Milk delivery options in the Capital Region

By Akum Norder

meadowbrook milk glass cropI grew up with a milk-box on my front steps, and it was an incredibly useful thing. It was my oven when I played house: The grey metal box baked pebble cakes to perfection. When the porch was my covered wagon, the box was the driver's seat.

It also held milk.

The milkman would come by in the afternoons once a week. He had a '70s mustache -- it was the '70s, after all -- and a yellow cap. If we were home when he came, we could buy chocolate milk from him, right off the truck. Barefoot in the grass, and someone drives up and brings you chocolate milk: That's the way childhood is supposed to be.

I always liked getting milk delivery. It made milk somehow more special than the other foods. It was the only one, after all, that came straight to my house.

I haven't pulled my pebble cake recipe out of the files for a long time now. But as the owner of a porch, it seemed right to me that the porch have a milk-box. The milk we have delivered is sweet and fresh and flavorful like no milk I've ever had -- including what I remember from my childhood. (New York cows, I salute you.)

It's also more expensive. We think of it as our weekly contribution to the Support A Local Farm fund. And we love that it comes in heavy reusable glass bottles -- and that we don't have to throw a plastic gallon jug into the recycling bin every week.

The Capital Region's home milk delivery options have expanded in recent years. What follows are some dairies that bring the milk from the cow to your porch -- and a little about how they do it.

King Brothers Dairy
Schuylerville

When brothers Jan King and Jeff King started delivering milk last spring, an old family business was reborn. Their grandfather and uncles delivered around Saratoga until the early 1960s. Their grandfather had processed his own milk, but when homogenization came in, the family decided not to invest in the new equipment. "They were old enough they wanted to retire," Jan says. "So they stopped the home delivery."

The King brothers are fourth-generation farmers; the farm has been in business for about 115 years. But Jan and Jeff have brought delivery into the modern age with an online ordering system.

And in addition to their milk, King Brothers will bring products from other local farms and area businesses to your door. Their website offers yogurt, beef, eggs, jam, bacon, pies and more. "We're kind of like a farmers market on wheels," Jan says. "People really enjoy the freshness, but also it's local. It's supporting a number of businesses and farms in the area."

Delivery area
Right now, King Brothers delivers from Clifton Park up to Queensbury. But when they can set up enough deliveries in points south -- Latham, Colonie, Schenectady, Albany -- they're looking to expand their territory.

Meadow Brook Farms Dairy
Clarksville
(518) 768-2451; no website

Charles Van Wie and his brother grew up in the business. Meadow Brook, started by their father, has been offering home delivery since 1926.

This is "our" milk -- what we drink at home -- and in the interest of full disclosure I'll point out that it's wonderful. It's hard to imagine going back to drinking anything else. Meadow Brook is also the only one of these three dairies to deliver in the Albany city limits at this time.

Charles is an old-school fellow who loves to tell a tale or two about the milk business. Some of which he didn't want in print. Here's one I can share:

I'm sitting in the truck and I hear these two guys talking up on the roof of a house, doing roof work or something:
"You see that milk truck down there?"
"Yeah."
"He has the best milk in" -- I don't remember exactly what he said -- "the best milk in town" or "best milk in the state."
He didn't know I was listening. I hollered up, "World! Nevermind that "state" stuff. World! Let's think big. Let's not think small."

And that, Charles says, is their philosophy: "We do everything all the time to try to make it better. We want everything perfect and we work at it every day."

Delivery area:
Albany and Troy, plus parts of Saratoga; call to ask if they're in your area.


Battenkill Valley Creamery
Salem

Battenkill started processing its own milk in 2008 and added delivery service last year. Seth McEachron, a fifth-generation dairy farmer, explains part of their milk's appeal: "Our milk can go from our cows to our bottles in less than eight hours and to our customers in less than twelve. Can't beat that freshness."

Their product was named the highest quality milk in New York state by the Cornell University Department of Food Science at last year's state fair. McEachron notes that Battenkill Valley Creamery is the first farmer/producer/bottler ever to be chosen for the award.

Battenkill also lets you add other local products to your milk delivery order, including bread, pickles and peanut butter. And -- brace yourself -- they make and deliver their own ice cream. "From our cows to your cone!" they say.

I'll drink to that. Milk mustache, here I come.

Delivery area:
Saratoga Springs and its surroundings, including parts of Malta, Ballston Spa and Wilton; they are looking to expand.

Comments

Great article! I hope that these programs continue to grow. I would love to have milk delivered to my home. For now, I will keep frequenting the farmer's markets.

Partner & I think taste of Battenkill wins hands down. Wish Honest Weight would carry it!

I wish there was a website for Meadow Brook with pricing. I'm interested but afraid I can't really afford the expense. So I want to just know without having to talk to someone. :)

I wish the milk man would deliver my milk in the morning.
I wish the milk man would deliver my milk when I'm yawning.

