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

Sooke’s under-14 girls squad ready for playoff tests

Sooke team has perfect record so far

Sooke’s Santa Run joined with Otter Point to fill the food bank

Dozens of volunteers took to the streets to gather food and cash donations

Pedestrian hit by vehicle near Douglas and Pandora

Police have since cleared the scene and traffic is back to normal

Big sister credited with saving girl hit by car from more severe injuries

Saanich police continue to seek driver who left the scene Monday

Week of rain expected for Greater Victoria

Wind warning also in effect for much of Vancouver Island

Nanaimo’s Discontent City bulldozed

No access to the site allowed as crews clean up what was a homeless village on the waterfront

Nanaimo’s Discontent City bulldozed

No access to the site allowed as crews clean up what was a homeless village on the waterfront

BCHL player lifts Canada West to second win at World Junior A Challenge

Chilliwack Chiefs player has a three-point performance

Well-known B.C. snowmobile guide killed in rollover accident

Shuswap sledding communty mourns loss of experienced Sicamous snowmobiler

B.C.’s skyrocketing real estate market will ‘correct’ in 2019: analyst

Housing prices in Vancouver are set to rise just 0.6 per cent

Climate change, receding glaciers increase landslide risk on B.C.’s Mount Meager

Climate change is causing glaciers atop Mount Meager, in British Columbia, to shrink increasing the chances of landslides and even a new eruption, says one expert.

UK’s May lobbies EU leaders in fight to save Brexit deal

Top European Union officials ruled out Tuesday any renegotiation of the divorce agreement with Britain.

Former Canadian diplomat detained in China amid rising tensions: reports

A former Canadian diplomat has been arrested in China, according to media reports and the international think tank he works for.

Most Read