Thursday, 15 March 2012

Milk day


The milkman comes on Thursday. I hear the chinking of the bottles as he stomps up the stairs and across the carpet, dreadlocks swinging and a smile on his face. Six litres of creamy, raw, organic milk, straight from a long-lashed Jersey cow grazing in the green fields to our fridge, in the hands of the farmer himself. Last weeks' rinsed bottles stand by the door, waiting to be washed, sterilised and used again. The new bottles are lined up in the fridge, full of promise. They will be poured over porridge, stirred into coffee and cake batters, and transformed into pots of thick, tangy yoghurt.

My very first job was delivering milk from the back of a rusty old truck. I would leap from the side of the vehicle as it slowed, bottles tucked under my arm, and lope to the front door of each house with their order. I used to know the suburb's deliveries by heart and could hang ten empty milk bottles from my fingers without dropping them. When we reached my grandparents' house I would run straight inside and tuck a litre into their fridge, stopping to kiss them both before I jogged back to the kerb. I would hold on tight to the metal hand rail, swinging out into the darkness as we careened around corners. Sometimes we would run short and have to duck out to the servo for an extra litre or two.  Once we were on the highway we had to climb inside the truck, so we would tuck our bottoms inside empty milk crates and slide around the tray laughing like mad things in the diesel scented city night.

You can't buy milk in glass bottles anymore. But it makes so much more sense. There is no waste, the bottle can be reused over and over again. And it tastes better. We store our leftover pancake mix in an empty bottle, ready to pour straight into the pan for an after school snack or a special weekday breakfast.

We found out this week that we will be becoming part owners of our milking cow - the paperwork is on its way. The herd share scheme will help our farmer and his family extend their milking operation and we will get our portion of each week's production. We even get visiting rights. I can't wait to meet her.

11 comments:

  1. This brings back so many memories. As a child we could only ever order milk this way and I remember me and my five siblings fighting for the cream that would set on top :)
    Nothing beats the taste of fresh farm milk.

    x

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    1. I like to scoop out the cream with my finger, although we get so much on top of the raw milk that I can actually decant it and use it for whipping. Yum!

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  2. How fantastic that you can access raw milk, soo much healthier! My first job was on a milk run too, I became quite familiar with Como, Kensington and South Perth :) $12 a night!

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    1. I started on $10 and moved up to $15 when I was head runner and in charge of the order book. I used to bank it each week and still had it in my savings when I went backpacking five years later. My brother and I used to bore our family witless when we went for walks as we would call out every house's milk order as we passed.

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  3. we get raw milk too, and in glass bottles as well. It's a bit difficult to find a place as it's technically illegal to sell raw milk here .. but usually if you know someone in the know it can work out. I was just thinking the other day how excellent it is because we now never have plastic milk containers in the recycling. Plus sometimes we have a surplus of extra empty bottles and crates which make excellent vases for flowers! love your blog! georgi

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    1. A vase is an excellent idea! Raw milk is illegal here as well, so owning the cow tidies up that side of things nicely.

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  4. It's the most wonderful milk isn't it?
    My uncle is a dairy farmer, I grew up drinking real milk and simply can't come at drinking the computerised stuff they sell at the shop. Still, the milk our dreadlocked farmer brings us every week is so much yummier than the milk I grew up on, it must be all that love they put in to it...

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  5. Well this is lovely to read! Thanks! -Wife of said dreadlocked farmer

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    1. Oh dreadlocked farmers' wife, I think you are going to need to get another cow. The people, they are clamouring for your milk!

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  6. Hey Alison. I managed to randomly stumble across your webpage looking for freshwater spring locations near Denmark. Noticed your milk day posting and would LLOOOOOVVVEEE to know where you get your milk from? If that is at all possible. My partner and I managed to get a hold of some raw milk a couple of months ago, but since then it has all dried up and we don't know any other sources. We like to use it for everything, but especially for Kefir. Denmark sure is a magical place to live! Cheers

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  7. How wonderful. I yearn to have organic milk delivered to my doorstep. Sounds beautiful. Lovely to meet you.

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