Trisha Schmidt smiles every morning when her alarm clock sounds, knowing that she is only moments away from drinking her favorite beverage: a cold glass of milk.
“There’s nothing better than watching the sun rise and drinking a tall glass of whole milk,” the Goessel resident said. “I like milk. It tickles your tastes buds and each sip brings a renewed sense of happiness. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have some in my fridge at all times. Life just wouldn’t be the same.”
Schmidt is one of the many Marion County residents who decide to purchase Hildebrand Dairy Milk products each week at local convenience and grocery stores. While it is more expensive that then major brands — $3 per half-gallon on average, with a $2.75 deposit — consumers say the taste is well worth the added cost.
“Milk loses all of its flavor if it is put in plastic,” Schmidt said. “Part of the reason this milk is so tasty is because they put it in glass bottles. Everyone used to get their milk in glass and I don’t know why they ever stopped. It’s the only way to go if you want to have your milk taste the best. Unless, of course, you have your dairy cows.”
Melissa Hildebrand said the only way the dairy makes a profit is because of the nostalgic niche that they have found in the glass bottles.
But, with milk price increasing, she wonders if people will still turn to Hildebrand to get their milk.
“Not everyone is willing to make the sacrifice to spend more money to get a better product,” she said. “We have great customers. But when times get tough, people usually need to make hard decisions — and that could be finding a cheaper alternative.”
But for Schmidt, and all the other Marion County residents who have grown accustomed to the fresh milk taste, it would be easier to limit their budget in other ways.
“I’d rather not have bread and cheese than go without my milk each morning,” Schmidt said.
When it comes to pinching pennies, I always allot money for my milk first and foremost. It’s been the mainstay in my diet for the past 50 years and it’s going to stay that way. I say phooey on the bad economy. Give me my milk!”
The only inconvenience, consumers say, is returning the glass bottles clean enough.
“If you don’t remember to wash it out right away, the milk gets kind of stuck on the bottom and it’s hard to get it out,” Schmidt said.
“You have to get something with a long handle and run some really hot water in order to get it all out of there. It’s not an easy task.”
But many other consumers, like Rita Fleming of Marion, say it is a better way to “dispose” of their milk cartons.
“I like to be green whenever I can,” she said. “This is just another way we can save the earth. If we keep using glass, all of that plastic doesn’t end up in a landfill.”
Still, no matter the disagreement, the milk consumers know one thing: they are going to keep buying the milk that tastes the freshest.
“If Hildebrand keeps doing a good job, I will definitely keep coming back for more,” Schmidt said. “You just can’t beat the quality.”
Hildebrand offers a variety of milk products, including whole milk, 2% milk, skim milk, chocolate milk, root beer milk, strawberry milk, and cream.
The Hildebrand dairy operation is located in Junction City, where they milk more than 150 Holsteins twice a day.