After almost four decades of delivering Riverina Fresh milk to Boorowa and surrounding villages, local milkos Pat and Bev Barton, and their counterparts of 19 years in Young, Graham and Cathy Marshall, have all decided it's time to stack their last milk crates.
With their pending retirement, Riverina Fresh has committed to continuing to service as many of the local businesses in the region as possible, with deliveries coming straight from the factory in Wagga.
Riverina Fresh is Australian-owned and operated, with nearly 100 employees located in the Riverina at its head office in Wagga. Its fresh milk reaches its many regional customers with the help of local distributors like the Bartons and Marshalls.
From the farm to the factory to the customer, each bottle of milk has all been sourced and manufactured right here in the Riverina. Celebrating 100 years in 2023, Riverina Fresh spokesman, Asher Davies, said "We are really privileged to have worked with such dedicated distributors over such a long period of time. As a 100 percent Australian owned company with close to 100 locally employed staff, we look forward to continuing to supply the region and service our customers directly or through their local retail store as we have done for the last 100 years.
Pat and Bev (pictured left) bought, Boorowa Milk Supply in August 1986, and in those early days Pat would cover an area including Binalong, Bowning, Bookham, Burrinjuck Dam, Jugiong, and Galong three times a week in his trusty Dodge. Over the last 37 years, they've expanded the business with milk deliveries into Harden and Yass, and egg deliveries to Young.
The milk run has made them familiar faces in the community, with their regular deliveries to shops and homes. They would have loved to sell the business to someone local, but unfortunately were unable to find a buyer. They're grateful for the loyalty their customers and the community has shown to them over the years, and will miss the many chats that they've had while unloading milk crates.
While it will probably be some time before they're used to sleeping past 4am, and Pat's year-round look of black stubbies shorts is unlikely to change any time soon, they're looking forward to the next chapter after the milk run, including some travelling other than in a milk truck.
Over at Young, Graham and Cathy Marshall (pictured right) are calling it a day on Greycat Enterprises after 19 years of milk deliveries to outlets in Grenfell, Cootamundra and Young.
Looking back over nearly two decades, Graham says they are most proud of how they were able to grow the business, but confesses they will not miss the early starts and seven day a week commitment they have given.
"We haven't had holidays and its was even a struggle to get a weekend off. It will be just nice for both of us to stop, relax and travel. I have a couple of project cars to sort out and Cathy is looking forward to playing more golf and spending time with people. I'm turning 70 soon and its time to put the feet up."