What a treasure this old postcard is to me. Written and mailed 102 years ago, it appears to be a message of encouragement - possibly a get well wish - from "Allen" in the tiny community of Rickreall, Oregon, to "Miss Alpha Smith" in Silverton, Oregon, the town I have lived in for 27 years.
I found the card in February when I was searching for postcards about Mallorie's Dairy in Silverton. I didn't find any old postcards featuring Mallorie's to purchase for my collection, but could not believe my good fortune when, after scrolling through dozens of vintage dairy/cow-themed postcards, I came upon this beauty with a local connection. I love that kind of synchronicity. And I loved Mallorie's milk.....
The Mallorie's Dairy website is still active, even if the dairy ceased operations in February 2011. Our area was shocked when Mallorie's sold its herd of 3000 cows to Spandet Dairy south of Dimmitt, Texas. To understand what a loss this is for our area I am including the following from the intro at Mallorie's website:
Founded in 1954, Mallorie's Dairy is proud to be producing fresh and high quality milk for Willamette Valley residents. Located in Silverton, Oregon, Mallorie's is the only remaining dairy in Marion County that still bottles its own milk and delivers it fresh to your local market.... and this, also from the website, that just might make you question the milk you drink (click on screenprints to enlarge for reading; visit website to view active links in article):
At Mallorie's Dairy we raise and milk our cows, bottle it at our processing facility, and deliver it to your local markets. With total control of the entire process, we can assure the quality of the milk we produce.
rBST stands for recombinant bovine somatotropin. It is a growth hormone used on cows and is also known as: bST, BST, BGH, rBGH (BGH is for “bovine growth hormone”). I cannot track down a specific date but since around 2009 all milk products produced in Oregon and Washington must be guaranteed rBST free. Some stores may still market BST free milk for a higher price, but it is illegal for dairies in OR and WA to administer the rBST hormone to their cows.
Even with rBST-free milk available to us in this area, the milk products from Mallorie's Dairy were superior to the others that come from the system whereby numerous dairy farmers' products are blended together and sold by big processors. Carol McAlice Currie, a reporter for the Statesman Journal in Salem, described the products in an article on January 21, 2011, that gave voice to the sadness many residents felt (am copying excerpts from the article I cut out, as I cannot find online link):
The departure of the last truck carrying about 32 cows means that soon, most valley residents will have had their last glass of Mallorie's rich-tasting milk or a dollop of its velvety whipping cream. . .It is horrible now, that drive. I pass the dairy with its empty stalls and my heart sinks. The depression around this loss was made worse when, on February 17, 2011, the Statesman Journal printed an article titled Mallorie's Dairy herd arrives in Texas, that described temperatures in their new town in Texas at 25 degrees below zero shortly after their arrival:
Mallorie's milk and cream were easy to love. To most who tasted them, the milk and cream had a terroir all their own. Terroir is a wine term (also coffee and tea) used to describe the special characteristics that consistent soil, weather and farming techniques bestow upon a crop. Mallorie's milk had a terrific terroir - even its nonfat milk had a creamy texture - that came from the premium feed the Mallorie family gave its cows and the extraordinary care given the soil, equipment and surroundings. . .
Almost worse than losing the dairy products themselves, though, is the loss of the farm. No longer will residents be able to drive the hills and dales eastward past the dairy on Hazelgreen Road NE and point out to their children the well-cared-for cows that provided milk and cream without added growth hormones for as long as the dairy existed. We have lost the ability to show the next generation a local connection to one of the most common products they drink. . .
As you read this, someone in Texas likely is sipping a cold glass of milk that came from a Mallorie's Dairy cow.Of course there is a major business and economic story behind Mallorie's Dairy owners' difficult decision to quit the business. The Capital Press explained the mess on January 6, 2011, in Firm succumbs to low prices, and on January 13, 2011, ran an editorial titled Dairy Succumbs to Arcane System that will fill you in on the details. Additionally, I learned deeper background on U.S. Department of Agriculture decisions affecting this ultimate outcome at Mallorie's in an article published in Silverton's local Our Town in July 2009. Mallorie’s Dairy: Changing regulations challenge producer-handler contains quotes by Mallorie's owners and managers discussing their struggle to remain viable in a business dominated by large national processors who have successfully convinced the USDA to mandate regulations that work in their favor.
After a 1,700-mile, 27-hour road trip the last of the Silverton cows have arrived at their new home: Spandet Dairy south of Dimmitt, Texas.
Spandet Dairy has a population of about 10,000 cows — more than double the human population of Dimmitt.
There are at least a dozen more dairies in the area.
The town is about 15 miles northwest of Hart, Texas, in Castro County.
The Mallorie's herd, about 3,000 cows, made the long trip to the Southwest during the past couple of weeks.
Mallorie's Dairy announced its closure in early January, and the first shipment of cows left around the 17th.
According to Laurens Schilderink, owner of Spandet Dairy, the animals handled the trip well.
Schilderink and his wife moved from the Netherlands to open Spandet Dairy about eight or nine years ago.
He said he was impressed with the quality of the Silverton cows — some of which might be a bit chilled.
A cold snap swept across the South Plains last week, dropping temperatures to 25 degrees below zero.
Meanwhile, at Mallorie's Dairy, the remaining employees are dealing with the loss of the herd.
"Those were our babies," said bookkeeper Marge Trotter.
After more than a half-century of milk production, Mallorie's barn stalls are empty and the property is quiet.
A skeleton crew is cleaning and securing areas of the former dairy, said Charlie Flanagan, business manager.
"There are still crops that have to be maintained and unless a new owner comes in," he said, "there will still be some people here for a while."
I was going to write about how I have been moping about and coping with this major dietary change but have decided I will do so in a shorter follow-up post. Before I end this long OPW post (thank you to anyone who read to the end) I definitely want to give you the link to a post written by my friend at A Tidings of Magpies in late January describing the closing of their neighborhood grocery store in Cincinnati. I commented at the time that I would link to the post when I was finally able to write about the end of Mallorie's Dairy. She wrote, "Our local grocery store is closed due to financial troubles and, though it sounds a bit melodramatic, I am heartbroken." I understood completely. In a world that is changing so fast -- and recently in the horrific ways we have seen in Japan -- the losses of familiar businesses and the products and people behind them feel like personal losses because our connections to something real are suddenly only pieces of memories and the makings of myths.
Someone actually made a Mallorie's Dairy farewell video with some soulful and charming images of the cows, and an irritatingly raucous song that seems to mention Texas, so perhaps it is in some way applicable. You should mute the music. Trust me on this.