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Dairy: Bottled milk is coming back

December 24, 2018

BELPRE, Ohio — On 100 acres of pasture tucked in the rolling hills, sits a barn just six minutes outside of Belpre and Little Hocking.

It’s called Twin Pines Dairy, and that’s where a family of five is forging a new path down an old-fashioned road.

“My Grandpa and my Dad were dairy farmers down near Parkersburg,” Dave Florence explained after a recent morning milking. “And just a year and a half before I was born, they switched from the old-fashioned glass bottle way to the bigger commercial way used by most places.”

But now, with his wife Tara, daughter Allison, 16, and twin 13-year-old sons, Austin and Adam, there’s a plan in motion to switch back.

They hope by springtime to have a new pasteurization and bottling process built, certified and selling old-fashioned milk from the farm’s storefront and in local coffee shops and small markets in the Mid-Ohio Valley.

“It’s an opportunity to provide a different product, not saying the commercial way is better or worse, we just want to do it a little different, in a way that can be more intimate,” Florence said. “This way, we can keep it in the family and stay in business with a small farm giving those who want to know where their milk came from that answer.”

Dave grew up with the tales of a simpler pasteurization process and a more intimate relationship with the consumers of his family’s dairy products.

His father and grandfather had a delivery truck and glass bottles and they milked into pales.

“Right now, with the sheer volume the huge plants are producing for the big grocery stores it’s all about efficiency and passing that milk through the process as quickly and safely as possible,” he explained.

But what gets lost in that quick time and high-temperature pasteurization and homogenization are some of the good bacteria, he said.

“So, we’re going back down in temperature to 145 degrees for 30 minutes, not the 180 to 200 degrees for one to two seconds,” Florence said. “That kills off the bad but keeps the good and creates a rich taste.”

He said it’s a niche market that some consumers are looking for, not only supporting the local dairy farmer but wanting to be more aware of and trust what’s in the foods they’re consuming.

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