Milk cans

Milk cans were set on the road

In years gone by, milk was delivered differently in Sooke

Milk comes in cartons from the grocery store, and today we don’t see many fields with grazing milk cows, but it wasn’t always like this. In the 1940s and 1950s Sooke sent dozens of milk cans a day to Victoria.

The 10 gallon cans, as pictured, were described by dairy farmer Rex Kendrew in 1998, “Ten gallon cans equal 100 lbs of milk … that meant several tons of milk a day … now there’s none.”  The roadsides were dotted with the steel cans, picked up each morning by Island Freight Service and hauled to the Island Farms plant in Victoria for processing.

Twice daily milking, either by hand or occasionally on larger farms by milking machine, produced the volume making up that fluid tonnage. Herds generally ranged from six cows to 30. After morning milking they were let out to pasture and returned for evening milking about four o’clock.

Some farmers had separators, a mechanism which forced the heavy cream from the milk, a process that required the strong arms of a youngster to turn a crank employing centrifugal force to divert the particles of cream.  Smaller five gallon cans were used for shipping cream, which brought a premium price as a reward for the extra labour.

When the processed milk came back to Sooke from the dairy via a dairy delivery truck, it was delivered to customers in glass bottles. If you wanted three quarts left at your door, you put your three empty quart bottles out to signal the milkman.

Manure cleaned from the gutters of the cow stalls in the stables and distributed on the fields, provided nutrients to grow hay, alfalfa and feed such as mangels to carry the cows over the winter.  Jersey, Holstein and Ayrshire seemed the most popular breeds.

Among the most prominent dairy farmers west of the Sooke River were Glinz/Wilford on West Coast Road, Welsh on Maple and Grant, Lunson on Helgesen, with Strong, Nissen, Cotterill, Rudd, Duncan, Kendrew in central Sooke. East of Sooke River were Milne, Martin, Jensen, Leiper and Doran. Some farmers did not ship, but had their customers pick up bottles at the farm.

The 1960s brought new methods to dairying and bulk tanks into use. By the 1980s the growth of regulations had completely altered the picture, and milk cans were seen no more.

Elida Peers,

Historian

Sooke Region Museum

Just Posted

Coun. Fred Haynes to run for mayor against Mayor Atwell

Haynes to go head-to-head with Atwell for Saanich mayoral seat in 2018

Bob Heyes back behind Shamrocks bench for 2018 season

Art Webster, Mike Simpson, John Hamilton will also return

UPDATE: Driver escapes from crash in Sidney

Town truck and another vehicle collide, causing van to roll over

Victoria Women’s March draws hundreds

Pink pussy hats aplenty as demonstrators took to downtown streets

FISHING ADVENTURES: Winter fishing season in full swing

Upcoming fishing events include Local Pub’s Salmon Superbowl Derby and Victoria Boat Show

Testing the Google Arts & Culture app

Going face to face with art

VIDEO: Fuel truck and train collide in B.C. causing massive fire

More emergency crews are still arriving on scene of a massive fire at the Port Coquitlam rail yard.

Back to work: U.S. government shutdown ends after Democrats relent

Short-term spending measure means both sides could see another shutdown stalemate in three weeks

Man lives despite malfunctioning defibrillator at B.C. arena

A middle-aged man went into cardiac arrest after at game at Pitt Meadows Arena last Wednesday.

Reynolds, Edward Milne capture titles at Esquimalt hoops tournament

Host Dockers take fourth in senior girls draw

Cause of Northern B.C. seaplane crash released

TSB releases report on seaplane crash during a water landing in 2016 near First Nations community

Vancouver police crack down on pop-up pot vendors

Officers raided merchants’ tables on Robson Square late Sunday

Bell Media, NFL take appeal over Super Bowl ad rules to top court

At issue is a ban on substituting American ads with Canadian ones during the game’s broadcast

Crown seeks 4.5 years jail for B.C. woman convicted of counselling tax evasion

Debbie Anderson the latest from group to face jail for teaching debunked ‘natural person’ theory

Most Read