There may not be any cows walking around in Southeast Vancouver—but there is still a farm. Not just any farm; this is home to the oldest continuously operating dairy in BC.
Not only is it the only one; it is, by popular acclaim, the very best. Ask anyone who has ever poured some white magic from a glass bottle bearing the Avalon logo; they’ll tell you that it is quite simply the finest milk in the city. It comes from The Avalon Dairy on Wales Street as it always has done.
At River District, we’re discovering just how deep the roots of southeast Vancouver go. This is a part of the city that goes way back. In recognition of the dairy’s history, River District has named its most easterly neighbourhood ‘Avalon’.
Newfoundland native Jeremiah Crowley staked out his farm on pasture here in 1906 with six cows. Two years later he built the farmhouse that stands there to this day. The same Crowley family is still bottling milk here for distribution across the province.
The first opportunity you get to pick up a glass of Avalon milk, you should. But don’t think for one moment that all you have there is simply a suspension of calcium, proteins, fats, lactose, and various other vitamins and minerals. What you have in your hand is 100 years of dairy history, mixed with a splash of organic principles.
Avalon insists that its cows are raised in fresh air and sunshine, on a farm that doesn’t use GMOs, antibiotics or hormones. The milk, of course, contains no colour or preservatives. Jeremiah would undoubtedly have approved.
Of course, you can buy conventional milk from Avalon too but the red-capped organic 2% is quite literally the crème de la crème that sets the standard. If you are down at River District, why not drop in for a bottle of the white stuff?
The store on Wales Street is open 9am-530pm Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm Saturday, closed Sunday. There’s a host of other delicious dairy products to take home including butter, mozzarella, eggs and yogurt.
A great way to get to the dairy is to take the Avalon Greenway, at Wales and East 43rd, featuring the community art project ‘Til the Cows Come Home’ that commemorates southeast Vancouver’s rural heritage.