The milk box also makes a good prop for photography. My kids have always had their first day of school pictures taken sitting on it.

@Olivia: Meadow Brook milk is $3.25 a half gallon, delivered, and the last time I asked about it, you had to get at least a gallon a week for them to do the delivery. But that might not be the case if they are already in your area. In my experience, they're hard to get a hold of even if you want to talk to them. It's best to call really early in the AM.

We are former Meadow Brook and current King Bros. Meadow Brook was a bit frustrating, because they had no web or email presence.

King Bros. has a great,easy website. They are always adding to their deliveries (Oscar's bacon, local eggs, steak, Smith Pie's, Cabot cheese and butter, etc.), and it's super easy to add, remove, cancel, or pause an order. It's a bit more expensive than milk at the store, but the convenience and knowing we support a local, sustainable business more than outweighs the slight added cost.

Nice article, Akum. For those in the Niskayuna area, the Niskayuna Co-op has Battenkill Milk. I think they get deliveries on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Might be cool to think about getting home delivery one day, but looks like none of the above farms deliver to my area yet.

We LOVE Meadowbrook. A testament to it's taste is that when we travel and my daughter has to drink grocery store milk, she won't. Yet at home she begs for more Meadowbrook. It isn't cheap but when cutting back, it's probably the last food item that would go. Not doing a CSA this year but can't live w/o our MB delivery.

We are big fans of Meadowbrook Farms milk. Would it kill people to pick up the phone every now and again and do a little 'ring a ding dingy' and use that thing we call our 'voice'?

Charles is great - he stops in to talk to my son when he delivers the milk and has invited us up to the farm to show our son (and ourselves) where milk comes from. We of course took him up on the offer and had a blast!

This may apply to many of these milks, but I love being able to taste what the cows eat via the milk - as we move into spring and summer, the taste will move from straw to clover.

Love, Love, Love Battenkill Creamery! Though I don't use their delivery service, the bottles I buy at the Schenectady Farmer's Market stay fresh for WEEKS! Plus the Pumpkin Pie ice cream is to die for. :-)

Meadowbrook Farms milk can't be beat, their chocolate milk is such a treat- tastes more like a chocolate milkshake. And a bonus: they have the best eggnog at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

We use Meadowbrook, they deliver to about 10 houses in our development in North Colonie. They also deliver our eggs from a local farm. For the commenter who hesitates to call, they had a tent at the Colonie Farmer's Market in the Crossings last year. Ask for a blank bill to see what they offer.

Meadowbrook is also carried at the Carrot Barn in Schoharie. If I remember correctly people out in the Schoharie County area can coordiate with the Carrot Barn to get their milk delivered there.

Do any of the milk delivery options offer organic milk? We would love to support a local dairy, but choose organic milk.

Meadowbrook is great. Their whole milk makes the perfect steamed/frothed milk for coffees and they have a great selection. I just called one day and asked if they would drop off a list for pricing et cetera before I committed and because they deliver so frequently all of the city it came within two days. Also, their light cream (aka half n half to my husband) is amazing. A little goes a long way. The school in which I teach has been a customer for 20 years and it is the only dairy we purchase, so I just had to become a client after all that good dairy.

1/2 gallons are about 3.25 (whole, 2%, skim, chocolate). They also have heavy cream, light cream, gallons of whole of 2%, buttermilk, juices, farm eggs ($2.50 dozen), and cottage cheese. At the holiday time they carry amazing eggnog.

Not to mention, they bill monthly or so and the expense is really not much when you consider that the higher quality makes up for the cost and in the case of light cream you tend to use less anyway. Think about it, you wouldn't buy cheap beer just to save $1.00 (or would you???)

It's worth noting that Meadowbrook milk & chocolate milk is available at Young's Pharmacy on NY 43 in Averill Park. We pick some up every now and then.

We got some of their egg nog this past holiday and it was great.

This story put a smile on my face. I remember milk deliveries at my grandparents. My Gramps actually got chocolate milk for himself, wasn't just when us kids were there. How cute is that?!

Plus I grew up on a dairy farm.

I called Meadowbrook and confirmed they grow their own alfalfa (non-GMO) and their feed is pesticide-free. They're not certified organic, but operate as if they were. We use a lot of their products at our bakery.

Meadowbrook Farms is worth every penny, we weren't going to do it because of the expense but once we tasted it we were hooked. Before Meadowbrook, milk was something my children had to drink before they could have juice. Now they beg for second glasses of milk.

Meadowbrook will also deliver Thomas Poultry Farm eggs which are out of this world.

I am one happy customer.

In addition to the organic question, does anyone know anything about their use of hormones?

Meadow Brook Farms has never used bovine growth hormones.

