Oahu's last dairy to close
Local milk is running dry, as one Oahu dairy has closed its doors and another phases out operations for this summer.
Mountain View Dairy made its last delivery yesterday, and Pacific Dairy is expected to shut down this summer, according to Carissa Tourtelot, speaking for Oahu's last remaining milk processor, Meadow Gold Dairies.
That leaves residents of Oahu with the option of drinking milk from either the mainland or the three remaining dairies on the Big Island.
The closures will not directly affect local milk pricing, which the state regulates.
Meadow Gold still purchases about 20 percent of its milk locally, according to Tourtelot.
"Meadow Gold continues to purchase all the local milk they can," she said. "It's just that demand exceeds supply, so they have to supplement that with mainland products."
Milk production has been on a steady decline for the last decade.
Hawaii's milk production in March was 3.9 million pounds, down 25 percent compared to March 2006.
Year-to-date, local milk production is at 12 million pounds, 22 percent lower than during the same period last year.
A worker who answered the phone at Mountain View Dairy but preferred to remain anonymous said transportation costs and fees ended up being too high to make the business feasible.
Pacific Dairy could not be reached for comment. One of its listed phone numbers has been disconnected, and the other went unanswered yesterday.
Dairy analysts say part of the challenge of doing business in Hawaii is that the feed for milk cows must be shipped in from the mainland, which adds to expenses.
The Big Island's three remaining dairies are Cloverleaf Dairy, Island Dairy and Kamuela Dairy.