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The Milkman is Making a Comeback

There’s a timeless tradition making a remarkable comeback: dairy delivery. Once a staple of neighborhoods across Maryland, the familiar clink of glass bottles and the early-morning arrival of the milkman became a nostalgic memory for many. Fueled by a growing demand for sustainable and locally sourced products, dairy delivery services are making a resurgence, and Curbside Cow by Nice Farms Creamery is leading the way.

Bob Miller, co-owner of Nice Farms Creamery in Federalsburg, spent most of his life on a dairy farm. Even though he stepped away for a short while during his college years at Salisbury University and five years in the U.S. Army as a commissioned officer, he never lost his love for the farm and cows. He always hoped to come back to the farm one day, and that’s just what happened when the creamery came about.

Nice Farms Creamery is 201 acres, and aside from the woodland areas, everything else is permanent pasture at over 120 acres. Bob, along with his wife Jaclynne and sister-in-law Brandy, keep about 65 registered Jersey cows, with around 45 of them being in milk at any given time.

“We feel the Jersey cow is the superior breed of all the dairy breeds. She has nutrient-dense and richer milk, and ours are all A2 which some scientists suggest may be an easier digestible milk. The Jersey is more feed efficient than other breeds, meaning they eat less, drink less and create less waste than other types of cows. They are a smaller yet productive and resilient cow and also do very well on a pasture system,” Bob says. “In these times when efficiency, longevity and sustainability are increasingly important, Jerseys outperform the other major dairy breeds very handily. Plus, they are so darn cute!”

Since 2009, Nice Farms Creamery dabbled in home delivery, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, this part of the business became even more important and Curbside Cow was born. Before 2019, Bob says they were happy to sell milk at several local farmers markets and had a significant supply commitment to a mid-shore coffee shop chain, which accounted for up to 70% of production. However, when this chain unexpectedly and suddenly closed for several months during the pandemic, it left the family scrambling to find new ways to sell its dairy products.

“It was a frightening time, having just bought out the dairy farm from my parents, who retired. Without our largest account, how would we sell all the milk?” Bob says. “But the support was there. The dairy fans who wanted local milk continued to support us. It was truly an incredible and inspiring time for us. When we thought we wouldn’t make it, it was the everyday people who kept coming to markets and ordering online and supporting our emergency delivery routes.

“We decided it was time to back these wonderful people first and foremost ever since,” Bob continues. “Now we have eight delivery routes six days a week all around Delmarva and are so grateful for each and every one of them!”

Now in its third year, Curbside Cow delivers a delicious range of products produced from the creamery including whole, skim and chocolate milks, yogurts, half ‘n half, buttermilk, ice cream, butter, Nice Brew coffee lattes and eggnog during the Christmas season. Curbside Cow also partners with fellow farmers like Chapels Creamery for cheeses, Triple J Farms for eggs and Brambles Blossoms for hydroponic greens. They even use Medrano Coffee, based in Chestertown, in their latte drinks and coffee ice creams.

“Supporting our dairy helps to build community relationships, fostering connections between us as a local food producer and our customers, and promotes sustainable sourcing and consumption practices,” Bob says. “Additionally, our dairy uses regenerative, sustainable and environmentally friendly practices. We prioritize animal welfare and take great pride in being good stewards of the land.”

By supporting a local dairy farm and delivery service, the creamery’s customers help to preserve agricultural diversity and promote community health.

Hungry for more? Read about robotic milking. Learn more about Maryland cheese. Watch this video about a dairy farm in Washington County.

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