Churning up interest

| February 2002

Guernsey collectibles, including the famed Guernsey milk jugs, took center stage at the fourth annual All-Dairy Antiques and Collectibles Show held Sept. 22-26, 2001, at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pa.

Sixty-one exhibitors, a record number, converged on the complex from 11 states to show their collections at the five-day event, which was held in connection with and sponsored by the Ail-American Dairy Show. Attendance was estimated at several thousand over the five days.

The Guernsey display was created by 12  exhibitors from Indiana, Missouri, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Among them was Dave Cochard, who exhibited the Reserve Grand Champion Guernsey at the cattle show. 'I was more excited about exhibiting in the collectibles show than I was with our cows in the show ring,' he said.

An exhibit by Rutter's Dairy, a family corporation in York, Pa., covered the early days of home delivery and featured their original horse-drawn wagon, used in the 1920s; a 1927 Chevy two-door sedan, which was Rutter's first motorized delivery vehicle, and a 1936 Thorne Model C-1 gas/electric delivery truck. According to Jay Crist, Rutter's historian, the Thorne was the only one ever made.

Sherry and Carl Abell of Medina, Ohio, brought their restored Elm Farm Dairy 1933 Twin Coach delivery truck. Sherry says they know of only six still in existence - and only two of those are drivable. Next year, they may have their 1931 Divco milk delivery truck ready to display as well, and Sherry says it is thought to be the only one of its kind.

Back home in Medina, the Abells operate Elm Farm Ice Cream and Dairy Museum, and a Victorian ice cream parlor called 'Once Upon a Sundae.' The museum and ice cream parlor are housed in an old dairy plant, where Carl worked for many years. The couple turned the former cooler into the parlor, complete with tin ceiling, a green-and-white Italian marble bar -and 100 different flavors of 'super premium' ice cream. 'Most of what we sell is 15 percent butterfat,' Sherry says.