Bicycle Diaries: Washington traffic taming

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Washington traffic taming

milkman aims to reduce
frequent trips to the store

Cat Sieh reports
in The Bellingham Herald that a new local business, Eco Milk Delivery, started delivering dairy products and other common purchases to a few local neighborhoods on 1 December.This is particularly cool for me. One of the many things my paternal grandfather did before becoming a county sheriff in upstate NY was delivering milk.
Owner Amanda Werchan said the service, which has preregistered 25 households, aims to reduce frequent trips to the grocery store and associated impulse buys. All deliveries will be made by bicycle (trailer in tow), weather permitting.

“I think more people are consolidating those trips to save gas, time and stress,” Werchan said. “Our goal is to save each family one trip to the grocery store per week.”

The packages, which include the cost of the products and delivery, run between $25 and $40 and offer varying amounts of milk, eggs and cheese and a choice between once- and twice-a-week delivery. Other items can be added a la carte.

In addition to cow and goat milk, Eco Milk will offer eggs, local bread from Great Harvest Breads, Moka Joe coffee and granola.

Werchan said the service will initially serve households in the Columbia, Broadway, Cornwall Park, Lettered Streets and Sunnyland neighborhoods.

Families as far away as Happy Valley have expressed interest, she said, and Werchan hopes to expand the service after it gets off the ground. Werchan said deliveries will be timed to each family’s schedule: Someone who gets home in the evening would receive their goods at the end of the delivery cycle,to minimize the time products stay on the porch. Customers also will be provided a cooler to insulate products awaiting pickup outside.

Werchan said the service won’t only appeal to eco-friendly families. Elderly or homebound customers could also benefit, she said.

Werchan said one customer said the service will mean one less thing to worry about as she raises several autistic children. “Grocery store shopping with kids can be a challenge,” said Werchan, a mother of three.

Milk-delivery services, once common in Bellingham, began to die out in the mid-1950s, said Jeff Jewell, photo historian at the Whatcom Museum of History & Art. “There was a shift to the suburban shopping center, ”Jewell said. “The diminishment in service was actually marketed as a good thing.”

Jewell said in 1926 Bellingham had more than 80 neighborhood grocery stores, within walking distance of nearly everyone. “You used to be able to get all kinds of things delivered,” Jewell said. “Between 1910 and 1913,Bellingham Bay Brewery had a beer wagon that would deliver bottles of beer like bottles of milk. Talk about service!”

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