Blackwell Dairy Farm is the only processing plant in the Interior.
Since all major delivery routes in the province shut down because of the destruction caused by the Coldwater Flood, the owner of Blackwell Dairy Farm says it’s processing dairy five times more per week than it normally does.
“You’re looking at 20 to 25,000 litres during a week. During this period of time, we’re doing that every day,” Blackwell Dairy Farm Owner Ted Blackwell said.
Blackwell Dairy Farm has taken on new customers like Save On Foods and Safeway. Blackwell says he’s even delivering to new places like Vernon and Cache Creek.
“The large stores overnight scrambled. Their shelves were empty. They had no where else to get their milk from,” Blackwell explained.
Gourmet Greens, a local grocer in Kamloops, says two of their dairy suppliers from the Lower Mainland are delayed. Blackwell already supplies dairy to the grocery store but right now it’s making deliveries every two days.
“It’s an eye opener. We really do need to focus more on local. It would be nice if we could have some help from our governments and stuff like that to open these businesses or help with businesses to expand and get more local out there,” Gourmet Greens Owner Andy Vankuyk said.
But the only way to get more dairy processed in the Interior is for another processing plant to be added. Many local farmers must send their dairy down to the Lower Mainland to get processed before getting it back and selling it in the Interior.
The Minister of Agriculture says she would support a second dairy processing plant in the Interior but there need to be enough farmers using it.
“It involves farmers. Either new farmers getting new quota, or existing farmers getting more quota and making decisions on where they want to exist as a dairy and as a farm,” Minister Lana Popham told CFJC News.
Although Blackwell Dairy Farm can process and produce 20,000 litres of milk daily, Blackwell says they don’t usually keep that many labels, crates, and containers on-hand.
“If it was a regular basis, this would be no problem at all. The biggest thing is you have to be set up for it. In an emergency situation, that’s the difficulty,” he said.
Blackwell Dairy Farm is currently waiting on additional cases so that it can package more dairy to send out to local shops.
If there are dairy delays from the Lower Mainland, rest assured that glasses in the Interior will be full of Blackwell Dairy.
Source: CFJC Today