A rare picture of the Wawa Dairy Farm in Middletown about 1907. Same location as today.
WAWA DAIRIES AND THEIR BUSY SCENES
HOW Modern Methods Mark Easy Process at the Great Wood Farm
HAS PRODUCT OF WIDE FAME
Situated in Middletown Township in close proximity to the Wawa station on the Central Division of the Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington Railroad, is one of the most interesting beehives of industry in pretty Delaware County. It is the Wawa Dairy Farms, owned and operated by George Wood of the Pennsylvania Railroad. The products from this farm, which are considered the best in the country, are cream produced from these farms is of world-wide in fame. The milk and such a high class and considered so absolutely pure, that families of means not only use it at their homes in this country, but have it on shipboard while traveling in foreign lands. Recently one family used it on a trip to Italy, the supply running out in the two weeks it required to reach their destination. The milk is not treated in any manner, but its qualities are made up in the fine high bred class of cows used in the production and the great care used in keeping the milk and cream from every substance which would in any way lessen its quality or take from it strength as it comes from the animal.
Through the courtesy of Manager R. L. Smith, accompanied by State Treasurer William L. Mathues, a Times man had the pleasure yesterday of being shown over the entire plant, and witness with what care the milk is taken from the cows and what care is taken to preserve it from all substances other than those which pure milk should contain.
THE MANAGER – Mr. Smith is thorough in every department of the business. He came in the Wawa Farms two years ago, and by his strict attention to business and his affable manners and courteous treatment of everyone who not only works about the place, but pays a visit there, he has won a host of friends. While it is not pertinent to this article, it is said that he will shortly take unto himself a wife. Mr. Wood has a fine house in course of construction, which will be occupied by Mr. Smith after his wedding.
This genial manager of these dairies comes from Elgin, Ill. He was brought up on a dairy station, and later took a course in agriculture at the University of Wisconsin, which makes him one of the best qualified men for the business in this section of the country. His knowledge, gained at college and his practical experience on the farm, given him advantages possessed by but few.
A BUSY PLACE – The farm of this dairy, which take in a pretty part of the county, contain 500 acres. Thirty hands are employed constantly, most of whom live in the tenant houses on the place. In all, taking in the families there are upwards of one hundred men, women and children in this what may be properly termed a busy section. The capacity of the farm is from 1,200 to 1,500 quarts of milk and cream per day. This milk is sold in Philadelphia at present for 12 cents per quart and at Atlantic City for 16 cents per quart. After November 1 the milk will be 14 cents per quart in Philadelphia.
The products are what is known as “Certified” milk and cream. There are two grades of each. The cream which is sold for infants contain 16 per cent, butter fat while that for adults contains 25 per cent butter fat. The milk for infants contains 4 per cent butter fat and for adults 6 per cent butter fat.
At present there are one hundred and fifty cows in the hard. Of this number one-third are pure Guernsey, and the others are graded cattle, all producing rich milk. These cows are cared for as good as many human beings. They are quartered in one of the cleanest buildings it is possible to find at an institution of this kind. Each cow is groomed every day, and the elders of all the cows are washed each day before milking time. Shavings are used as bedding and when asked for an explanation of this, Mr. Smith said it was done from the fact that other materials used for bedding contain dust and the savings do not. Over the stall of each cow hangs a card encased in a frame and kept free from the dirt. This has the number of the cow, and each day it indicates to the man who feeds the herd just what allowance to give each animal. This is regulated by the herdsman, who is guided by the amount of milk the cow gives and her condition. Sometimes this is changed each day.
Most of the cattle are kept in a long building, the perfection of cleanliness, particularly the walls, which are kept healthy and white by liberal application of lime. The offal is taken out of the stable by means of overhead trolley, and in this manner everything is kept free from dirt and odor.
AT MILKING TIME – It was milking time when the visitors happened through this building. Eight men, dressed in white overalls and jumpers were hard at work. It will be interesting at this period to let the readers know how the dispose of the milk. Just as soon as one of the men finishes milking he goes to the far end of the building and enters a little room, giving to the man in charge the number of the cow which he has just milked. The product is weighed and a record taken for the purpose of ascertaining just what amount of milk and the quality each cow is producing. While the milk is being weighed the man who did the milking is preparing to go to the next cow. The first thing he does after delivering his bucket is to wash his hands in a disinfectant and drying them with spotless white napkins which are kept on a table nearby the scales. This process is gone through by each one of the milkers.
As the milk is received by the weigher he pours it into a large can and then ships it by means of an overhead trolley to the dairy house proper, which is a well-kept stone building some distance away.
SOME REGISTERED STOCK – In addition to the stock already mentioned in the first building visited, there are 14 advanced registered cows and 9 in test in another separate building is short distance away. These are the most valuable cows of the herd and are beauties. Close by are kept four very fine registered thoroughbred bulls. The registration test is conducted by the state Experiment Station.
The milk is certified by the Philadelphia Pediatric Society, samples being sent to the Quaker City each day for chemical and bacteriological examination. Certificates are issued to the dairy each month, and in this way the milk is kept up to its high standard.
The milk, upon reaching the third story of the dairy house, is handled by a man who is dressed in the immaculate white. He pours it from the cans into a cotton filter and from there it is carried down to the next floor, passing over a cooler refrigerated with brine to 40 degrees. It is then placed in the bottles. Thus, in fifteen minutes after the milk has been taken from the cow, it has been cooled and put in the bottles ready for shipment. Eight jars are filled at one time.
“No one is permitted in this room,” said Mr. Smith, “where the cooling and bottling is done.”
You can see the operations from a window in the room which separates the washroom from the engine room. All jars and cans used are sterilized under fifteen pound steam pressure for twenty minutes.
A LARGE SALE – The milk, which is shipped to Philadelphia, reaches there almost twenty-four houses before any other production in this section. The milk for Philadelphia leaves the dairy a few hours after it has been bottled, and that which goes to Atlantic City, where the milk finds a large sale leaves Philadelphia on the 3 o’clock train each morning.
“Our milk is not treated in any way.” Said Mr. Smith. “All we do is keep it clean, and cool it as soon as possible after taking it from the cow.”
The stock, as a general rule, is fed largely on corn silage. This is kept in two large brick silos, with a capacity of 150 tons each. All the feed which enters the place is put in the third store of the large building and is transported to the feed boxes for the cows by means of overhead trolleys.
Two large boilers and two engines supply the motive power, the plant having its own electric light station, with a capacity of 150 lights.
Visitors are welcome every day except Sunday. The attaches take great pleasure to showing persons through this most modern and up-to-date plant.
Manager Smith and his stenographer can be found at the office building near the entrance to the plant.
Still Lots of time to come and register, it is a great exhibit!!