Bring your cooler.
Before you head out the door on delivery day, you’ll want to grab a cooler that fits the number of bottles you expect to take home. Toss a couple blue ice packs or crack a few trays of ice into the cooler and shut the lid. This should be plenty for a short trip home.
Clean your bottles.
Make sure you bring the clean, empty bottles from last time when picking up milk. Pouring leftover milk from last delivery into your own container will allow you free up those bottles so you can wash and dry them well before the pickup day. Put clean jars in a place you’ll remember to bring them on delivery day, like inside the cooler you use to bring the milk home.
Don’t break the cold chain.
Imagine each step that happens — from milking the cow, to bottling and delivering the milk, to storing the milk in your refrigerator, to finally pouring it into your cereal — as a link in a chain. The chain is only as strong as its weakest link, right? That’s the idea when we talk of the cold chain. It’s the weakest link in the chain of temperature that determines the shelf life and freshness of your milk. Your farmer can only control half the chain, the other half is your responsibility.
Transporting milk home.
On hot days, you’ll want to put your cooler in the back seat or beside you in the passenger seat for the trip home. Avoid hot places, like an enclosed trunk, since it’s probably not air conditioned and will reduce the ability of your ice to keep the milk cool.
In the winter months, keeping milk cold is not as much of a problem. Placing your cooler in your vehicle is all it should take to keep it from freezing. You’ll only have to worry about the milk freezing and the bottle breaking if it sits outside for any length of time.
Handling glass bottles.
Anyone using glass for any length of time will inevitably break one. It’s normal. But there are things you can do to reduce the chances of paying for a replacement jar. These include:
- Wrapping the jar in a sheet of newspaper to prevent clanking.
- Placing as many bottles as it takes to fill up the box or cooler you’re using, so they can’t tip over and roll around.
- Not setting jars on sidewalks or pavement.
- Not allowing children to carry jars.
If you do happen to break a jar, check and see if the lid is still intact. If it is, carefully remove it so it can be returned and then clean up the broken jar. Report the loss to the farmer so it can be replaced.
Storing your milk.
Now that you’ve got the milk home, the next step is to place it in the coldest location in your refrigerator. This is usually the bottom shelf in the back — not the door. Even though it is convenient, avoid placing milk on the door since warm room air will be more likely to sour the milk.
Keep the caps on tight.
Air entering the jar can also lead to premature souring, because it allows the bacteria more opportunity to multiply. Don’t open your jars until you are ready to use them within a day or two.