these bottles too, along with a smaller 1 pint clear ‘G.S. Ferris’ bottle.

  5. Michael Pettee

    I think we went on a field trip from Burr Farms one day, maybe first grade, to both Ferris Dairy and Nyala farms.

    • I know my Burr Farms class went on a field trip to Ferris Dairy. We walked all the way there — 1/10 of a mile down North Morningside!

  6. Joyce Barnhart

    I remember horse-drawn milk wagons in Queens, New York, and the cream expanding above the bottle in freezing weather. Is it even possible to get pasteurized but not homogenized milk anymore?

  7. Michael Calise

    I can still “hear” the clanking of the bottles as they moved along the conveyor belt at Ferris Dairy. The glass bottles pictured had paper tops. The Ferris Dairy milk was homogenized but the milk from Nyala Farms had the cream at top. It was very famous Guernsey milk. Horace Lanute a Westport Dairy Farmer ran the farm. These bottles were replaced by paper cone bottles that used the same paper tops and we were unknowingly at the beginning of our throwaway society.

    • Nancy Hunter

      “throwaway society” … How much is recycled now? Glass, plastic, paper, aluminum, electronic, organic waste? It’s great that ingenuity today is making up for our past and current wealthy wastefulness.

  8. Peter Barlow

    My parents also used Ferris Dairy and I remember the cream on top. Later there was Wade’s. I still have a Wade’s “refrigerated box” in the trunk of my car which is quite handy. Clover Farms, as it was becoming Stew Leonard’s, had vending machines where you could buy a half gallon of milk at any hour. There was one at the corner of Treadwell and Saugatuck Avenues. Regarding Stew’s title “the worlds largest dairy store”, I always wondered what IS a dairy store when maybe two-thirds of the sales are not dairy..

  9. Bordens delivered to our house — and Dr. Lehbar made house calls.

  10. You are cracking me up!!!

  11. John F. (J-period) Wandres

    Old timer here (Peter Barlow excepted):
    Not sure who delivered milk to our house out in the wilds of Weston. What I recall are the glass milk bottles that had a bulge near the neck. That is where the cream sat. If the bottles were left outside in winter the milk froze and forced the cream up and out of the neck. My brother, Chuck, and I would cut the frozen cream off the milk, and dip it in maple syrup. Mmmmm, good!
    Amazon Prime (or Blue Apron, for that matter) has nothing on “Frozen Bill.” Right after WW2, a man named Bill started a home-delivery business. Every Monday he would make the rounds in his refrigerated step-van, and sell meats and frozen vegetables. Of course, the resident had to “lease” the huge freezer to hold the provisions. And my mother, wanting to help Bill and the post-war economy, would dutifully buy roasts, steaks, chickens and chops, and boxes of frozen vegetables encased in their own blocks of ice. I mean, who could refuse a guy like Bill? He was just soooo kind and friendly.
    Well, the two year lease on our house was up and it was time to move on. Well, by then the freezer was filled to the brim. If we wanted to take it wth us we would have to empty it first. Well, it was as if the had a frozen mammoth in that freezer; everything was one huge block. And, well, by the time it was thawed (with the help of pots of boiling water) everything had spoiled — even the roasts lying at the bottom for nearly two years.

    • when we lived on Kettle Creek we had Blue Ribbon Farms deliver
      every day… can still hear the clink of the bottles, and then he drove out
      the driveway, and the day had begun…around six a.m.

  12. I have wondered if the on Rt. 302 in Newtown is the same family. Our family used the Ferris Dairy service too. I remember being allowed to lick the cream off the cardboard stopper on the bottle. Anybody remember getting milk at Saugatuck school?… same cardboard tops, smaller bottles.

  13. We were a devoted Ferris Dairy family. Lovely memories.

  14. Michael Pettee

    Now that I think about it, our Wade’s milkman, Tom, would actually come right into the house on North Avenue with a cheery “good morning” once or twice a week. He would look in the fridge and see what was needed. This was at breakfast as my mother was getting six kids off to school. Then in lieu of using the milkbox he’d stock-up the fridge and depart.

  15. Dr. Ellrich made house calls…

  16. Dorrie Barlow Thomas

    My childhood probably included what was the last of the regular milk deliveries (although, hmmm: does Westport have any milk deliveries currently? I know there is at least one dairy company on my end of the state–furthest east, in the Mystic area–that delivers…) What I recall was my mother, with her busy life of full time job and four kids, NEVER remembering the milk that had sat all day out in the marginally insulated box…it’d be dinner time and someone would ask for a drink and she’d shout “OH DAMN, THE MILK!” it seems pretty comical now, but it must have made her furious every time…I have no recollection of actually seeing or drinking the milk…probably because it was always rancid…poor mom 😜

  17. I of course remember Nyala Farm. Field trips, chasing cows around as a teen etc. We also had milk delivered by Ferris Dairy,twice a week as I recall. Plus I went to school with some of the Ferris kids. But damned if I can remember where the dairy was. P.S. Dr. Lynch made house calls….

    • Bob Stalling

      Hi Dave..
      The Dairy was tucked in off north Morningside across from what was then Parcells Garden (between Morningside and North Church Street)….one of your fellow officers ( and fishing columnist) lived next to it… Dick Alley. It was behind Mrs. Eliason’s house (the Burr Farms school crossing guard of many years)…and behind Adam’s Academy.

      I believe there are office buildings there now.

  18. Jacques Voris

    Every Wednesday at about 10:00 a.m. George from Borden’s Dairy would stop by the house. He would walk right in the back door, and see what was in the refrigerator. He would then whatever milk, eggs, butter, cream, and orange juice was need to bring them all to the right amount, making sure to rotate the stock. Then he would gossip with my grandmother awhile, sharing the news he learned on his route. When Borden’s stopped home delivery, George went out on his own, and we kept him on. As the years went on, we knew we could get milk and such at the store cheaper, but we kept George. First, because he was like family. Second, because we never need worry about running out, he always stocked the fridge. Just as important though was the gossip time. In the days before Facebook and social media, it is how many people learned what their friends and neighbors were doing.

    Near as I can tell, “Ferris Dairy” was the operation of one George Sherwood Ferris. He was the son of George Banks Ferris and Gertrude Mills. He started in the Dairy between 1925 when he was listed as a “Farmer” and 1927 when his profession was given simply as “Milk”. He was married to Gertrude “Elsie” Van Kuren, with whom he had at least two children. He lived to a few months over 100 years old.

    • Thanks Jacques, as always. I guess the fact that George Ferris lived to over 100 means that milk is good!

    • Seth Schachter

      Thanks for all of that info Jacques! I’m guessing the small pint glass Ferris bottle that reads ‘G.S. Ferris’ that I have is referring to George Sherwood Ferris based on your info. That’s great that he lived just past 100 ripe years!

  19. Wayne B. Ferris

    Looking to get a Ferris glass milk bottle. Anyone know where I can get one or two?