by Kimberly Hartke
I remember the milkman. Most of you maybe are too young to have such a memory. Every week, he delivered fresh milk, cream, cottage cheese to an insulated metal container on our back porch (placed there because it was the shady side of the house). He was a direct connect between us and the producer.
Excited, we would run to greet the milkman. We loved the products he brought and his nice smile. He would have a lively chat with my mom, tell her about new products and take her order for the next week.
Ed Hartz, whose family lives in both Sandy Hook and Fairfield Connecticut, wants to bring the Milkman back. He believes the Milkman is the key to rebuilding our rural economies. By providing a bridge between the producer and consumer, the Milkman is a market maker. He adds a personal touch, and he shares his firsthand knowledge of the farms, their products, with his customers.
Ed says with enthusiasm, “The consumer is the ultimate guide to food freedom, the consumer dictates the marketplace. You don’t need a lot of money to fight the status quo with a milk truck.” Ed believes the milkman is a change agent, and that raw milk is a metaphor for food rights.
This all started two years ago when Ed attended the Rutgers lecture by David Gumpert, author of Raw Milk Revolution—Behind America’s Emerging Struggle Over Food Rights. At the time, he had been doing side jobs as a milk man to make extra money. He caught the vision of what a milkman delivery company could do to widen access for consumers to high quality, locally produced products.
Then, Ed attended the International Raw Milk Symposium in Madison, Wisconsin, where he really got jazzed about his business idea. He returned home to Connecticut, bought a used milk truck and started knocking on doors. Today, a year later, he has hundreds of customers who buy a variety of farm fresh products from The Milkman Company.
As he goes from house to house, he educates his customers (Why Raw Milk Is GREAT For Me) about the foods they are buying. Like the milkman of my youth, he is bringing a smile and firsthand knowledge to his “neighbors.”
His latest project is launching an indoor, permanent farmers market, otherwise referred to as a “Food Hub.” This market, as well as the milkman delivery service, will be open and operating 6 days a week, and serve the community much the way a grocery store does. Ed believes the transitory nature of most Farmers Markets are inefficient and that farmers don’t get a good return on the time and resources they invest in them.
In contrast, milkman delivery service plus a Food Hub will create stability and improve access to the local foods marketplace. Also, marketing and distribution don’t fall on the farmer’s shoulders when these two things are in place.
The Milkman Company will connect farmers with the Food Hub, allowing farmers to stay on the farm and do what they do best, grow produce, tend orchards and care for livestock.
Fairfield County, Connecticut is one of the most affluent communities in the nation. The clientele Ed serves are professionals, work on Wall Street, own businesses. They are influential people, and raising their consciousness about food will raise awareness in the community at large.
And, Ed’s service brings them alternative products not necessarily available through other commercial channels. On his truck, he carries a variety of fruits and vegetables, and a range of dairy products: biodynamic, non-GMO, lightly pasteurized, non-homogenized, and even raw milk, since Connecticut is a state that permits retail raw milk sales.
Explains Ed Hartz, “We can actualize change through activity. More people, who object to industrial agriculture and its outputs need to act on good information. I would like to teach others how easy it is to set up a delivery service in their community. I invite Hartke is Online readers who are interested in this green business opportunity to email me for more information about this business model and The Milkman Company distributorships.”
Visit TheMilkmanCompany.com or email Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org.