The Creamery

The creamery was a refreshing oasis on hot summer days at the farm. Until the late 1960’s, when milk cans gave way to bulk storage, milk from the cows was poured into metal cans and stored in the creamery tank.

You may be picturing a sterile-looking refrigerated room when you think of “creamery.” This was not the case on my grandparents’ farm. The milk cans were carried out the back door of the barn to a wooden shed built over a spring. Entrance to the building was through a tall sliding door. On the right side of the room stood a long cement tank filled with cold, cold spring water. My uncle or my grandfather immersed the cans in the water and, using pulleys and counterweights, lowered a heavy lid onto the top. Even with the tank covered, the air inside the creamery stayed deliciously cool and made for a peaceful respite from the heat of the midday sun.

"The Creamery in 1972," Carol Crump Bryner, pen and ink, 2013

“The Creamery in 1972,” Carol Crump Bryner, pen and ink, 2013

On Friday:  Watermelon Pickles

5 thoughts on “The Creamery

  1. Netzy

    Oh to be in that cool shed with cream!!!! Thick cream for my coffee. Would you ever skim that cream off for your coffee?

    1. Carol Post author

      The milk for the farm kitchen was put into glass bottles. The cream rose to the top and was poured off for coffee, etc. The milk left in the bottles after the cream was poured off was always laced with little lumps of cream, something I could never tolerate. But the cream made wonderful butter and whipped cream.

  2. Susan Mahan Appell

    This is one part of the farm that I wasn’t familiar with. But I do remember the skimming the cream off the top of the milk at Whirlwind Hill Farm. When my mom made strawberry shortcake, she would ask Dean to bring a quart of cream when he came in for dinner.

    1. Carol Post author

      And I’m sure your mom made delicious strawberry shortcake. There is nothing now that quite compares to whipped cream made from fresh cream skimmed off the top of the milk.


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