Local Find: Hartzler Chocolate Milk

Hertzler milk(Guest post by The Better Half)

One of the hazards of getting older—and I’ll let you provide your own definition for that particular word—is that I find myself given to unexpected bouts of nostalgia.

Julie and I have a deal: Anytime we’re in the car together, he/she who controls the wheel also controls the radio dial. Since Julie’s car is the newer and nicer of our two vehicles—and because it’s equipped with satellite radio, the normal scenario involves my being behind the wheel, subjecting poor Julie to my choice of music. And my choice is usually one of the retro channels, most often the channel that features country music from the 50s, 60s, and 70s.

Multiple times over the past couple of years, I’ve almost induced a coronary for Julie by suddenly screaming, “My God! I haven’t heard this song in thirty years!” Then while she reestablishes normal breathing, I sing along loudly and then regale her with the story of where and when I first heard the song or of some other memory associated with it.

Good times.

Last week, we were picking up a few things at Madison’s at Findlay Market when I startled everyone in the store by shouting, “My God! Chocolate milk! In a glass bottle!” While everyone reestablished normal breathing, I marveled at my discovery. As you might guess, I hadn’t seen chocolate milk in a glass bottle in a long time, probably since the days when my family received a weekly dairy delivery from a milkman.

How could I not make this purchase?  Aside from the plastic handle attached to the top, the bottle looks just like the milk bottles from my childhood, right down to the grooved indentation for easier handling and pouring. And the trip down Memory Lane was completed when we were required to leave a $1.50 deposit for the bottle.

The milk is from Hartzler Family Dairy in Wooster, Ohio.  When I opened the bottle for a sample, my first thought was, “Wow. That’s tasty stuff. Really tasty.” The product is rich and creamy, with a silky mouth-feel, almost like a milkshake. I’m sure they use high-quality cocoa.

I wondered whether the product was really that delicious or if perhaps my taste buds were being swayed by my nostalgia. The answer? Probably a bit of both.

I visited the Hartzler web site and found that, not only do they take their milk seriously, but that they also work to educate the public about milk. According to the web site, the Hartzlers’ dairy cows are grass-fed in pesticide-free pastures and are given no artificial growth hormones. The Hartzlers pasteurize their milk at a lower temperature but for a longer time than most commercially available milk (think “ultra-pasteurized”). The result is milk that is free of any dangerous bacteria but that maintains desirable enzymes and desired flavor.

As I said, it’s mighty tasty.

Since I’ve already paid a deposit, when I return the bottle to Madison’s, I’ll probably pick up another.  This could be habit-forming.

The Hartzlers offer a variety of products, including butter and fifty flavors of ice cream, though the ice cream doesn’t seem to be available in the Cincinnati area. Visit the Hartzler web site at www.hartzlerfamilydairy.com.

Editor’s Note:  My favorite coffee place in Columbus, Cafe Brioso, uses Hartzler’s milk in all of its beverages.  Even the skim is good!

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