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Oakhurst Dairy Celebrates 100 Years Of The Natural Goodness Of Maine

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Last updated on June 13th, 2024 at 03:16 pm

Only a handful of Maine companies have lasted 100 years, and Oakhurst now joins that iconic list. Long known as the “The Natural Goodness of Maine,” Oakhurst has always been about so much more than milk.

As the company looks back on the last century of milestones, it’s also looking forward to the next 100 years by challenging and encouraging businesses, grocery retailers, community members and local leaders to embrace the values of kindness, goodness and “Maineness” – Oakhurst will pour it on alongside them all year long.

“When most companies celebrate an anniversary, it’s usually just a look back, but Oakhurst wants to celebrate a little bit differently and make it more about who we serve. We have the opportunity, during a very trying time, to encourage everyone around us to pour on the kindness, goodness and ‘Maineness,’” said John Bennett, president and CEO of Oakhurst Dairy. “Today, more than ever, we need to celebrate the act of simply helping our neighbors because each act of kindness, no matter how small, has a ripple effect that serves to make our state and communities stronger and healthier.”

OakhurstOakhurst Dairy was founded in 1921 and started delivering milk in glass bottles to homes on two routes in Portland via horse drawn wagons. A hundred years later, Oakhurst processes nearly half a million gallons of milk per week that is sourced from local Maine dairy farmers to make its line of dairy products. In turn, those products are delivered to more than 1,800 grocery stores, convenient stores and schools throughout Maine, New Hampshire and Northern Massachusetts each year. Once there, a little piece of Maine in a carton makes its way to breakfast, lunch and dinner tables across the region.

Transparency: Through all of the growth and changes the company has experienced, it has always been focused on doing what’s right and supporting its local community. In 2003, Oakhurst made national news by being the first dairy company in the U.S. to stand up to Monsanto for the use of artificial growth hormones in milk.

Oakhurst asked its farmers to take the first farmer’s pledge and started including the pledge on its packaging. After a long legal battle, the hard-fought effort changed how people thought about milk and many other dairy companies followed Oakhurst’s lead with greater label transparency. 

Sustainability: The company’s mission has long focused on the environment. As part of its Small Footprints initiative, the dairy company has embraced many alternative energies over the years and has been recognized through a number of awards for its efforts to treat the environment responsibly for the next generation.

The company also continuously shows its commitment to sustainability by planting trees in Maine’s public spaces so future generations can enjoy the outdoors just as much as Mainers do today.

Community-Focused: Giving goodness back to local communities and helping kids lead healthy active is an active part of Oakhurst’s mission. Over the years, Oakhurst has donated more than $5 million to non-profit, educational and research organizations including the Salvation Army of Northern New England, 4-H, the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Rippleffect, the Boys and Girls Club and Good Shepherd Food Bank, to name a few. In 2014, the company helped launch a Maine-based chapter of a national program to deliver milk to hungry families called the Great American Milk Drive.

Oakhurst has made raising awareness for the issue of child hunger in Maine a priority. Today, more than 80,000 Maine children have school lunch as their last meal of the day. To address this challenge, the company launched Oakhurst After School, a partnership with Full Plates Full Potential to create a statewide program to make sure children get the food they need after school. Oakhurst is donating $300,000 to the non-profit over a three-year period to support the funding of the meal grant program for Maine community-based after school programs and schools.  

“My family started this company with a vision that was much more than just bottling and distributing milk. Oakhurst has always been about standing up for and doing what’s right. I am proud to say that this fundamental truth is still alive and well at our company. We are committed to addressing key issues in our community, doing right by our farmers, creating and providing the very best products on the market, and being mindful of sustainability and the next generation every step of the way. I’m so proud of what the Oakhurst team has accomplished – cheers to 100 years and, hopefully, another 100 to come,” Bennett said.

 

Celebration Activities: 100 Years of Kindness, Goodness, Maineness

Oakhurst has multiple initiatives planned throughout 2021. These include:

  • Partnering with several iconic Maine companies to pour on the kindness and co-host events and programs throughout the year;
  • Unveiling a throwback package in the summer;
  • Creating social media activations celebrating individuals in the local community, the company’s history, its farmers and employees;
  • Hosting an Oakie kids challenge encouraging children to do 100 Acts of Kindness, Goodness and “‘Maineness” throughout the year;
  • Holding internal employee celebrations; and
  • Revealing more exciting activities throughout the year.

“To Mainers and beyond, thank you for coming along for this 100-year ride. If you grew up around here chances are you grew up on Oakhurst milk,” said Bennett. “The Oakhurst team is so proud to be your local dairy company, and we look forward to another century by your sides and in your fridges.”

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