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A moooving experience: Fallon dairy hands out hundreds of gallons of milk

Steve Ranson

Nevada News Group

Sand Hill Dairy, which is home to roughly 500 cows, is located on Trento Lane in Fallon.
Photo: Steve Ranson

FALLON, Nev. — Vehicles began arriving at Sand Hill Dairy on Trento Lane shortly before 7 a.m. Thursday morning, April 30.

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 dairy 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 said, later adding: “I didn’t expect this kind of response … The response is amazing, the gratitude is amazing.”

Brady Alves hands out a gallon of Sand Hill milk.
Photo: Steve Ranson

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.”

Vehicles were lined up Thursday, April 30, as Sand Hill Dairy handed out hundreds of gallons of free milk.
Photo: Steve Ranson

Sharon Lee called the effort “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.”

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.”

Brenan Alves offers a family several gallons of milk.
Photo: Steve Ranson

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.

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 products.