NPR

A Century-Old Dairy Ditches Cows For High-Tech Plant Milk

American aren't drinking as much milk. One long-established dairy is spurring business by replacing cows with nuts and grains, and using new technology to make alternative "milk" sources.
Some of the "milks" on offer by Elmhurst Milked, which operated as a traditional dairy in New York for nearly 100 years. These days, Elmhurst has replaced cows with nuts, oats and rice. Source: Courtesy of Elmhurst Milked

As the story goes, Henry Schwartz's grandfather bought a herd of cows in Manhattan in the early 1900s and walked them across the Williamsburg Bridge all the way to the family farm in Elmurst, a neighborhood in Queens. By 1919, Schwartz's father, Max, and uncle, Arthur, were bottling milk under the name Elmhurst Dairy. By the 21st century, Elmhurst's milk could be found across New York City, from elementary schools to Starbucks.

"Both sides of my family were in the dairy business, so I was involved from a young age," says Schwartz, now 83. "Since I was 6 years old, I would work for my father on weekends and vacations, learning every aspect of the business."

But by 2016, with — dropping by more than a third since the 1970s — Schwartz

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