March 12, 2010 -- Remember the good old days, when milk came straight from the cow to your doorstep — always fresh and always with a smile? In most parts of the country, you have to be a baby boomer or older to remember those simpler times.
Now the milkman is back, and in an unlikely place.
Frank Acosta and Matt Marone are two guys behind Manhattan Milk, a company offering weekly delivery in the Big Apple.
But these aren't your grandmother's milkmen. Acosta says when people hear what he does, some say, "Oh my God, you're the milkman? Do you have little outfits and stuff that you wear?"
Actually, they do wear uniforms and offer service that's right out of the 1950s — remembering all of their customers by their first name. But some things have changed with time: those customers can now place their farm-fresh milk orders online, using a credit card.
Still, it's the feeling of nostalgia that has many customers hooked.
"They have a feeling like they know what they're getting," Acosta says. "I think the personal touch is the biggest appeal."
The U.S. Agriculture Department estimates that in 1963, 30 percent of the milk sold in the United States was home-delivered. That figure fell to less than 1 percent in the 1990s.
Today, companies like Manhattan Milk are beginning to turn those numbers around and Marone says he knows why.
"People want to be health conscious and know what's going into their body, no hormones, no pesticides, they want to give the best for their kids," Marone says. "You can't walk down to the corner deli and get glass-bottled milk."
All About Personal Touch
Acosta and Marone make all of their deliveries in the middle of the night. The milk arrives at their warehouse the morning before, fresh from grass-fed cows in Pennsylvania's Amish Country. The pair makes over 60 stops across the city in a single night. There's a $5 delivery charge and a $15 minimum order.
Manhattan Milk recently added a second route in Brooklyn, but Marone says they want to avoid getting "too big."
"You don't want to expand too much, you start messing up people's orders. It's all about the personal touch," he says.
Milk Delivery Companies Across the U.S.
Find Manhattan Milk and other companies like it online:
Manhattan Milk, Manhattan and Brooklyn, New York
Crescent Ridge Dairy, Sharon, Mass.
Oberweis Dairy, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri and Michigan
Kemps Home Delivery, Minneapolis-St. Paul
Longmont Dairy Farm, Longmont, Colo.
Smith Brothers Farms, Seattle, Olympia, Tacoma, Wash.