Dairy cows could usually produce five gallons of milk per day, or one-half of a ten-gallon creamery can. The average farm had six milk cows in those days.
Fairview Dairy was one of the older businesses in Borculo, operating in the 1950’s and founded by Clarence DeVries. Clarence and his family operated this dairy east of Borculo for a number of years, buying their milk from local farmers and bottling the milk.
Delbert Hoffman was a Borculo milk hauler who grew up as a boy on the Hoffman farm that was located 1.5 miles south of Borculo at 9281 Barry Street in Blendon Township. He attended the Borculo school which was located two and one-half miles from his home – one way. When the weather was good he took a bicycle. In the winter months he usually walked to school, and I used to walk with him when he got to our farm, which was located one mile from the schoolhouse. There was no bus service for kids in those days.
Delbert’s grandfather, Nick Hoffman, always kept some dairy cows on his farm. As a young man, Delbert’s father, Claude became interested in owning a retail milk route that sold milk to customers in Zeeland, four miles away in the year 1920. He built a small brick milkhouse on the Hoffman farm in Borculo to bottle milk that he bought from his neighbors. He purchased a milk wagon and a team of horses to deliver the bottled milk to his customers living in the city of Zeeland, four miles away from his farm, going down the streets from house to house. He called his milk business the Lily Dale Dairy.
In the warmer Summer months, Claude would deliver milk on Saturday evenings so that the milk would stay fresh, without refrigeration, until he came back on Monday. There was no milk delivery on Sundays in Zeeland in those days! Claude could often be found courting his girlfriend, who he later married, while delivering milk on Saturday evenings. She enjoyed accompanying him on his route, and he enjoyed the company!
Claude Hoffman operated this dairy in Borculo from 1920 to 1930, until stricter milk regulations forced him to discontinue the dairy on his farm.
Delbert’s sister Isabelle Jeurink, later wrote a couple of stories in the Zeeland Record under the column “Yesterday”, about some of her father’s experiences delivering milk in Zeeland. Following is one of her stories, dated 1995.
Antiques cannot speak and yet they tell us much about the lives of people who once owned them and used them at a time when life was much simpler.
Their museum is one way of sharing their blessings with others. For information about tours of the museum, they can be contacted at 616-875-8940.
It is now 120 years ago in 1899 that the Borculo Cooperative Creamery was established in Borculo, where Weavers Feed Mill later stood. First it was hauling milk with teams of horses and a high-wheeled wagon. Later it was the Model T truck and then more modern trucks in the 1930’s to the 1960’s, when all of the milk was held in 10-gallon (100 pound) cans. In 1970, bulk tankers started carrying the milk and continues today. Certainly the milk haulers of my Grandfather’s day would find it difficult to recognize their colleagues today!