John Vonderlin: (1887) The Sweet Cream Rises to the Top in San Mateo County

Story by John Vonderlin

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Hi June,

This article appeared in the January 8th, 1887, issue of the “Pacific Rural Press.” So much milk and so little railroad, such was the Coastside’s dilemma. Enjoy. John
San Mateo County Dairies.
The Redwood Times and Gazette has been out among the dairies and collected the following interesting statements : The San Mateo dairy of Messrs. Kinne & Daley occupies a sightly eminence. To the east it overlooks part of the Potrero, with the bay and a portion of Oakland beyond and the long sweep of the Mission road from St. Mary’s College to the San Mateo county line. To the south rise the rugged steeps of Mt. San Bruno. To the southwest and west unfold the fertile slopes of Colma, rising southward to the hights (sic) which overlook San Pedro valley, and sinking westward to Laguna Merced and the sandy dunes which wall it from the encroaching sea. To the north the land falls rapidly to the irregular pass which forms the business portion of the thriving village of Ocean View, and then rises to the hights which run north across the peninsula in a gradually lessening line until lost beyond Lone mountain in the broad plateau south of the Presidio. In the very teeth of the west wind, and at the northern bastion of the county, so to speak, this little “castle of industry” stands, the first of the many milk dairies which have made San Mateo county the pure-milk purveyor of the metropolis. Within easy rifle shot of the San Mateo dairy is the dairy of Knowles Brothers, who have succeeded their father in the operation of a well-equipped, well-managed dairy, small, but good—a veritable multum in parvo of system, cleanliness and quality of output. Both these dairies feed the best of hay as well as plenty of bran, middlings and oilcake meal. At the Knowles dairy is in operation the first De Laval cream separator used in San Mateo county. This separator is an application of the principle of centrifugal motion to the extraction of cream from sweet milk. The milk is put into a tin tank so fast as milked, and when the required amount is in the tank it is passed therefrom and through the separator, run by a two-horse steam engine. The result is sweet cream, thick or thin as desired, and sweet skimmed milk, suitable for feeding to young calves or for sale to bakeries to bo used in bread-making. Mr. Bart Weeks, of Pescadero, has also one of these separators in use. Mr. Coburn is about to put one in, and other large butter dairies will doubtless do so soon, in situations where the fuel supply justifies. The milk supplied to San Francisco by the two dairies first noticed, by Jersey farm at San Bruno; by the Millbrae dairy and by the Howard dairy at San Mateo, as well, doubtless, as that produced by many other smaller milk-shipping dairies in the county, is of approved excellence. The writer has just returned from a trip along the coast from Half Moon baynearly to Point New Year. No better dairy section exists in the county. The milk product of this entire section readily might be sent to San Francisco by rail —if rail facilities existed. Seven thousand gallons daily might be sent from the section between Pigeon Point and Half Moon bay. Given a coast railroad from Santa Cruz to San Francisco and the problem of supplying this metropolis with pure milk will be solved for all time. We think we do not exaggerate when we say that the coast side of San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties can easily supply San Francisco with all the fresh milk it is likely ever to need. The undeveloped dairying possibilities of that section are greater than have been even dreamed of. Rapid, sure and cheap transportation of fodder and of milk must come some day and ought to have come long ago. Let those who have most to gain in the matter —all of us are in some degree interested—do something. A mass meeting in Pescadero, another in Santa Cruz, another in Half Moon bay, addressed by the intelligence and the
public spirit of those three communities, ought to throw light upon the disputed question of how best to secure what is needed. If neither the Atlantic & Pacific nor the Southern Pacific evidence determination soon to build, why not build ourselves? Find out what it will cost and build it! If the coast shows the capitalists of this county and Santa Cruz county that it is in earnest it can have enough stock subscribed for and enough money paid in to begin work within six months from this writing.