milk-eyed menders

Sometimes, in the midst of making 16oz lattes for the hoards of thirsty patrons, we run out of milk.

Generally, we use Sunshine Dairy — a local dairy provider and overall pick of many Portland cafes. But, things happen and you need to run to a nearby grocery store to make do. Organic Valley is a large “farmer-owned” company that partners with hundreds of regional dairy farmers who supply the Northwest and the like with organic eggs, butter, cheese, etc…

We had a few gallons in our low-boy refrigerator one morning and when I’m busy, I keep a gallon on the back counter for easy reach. Outside, I see a man and woman walk in and she’s wearing a white polo shirt with the Organic Valley logo in the upper left corner. He’s wearing a plaid shirt and overalls — kind of had that farmer swag goin’ on.

She says, “Hun, Look! They have our milk!”

He was pretty quiet about it, but smiled a bit.

And for some reason, I got sorta giddy.
It’s like cooking a steak in front of a cattle farmer that raised the cow. Well, it’s sorta like a lot of things.

It is a latte after all.  No big deal. But I’ve seen some people really screw up milk, so to treat it with the care it deserves was quite an honor. I always get a little nervous around farmers. It’s like they see right through my soul and know that I haven’t treated the fruits (and veggies) and of their labor with respect. Gah, I just know it. (Okay, not really, but maybe!)

In all seriousness, it was an honor to serve them something they may have helped produce in some way or the other. As always, it’s great to meet the producers and put faces to the ones who grow our food.

Thank you, dairy farmers.

Without you, my job would not be nearly as fun and delicious!

Your friend and barista,


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