“The neighborhood milkman is an indelible image of Americana. Dressed all in white, they would make door-to-door deliveries of milk, cream and butter with a smile and tip of their pristine cap.
The traditional milkman all but disappeared since a heyday in the 1940s and ’50s. A big reason was the emergence of large and local grocery stores that offered the appeal of one-stop shopping, as well as the “grab it fast” appeal of convenience stores. Improvements in home refrigeration and homogenization alike made use-it-or-lose-it milk purchases a thing of the past, and daily deliveries fell by the wayside.
Also, over time, large dairy companies forced a market consolidation that often squeezed out local suppliers. Selling on volume, grocery stores could undercut the prices charged by milkmen and the farms that employed them.
Another death knell was a cultural shift of the 1970s: As women increasingly entered the workplace, there was no one home during the day to receive orders and pack them away in the fridge. Leaving glass bottles of milk unattended In the hot summer sun? Not a grand idea.
Slowly but surely, milkmen have been re-emerging.
Fueling the resurgence of the past few years, in large part, is that more people are more serious about their food and wanting to “buy local.” Patronizing local dairy farmers is seen as giving access to fresher, better tasting product, and milkmen serve as a conduit between local, family farms and consumers. For those who want it, in states that allow it, the milkman may be the only source of specialty products such as raw milk….”
The lead picture is from an article that declares the Milkman to be an obsolete occupation in Canada. Here’s what MSN Money says about it:
“The milkman was a delivery person of great importance in the mid-1900s. And only the introduction of one household appliance, the refrigerator, proved to be this profession’s undoing. As the fridge started turning up in family kitchens and the risk of dairy products spoiling became less and less, the milkman’s decline began until he became as rare today as the three dollar coin. Yet, while Statistics Canada data shows the number of Canuck milkmen peaked last century, there is a flicker of hope for the dying trade. With a newfound insistence on buying local, some consumers in larger cities receive weekly shipments of dairy products. Does this mean the return of the milkman? Only time will tell.”