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Dairy becomes local institution

By Heather Smith Thomas

For the Capital Press

Reed Dairy serves its customers in a unique fashion, with a retail store and milk routes.

IDAHO FALLS — Generations of Reeds have supplied milk, ice cream and other dairy products to customers in the area.

The dairy used to be on the city limits — on the west side of Idaho Falls — but the city has grown around it.

“My dad and his two brothers started the dairy,” Reed said. “They also grew row crops.”

The current generation of Reeds split the operation.

“We continued the dairy with all of us until 1980 and then divided the operation,” he said. “My uncle, Larry Reed, and I were partners in the dairy until he passed away. My brother Bryon grows our hay, and corn for corn silage.”

Reed’s Dairy sells bottled milk, ice cream and cheese. It has have a processing plant and markets its products through the dairy store at the farm.

“We also do milk home delivery as well as supply milk and dairy products to grocery stores around the valley,” Reed said. Any surplus milk is sent to the Glanbia cheese plant in Blackfoot, Idaho.

Alan’s son graduated last year from Brigham Young University-Idaho with a business and finance degree.

“He’s here working with us. My cousin, Mike Reed, is a partner, and our herdsman Refugio Cervantes is also a partner,” Reed said.

They have a closed herd of Holsteins and haven’t brought in any outside animals for many years. The cows are bred using artificial insemination to top bulls. “It’s just a small herd and we don’t give the cows any artificial hormones,” says Reed.

“We’ve developed a big following with our ice cream. It’s a super premium all-natural product. Our chocolate milk is very popular. We sell it to grocery and convenience stores, and in our own store and milk routes. We often run 2,000 gallons of chocolate milk each week,” he says.

The home delivery route includes customers from Blackfoot to Rexburg. Anyone who wants home delivery can get on their route.

“Customers give us a standard order they want every week. They can change it, or add butter or cream. They can phone changes to the office or log onto their own account to make adjustments,” Reed said.

Many dairies did home delivery in the past, but this one never stopped.

“We bought our first delivery van in 1962 and have been delivering milk ever since.”

The store is open Monday through Saturday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., and 10 p.m. in the summer.

“We built a farm animal petting area next to the store in a large grassy area where people sit around and picnic. We raise chickens that run around the place, and kids like to chase those,” he said. “The petting areas include baby calves, a pony, goats and sheep, baby pigs, a variety of ducks and other animals. The kids love it.”

People come for ice cream and pet the animals and watch the cows.

“A lot of people make this a destination point during summer. They bring their family and a picnic, eat ice cream and spend the afternoon. We started the petting area about seven years ago and it’s very popular,” he says.

“We sell 900 to 1,000 ice cream cones daily. Seven people work in the retail store through summer, selling every kind of dairy product — including cheddar cheese curds.”

Reed’s Dairy

Owner: Alan Reed

Years farming: Since 1910; dairy since 1955

Location: Idaho Falls

Farm size: 20 acres

Herd size: 160 cows milking


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