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Newfoundland's milk trucks ‘moo’ving again after blizzard delay

To produce milk, these dairy cattle at Pondview Farms in Goulds must have a healthy diet provided by locally grown forage, free of chemicals and antibiotics.
Friday's blizzard resulted in a one-day pickup delay of milk from dairy farms in the province. FILE/SALTWIRE NETWORK

Regular pickup runs like clockwork, dairy farmer says, but state of emergency interrupted schedule

LETHBRIDGE, N.L. —

When a blizzard the magnitude of Friday’s storm hits an island like Newfoundland, it affects countless schedules and routine activities that make the province run smoothly.

It includes many things you might not ordinarily consider — like milk. 

Jeff Peddle FILE/SALTWIRE NETWORK
Jeff Peddle FILE/SALTWIRE NETWORK

“You can set your clock by the truck pulling in my yard,” Jeff Peddle, owner of Riverbend Dairy Ltd. in Lethbridge, told SaltWire Network on Wednesday, Jan. 22, referring to Fisher Transport Ltd.’s pickup schedule.

The company has a contract with dairy farmers in the province to haul raw milk to processing plants in St. John’s, where their trucks are also based, says Peddle, who has operated Riverbend Dairy for eight years.

Usually milk is picked up every other day, he says.

“This is the first time in eight years that they were off schedule, and it’s only because they couldn’t get on the roads,” Peddle said.

“As soon as they got permission, they were running to get everybody taken care of."

Peddle said Fisher Transport picked up milk a bit early the day of the storm, Friday, Jan. 17, to get ahead of the weather. Sunday’s scheduled pickup had to be delayed to Monday because of the blizzard.

Thanks to the dedicated efforts of companies like Fisher Transport, milk will continue to flow in Newfoundland.

“What they did, they sent two trucks and one of ‘em was a bigger tanker than they normally send, just to get everybody cleaned up and whatever,” Peddle said.

Hats off to all our Professional drivers who routinely pick up milk in the worst of weather conditions and do so safely. There is no finer example of this than the challenges our dedicated team of bulk milk specialist had to endure in Newfoundland these past several days after what is considered to be the storm of the century! We have heard about travelling down a cow path but snow banks as high as the truck is truly remarkable - Good work team! 🥛🐄 ❄️🚚

Posted by Fisher Transport Ltd. on Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Click to read more.
Click to read more.

“They did the best they could do with the situation they were dealt. They managed to get it all done, and hats off to ‘em.”

Peddle said he wasn’t overly concerned if the delay had been longer than just one day.

“All the farms have large, stainless steel refrigerated storage tanks," he said. "We’re all prepared to store longer than normal."

He’s not sure exactly how long milk could be kept in the tanks, but noted product stored that way will last quite a while.

Fisher Transport thanked its drivers in a Facebook post on Tuesday, Jan. 21. 

“Hats off to all our professional drivers who routinely pick up milk in the worst of weather conditions and do so safely,” said the post, which was accompanied by a video of a milk truck making its way through the mounds in the city.

“There is no finer example of this than the challenges our dedicated team of bulk milk specialist had to endure in Newfoundland these past several days after what is considered to be the storm of the century! We have heard about travelling down a cow path but snow banks as high as the truck is truly remarkable — good work team!”

paul.herridge@southerngazette.ca

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