Skip to main content

Creameries and Cooperatives

Black and white photo of a gabled house, two smaller buildings to the right, hill in background.

Dairyman’s House

By 1924, when J.C. Dun‑Waters introduced Scottish Ayrshires to the Okanagan, the local dairy industry was well-established with many farms supplying local creameries. Fintry’s dairy operation was relatively small and most of its milk was processed on site.

Colour photo of a green handcart with one small front wheel and two large rear wheels.

Milk Cart

Frank Mann was head herdsmen until 1928. After each milking, full milk cans were placed in the hand cart and pushed over the bridge to the milk house. The milk was kept cool in a recessed section of the milk house floor. Here, Mrs. Mann separated the cream from the milk. Butter was churned from the separated cream, and shaken until granules formed. These lumps were strained out of the buttermilk and put on the table. The butter maker, standing at the wide end of the table, used a roller to “work” the granules, incorporating salt and pressing out any remaining buttermilk. The liquid would drain down the sloped table and into a bucket, leaving a solid lump of butter. The milk was not pasteurized but the cleanliness demanded by Dun‑Waters prevented any illness.

Fintry supplied dairy products to the residents of Ewing’s Landing and other neighbours on the west side of the lake. One Vernon dairy who wasn’t supplied by Fintry’s Ayrshires came to Fintry to purchase cream for butter competitions.

North of Fintry, farmers most often brought their milk to creameries. The first local creamery was established in Armstrong in 1900 and re-organized as a cooperative in 1916. The North Okanagan Creamery Association (NOCA) served dairy farms from Vernon to Mara Lake and by 1925 collected milk from 385 farms. That year the association ran into difficulties and a majority vote resulted in the sale to P. Burns and Co of Vancouver and Calgary. NOCA became the Okanagan Valley Co-operative Creamery Association, although the NOCA brand name was still used. In 1947, NOCA merged with the Salmon Arm Creamery and officially changed its name to the Shuswap Okanagan Dairy Industries Co-operative Association (SODICA). SODICA merged with the Fraser Valley Milk Producer’s Association in April 1982 and, at this point, the brand switched to Dairyland. The FVMPA became Dairyworld in 1992 and in 2001 was bought by Saputo.

Sepia photo of an excerpt from a newspaper article.

Excerpt from The Cream Collector, October 1932