A Dairy Diary: A brief history of Thomas Dairy.

Thomas Dairy Timeline:


1854

Farm purchased by grandfather of Orin Thomas.

1901

Orin's father purchased his first purebred Holstein.

1909

On the death of his father, 23 year-old Orin assumed the management of the 325-acre farm, which included a herd of 40 purebred Holsteins.

1912

Orin sold milk to a local milk plant from where it was shipped by rail to Boston.

1921

Orin started house-to-house milk deliveries in Rutland City, marking the beginning of Thomas Dairy. The cost of a quart of milk was 11 cents.

1931

Thomas Dairy pasteurized milk for the first time, doing so before it was required by law.

1943

Every-day milk deliveries replaced by every-other-day deliveries due to gas rationing in World War II.

1947

Thomas Dairy sold homogenized milk, the first local dairy to do so. Farm and dairy incorporated as Orin Thomas and Sons.

1952

Carton containers replaced glass bottles.

1955

Fire destroyed a barn and a large amount of farm machinery; barn and machinery replaced.

1968

Fire destroyed main cattle barn, a stanchion-type building. One cow died as 89 others were led to safety. A new 310-foot, free-stall cow barn and milking parlor built.

1975

Milk sold in plastic jugs as well as carton containers. Farm included 500 acres of land and 250 registered Holstein cows. Dairy had five retail and two wholesale routes.

1976

Dairy received "Vermont Seal of Quality," becoming one of the first dairies in the state allowed to use the designation.

1994

Thomas Dairy decided not to use the hormone rBST to increase milk production.

1995

A quart of homogenized milk sold for 80 cents.

1996

As of January 1, Thomas Dairy had 500 acres of land, 155 head of cattle (including 70 milking head), 8 delivery routes and 26 employees, 18,000 gallons of milk (72,000 quarts) processed each week.

1998

4 more delivery routes added for a total of 12 routes and 38 employees.

1999

Enlarged our walk-in cooler.

2000

Enlarged our processing plant and upgraded our equipment.

2000

3rd generation co-owner, Merritt Thomas passes away after decades of dedication and hard work at Thomas Dairy. This propels the next generation in to leadership.

2003

Added new 20 valve filling machines enabling us to package milk in plastic containers.

2005

Sale of cattle and farm equipment. Local farms will now supply Thomas milk to be processed and packaged at the Thomas Dairy plant and distributed to it's loyal retail customers.

2009

Established relationship with Black River Produce to grow distribution and reach of Thomas Dairy products.

2011

Began distribution of Green Mountain Creamery Greek Yogurts. Manufactured in Brattleboro VT, this highly popular yogurt line won top honors at the World Dairy Expo Championship in 2012.

2012

An HAACP Audit was conducted at Thomas Dairy, where a rating of 97% was attained. This highly regarded food safety certification has reinforced the Dairy's concentration on high quality at every level.

2013

Expansion in to western NH and deliveries made to our first out-of-state customers.

2014    

Strong relationship development with Sodexo Foods and UVM, with Thomas Dairy being showcased as the local, premium milk choice in the Vermont First Pledge.