Vehicles began arriving at Sand Hill Dairy on Trento Lane
shortly before 7 a.m. Thursday morning.
Cars and trucks almost bumper-to-bumper and stirring up the country
dust crawled inside the yard, many of the occupants getting a quick opportunity
to meet the Alves family and also receive a couple of gallons of whole or 2%
milk. For diary owners Isidro and Heather Alves, the gesture was to thank the
community for their support and also help families with one of the basic needs
of life — milk – during the coronavirus pandemic
“We gave away 1,400 gallons of milk,” Alves said later that
day. “I saw the response from Facebook for the last two days, and I told my
plant manager we needed more milk.”
Alves had a small inventory of 2% milk, so he added that to
the gallons of whole milk.
“We wanted to keep it simple,” he added.
While people thanked Alves, Heather and sons Brenan, 12, and
Brady, 14, for their generosity, the dairy owner said he saw how deeply moved
the people were based on their comments left on several Facebook pages
including a photo album and video on the LVN page.
“I didn’t expect this kind of response,” he said. “The
response is amazing, the gratitude is amazing.”
Mike Ward waited a short time to receive two gallons of milk. A Fallon native, Ward said he wasn’t surprised by the dairy’s generosity.
“Isidro is such a community-minded individual, and it was an
overwhelming show of gratitude for the community and a show of support for
people during this time of great need,” he said.
Other residents were just as appreciative.
“Days around here have gotten so monotonous and this was not
only a way to change things up, but such a bright spot in the day,” Juliann
Campbell Lambson said. “It was an incredible example for my kids how even
though times are scary and things are uncertain, there are still kind people
and little glimmers of hope shining through. And it's those moments, and those
people that give us strength to make it through and feel like things might just
end up OK.”
Teri Peck said what the Alves’ family did is another example
of a small town with a big heart.
“Those young men worked so hard this morning and were so
polite while handing out the milk,” It's so nice to see how a small community
pulls together. Doesn't matter if it’s a parade to honor the athletes, an
amazing volunteer fire department putting in countless hours, local Farmers
Market, Cantaloupe Festival, a crisis, etc. everyone always manages to pull
Sharon Lee called the thought “awesome.”
“Many folks probably did not know much about Sand Hill
Dairy, let alone that it was here in Fallon,” she said. “Things are tough right
now for everyone, but the dairy business and meat producers are really feeling
the pinch. So next time you’re in a store that sells Sand Hill milk, buy some.
I grew up on a dairy and this is as close to real milk as it comes. P.S. The
chocolate milk is amazing.”
(More than 100 comments were left on the Sand Hill Dairy
album on the LVN Facebook page.)
Alves said the handouts had nothing to do with what dairy producers are facing in the Midwest and other sections of the country. Because of lower prices and demand, many producers are dumping their milk. Not with Alves. All producers, he said, are facing the prospect of selling some of their herd to break even.
“This had nothing to do with that,” Alves said of the plight
facing Midwest dairymen. “I thought what could we do for the community.”
The Alves family opened their dairy in 2003 and began
processing milk, which includes chocolate and strawberry, and several types of
cheese in 2012. Since Sand Hill Dairy belongs to a cooperative, he said some of
their milk is also transported to the Dairy Farmers of America dry milk processing
plant southeast of Fallon. The dairy has about 500 cows.
Sand Hill, the only farmstead dairy in Nevada, also sell its
milk and cheese directly to stores and restaurants. Alves said Sand Hill best
supports the retail accounts by having them sell the products.
Alves also found success with his chocolate milk, which
received top honors from afoolzerrand.com that ranks the world’s best chocolate
milks. Only a perfect score has been awarded 26 times, and Sand Hill Dairy
earned perfection last year. Founder Perry James was impressed:
“A strapping meathook of buttery cream grabs you by the
scruff of the neck and takes you on an adventure you won’t soon forget. It’s
wilder than average, saltier than sweet, uniquely fascinating, and entirely
delicious! I drank the whole pint before writing a single word (luckily I had 2
bottles) — so it effectively rendered me in a listless stupor— albeit slightly
more alert than my default state. Touché.”
Another twist to Sand Hill Dairy’s milk is in the
processing. Alves said the milk is not homogenized, meaning the cream will rise
to the top. Alves said the best way to keep the cream from rising to the top is
to shake the milk for a more wholesome taste. He considers it a return to the
old days when milk was produced.
Locally, Alves said Sand Hill products are sold at Skip’s
Market, Safeway, Raley’s in Fernley and Yerington, Heck’s Meat Market and I7 Meat & Cattle Company and in the
following eating or coffee establishments: Ana’s, Telegraph Coffee, JD
Slingers, Skeeters, Stone Cabin Coffee and The Slanted Porch. Sand Hill’s
website lists all the businesses in western Nevada that offers milk and/or cheese