How do I get meadow brook to return phone calls? Serious....3 in 6 mos no return....do they not need the business?

my parents had meadowbrook delivered throughout my entire childhood. i can't remember a day that i didn't have at least a glass of milk during that period. in the years since i've moved out on my own i can't remember the last time that i bought milk.

just a warning: it will ruin you. (in a good way though)

Meadowbrook Farm Dairy is just down the hill from us and we have been using them for over a decade. Yes, they cost a bit more, but we are helping support a local farm (and a neighbor). In turn, they provide us with hormone and antibiotic free milk, from one local herd. It's the best milk around, and cream which we use for our morning coffee. Hey, they're a family operation and not a big business so they likely don't have time to set up a website and all. So if you don't like to make phone calls (to talk to a real human and ask questions),...good,....that's more delicious, healthy, local milk for the rest of us. You can have your hormone and antibiotic laden, commercially run, big agri-business "farm" cheaper white stuff. Our family is sticking with their family farm milk for many reasons.

Does anyone know if Meadowbrook offers unhomogenized milk? I am using cream top milk from Battenkill but all the rave about MFD got my attention.

You can find Meadowbrook at the Honest Weight Coop, too. $2.69/half gallon, plus a refundable deposit on your glass bottle.

Gade Farm (Western Ave, Guilderland) also carries it -- they open April 1 for the season.

@CVAA - yes, they do offer unhomogenized milk!

I just want to add to the accolades for Meadowbrook! They also deliver in North Greenbush in Rensselaer County.

Thanks for this great article, Akum. It's prompting my family to try out Battenkill Valley Creamery milk.

We're really lucky around here, both Battenkill and Meadowbrook are great farms and dairies.

Organic is tough for smaller producers to adhere to and make money, but a good local dairy is usually about 90% there.

We've gotten milk from them for a few years now, and love it. Not sure what the issue about reaching them is... I've never had a problem and you get a choice of delivery times in Albany. Great bunch of people to do business with!

Can anyone kindly tell me the width of the opening of the popular Meadowbrook farms glass bottles in inches or millimeters? Are the quarts and pints the same size? Just wondering if my 48 mm pouring caps will fit. Thank you!

I have been trying to get in touch with Meadow Brook for at least six months. I've called and left numerous messages at different times of day, that included my phone number, and address, and asked if they could at least send me a list of what they sell. They have never responded. Now I am looking into King Brothers, and Battenkill. My mother loves Battenkill dairy. She says it tastes like what she grew up on from their own farm. I have placed a delivery order, but have not heard back other then a confirmation email that my order was placed. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a delivery.

I wish I could get Meadowbrook Farm to call or email me back.

I called last Tuesday (one week ago) and emailed the email address listed on another post on Wednesday. No response as of yet.

I guess my next wish would be that another dairy would deliver to the North Greenbush area.

i am very interested in setting up delivery, but i would like to know if they are organic.i can not find much information. i realize the are hormone free.

I can help answer a few questions here (we use Meadowbrook's milks - they offer skim, 2%, whole (all in 1/2 gal or quart glass bottles), 1/2 and 1/2 in plastic quart or 1/2 gal glass and heavy cream in pints or 1/2 gal plastic. No hormones are used and antibiotics only in emergencies. We have toured the dairy and the barn was so clean, it hardly smelled at all, even on a hot day. They also offer buttermilk from crowley and eggs from thomas, but thomas is a closed house farm w/ 250K chickens...can't find any info on their feed.

Gail Van Wie is busy taking orders all day. If you leave the info requested (name, street address, ph #, day of preferred delivery) they will deliver on the day they are closest to your neighborhood. It is hard to get them to call you back, but if you leave exactly that info, you'll get your order. Cut them a little slack tho - chuck and gail get up every day between 1 and 4am and they are advancing in age, but they are dear people who really care about providing our community clean milks from pastured, happy, well fed cows (w/ gmo/pesticide free feed grown on the property).

I grew up on my Grandfathers farm in Feura Bush

Stephen Hoose & son Howard loved that my wife found this article, We have so many memories of growing up on the farm they would take up a page here. Those were hard working days, but neverthe less, we enjoyed hard work back then. Every once in a while we go down memory lane to Onesquethaw creek rd, where I ment & later married my wife of now 53 yrs and remenace about our younger days and see all the changes, so sad to see all the farms change. Bob & Bonnie Adriance

Young's Pharmacy in Averill Park also sells Meadow brook farms milk.

I have a "FOLEY'S MILK" metal box from my wife's parents and I'm trying to get some history on it. So far, I have the following:
Judge James T. Foley, Albany, NY (1910-1990), did he have a dairy farm? My wife just told me there was a Foley's Dairy Farm near Pleasantville, NY. Any info would be deeply appreciated, thank you so much.

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