Houlton Farms Dairy
Houlton Farms Dairy
When driving through the town of Houlton, you likely will only notice this company’s dairy bar on Military Street. But a few turns and side roads later, and you might find yourself at their production facility surrounded by the homes of many local families. But this was not always the case. The land that this local dairy facility is located on was previously the home of a baseball field when founder, Alan Clark, began the venture in 1938. Although there were many dairies in Houlton at the time, Houlton Farms Dairy became the first pasteurized dairy facility in Aroostook County. When founded, there were no surrounding homes, rather it was just open- field where circuses would set up when they came to the town. This company’s start consisted primarily of producing milk that would then be loaded on planes and sent overseas to support our soldiers during World War II. In 1965, a new building was built over the old one to keep their milk production booming. During construction, equipment had to be cleaned several times a day to ensure quality. This building is the same building that you would see today if you took a drive down Commonwealth Avenue. Inside the building to this day, walls from the old facility still stand. “Back then, they used to do a lot of delivering house to house,” Eric Lincoln, part-owner of the business, explained. Most families either had a small cooler outside their door for the milkman to place their deliveries in, or the milkman would go right in the house and place it in their fridge, often with no human interaction at all. When talking to former drivers, Eric added that many of them explained that, “they never knew their customers, but they knew where to go in the house!”
Houlton Farms Dairy is now owned and operated by the Lincoln family. Alice Lincoln, Eric’s mother, began working in the office at Houlton Farms Dairy in 1965, and Eric began working there in the summer when he was only sixteen before becoming a full-time employee upon his high school graduation. The owner wanted to sell the business in 1981, but he wanted it to remain a local business, and that’s when the Lincoln Family purchased the company. In 1983, the Lincoln family made the decision to further grow Houlton Farms Dairy by getting into a different aspect of the dairy industry with its dairy bars. There are now three Houlton Farms Dairy Bars, located in Houlton, Presque Isle, and Caribou. The company’s dairy bars, Eric furthered, have always employed a lot of students, whom they enjoy keeping in touch with as they go off to college or other ventures and successfully pursue diverse career paths. As a family run company, owners Leonard and Alice Lincoln and their sons Eric and Jim, have various roles within the company. Eric’s brother, Jim Lincoln, primarily drives a tanker, picking milk up from local farms. Meanwhile, Eric’s mother, Alice Lincoln, works in the office with Jim’s wife Mary Lincoln who also manages the dairy bars.
Eric added that a lot has changed over the years in how the company packages its products. Back in the day, the products were packaged in glass bottles, before the company switched to cartons of which you would flip the lid off the top. Paper packaging followed that, and then plastic began to be used in 1972. The company still packages some of its products in paper quarts, pints, and half-pints with an older machine of which only two of its kind are still up and running in the United States. However, the company has switched the packaging of a lot of its other products to plastic. Houlton Farms Dairy produces lots of butter year-round and tons of ice cream and lemonade in the summer. You could sense the true pride that Eric has in his family’s company as he added that very few businesses make their own mix for soft-serve ice cream like Houlton Farms Dairy does. But Houlton Farms Dairy really does keep it local!
Click here to visit the Houlton Farms Dairy Website.
Address: 131 Military St, Houlton, ME 04730