Written By: Ellie Wilson, MS, RD Senior Nutritionist, Price Chopper Supermarkets
Delivering Dairy QualityGarelick Farms in Rensselaer is a division of Dean Foods, and one of about 70 plants across the country. Like Price Chopper, Garelick Farms was started by one family in Franklin, MA, in the 1930’s. Israel and Max Garelick were brothers who purchased a dairy farm, and they grew their business over time. On May 27th, Sage dietetic intern Kelly Smith and I toured the plant with the team and American Dairy Council staff Beth Meyers, Michelle Barber, RDN, and Emma Andrew. Over 200 people work at this site, led by Plant Manager Dave Gettings. Their team was eager to share how they go about ensuring the milk and other dairy products they process there (cream, half and half) are second to none. We met Janiece Goellner, quality manager, Mickey Cook, planning coordinator, Vince Friel, facility manager, Dave Flannery, sales manager and Stephanie Lincoln, Price Chopper account manager. They walked us through the facility and each step of getting milk through the various processes that ensure a delicious and safe product. Price Chopper has been working with the Garelick Farms plant since 2001. Dave Gettings offered that Price Chopper is a great partner and understands their business needs. The most important element of the whole system is time, and timing. This plant works with about 40 farms, ranging in size from 20-600 cows, located from Schoharie County to Greene County. It runs 24/7, as cows must be milked on a schedule, and you may already know, cows don’t take breaks. There is a very carefully crafted schedule that ensures milk is picked up within a certain time frame and the plant can process at the most efficient production. They must work with the farms to time pick up of the raw milk that ensures an efficient schedule that also accounts for the typical volume of milk, so the tanker has enough room for it each time. They are so good at timing everything, you can have milk on your table throughout most of Price Chopper’s footprint less than 24 hours from cow to cup. Some pretty impressive statistics: Each tanker holds about 7500 gallons of milk. The plant receives about 22 tankers of milk per day. The plant can hold 160,000 gallons in the milk silos. They can process 11,000 gallons per hour.
One more fun little fact we all know – when there is bad weather, like a big snow storm predicted, they have to increase production becaaaaaause — people buy more milk! Are you one of them? I am! Check back for more on how the plant ensures great quality, taste and food safety with the next blog!