HOW IT ALL BEGAN…
As told by Henriette Goosen
From a most humble beginning, a young married couple Hennie and Marie Malan Thirion, with a passion and a dream started “Malan se Melkery” in 1948… from pounds, sjillings and pennies to rands and cents… from pints, halfpints and gallons to liters and kilograms … from miles and miles to kilometers they roamed the streets of Paarl to deliver a special product to our clients.
68 THOM STREET…
Through hard work and dedication their dream became a reality – a legacy in the making, one that still continues today. Those days the milk bottles were closed with little carton lids and this was no easy task, only the right amount of pressure had to be applied to put the lid in place, … by hand, and if you didn’t, well then you had spilt milk all over.
19 JAN VAN RIEBEEK ROAD…
Soon they moved .….the new bigger factory had a large blue bottle washing machine,sterilised bottles went on a conveyor belt to a stainless steel bottling machine – this was the start of tinfoil lids – this came in large rolls of tinfoil – where a machine ”punched” out the circle of the lid, then slides over the filled milk bottle and with a little pressure sealed the bottle. At Christmas and New Year these lids was printed with red cherries and green holly leaves. Those days the machines had to be fed with the empty bottles by hand, everyone knew exactly what to do… this was a great operation!
A large coldroom and storage room held all the milk cans, cartons and crates. We fondly remember the pasteurizing machine, my parents were very strict and proud to serve the Paarl community with the best product they could. I can remember that extra yellowish cream on top of the white milk in the bottles…they lovingly called it “die roomlyn”. We also filled cream into quarter, half and pint size cartons. The buttermilk we made back then, I firmly believe until today is still the best I have ever tasted.
Our Mom, was a great lady, always stylish and a caring heart … she ran the office, did all the administration, accounts and stocktaking. We fondly remember Lamey, working in the office, handling the cash sales and assisting my mother. I remember her soft tone and lovely smile, a very loving and caring person. At the end of the month and year we took the books and financial statements to Oom Saunders, and he prepared it further for the Receiver of Revenue.
At the back of the factory we were spoiled for choice in a huge fruit tree orchard always full of juicy fruit ……. Peaches, nectarines, plums, oranges, naartjies, guavas and figs. Growing up, this was a real treat, just imagine those lovely fresh fruit and our own fresh cream. I also remember Mr Allie, the greengrocer just up the road – he always had a glint in his eye and something to share with us.
Our dad was a keen bee keeper – this was his hobby, but he would always drive all over to place the beehives, and afterwards harvest the honey. He had huge stainless steel tanks for keeping this pure golden product from nature ready for bottling. We also had small deliveries or extra deliveries to the restaurants and cafes in Paarl, a three wheeler bicycle with a metal box in front for all the deliveries “driven” by our William. A man who knew the streets, his customers and I don’t think I can recall a day without his smile! In winter he always looked like an Eskimo, dressed to challenge the cold Boland winters – and yes he always played with us and gave us lifts on his three wheeler. Apart from his passion for the dairy, our father loved the outdoors and farming – he loved the idea of collecting beautiful pieces of wood and rocks for our garden – some of which still in our gardens today.
GROENWEE, DAL JOSAPHAT………
From Jan van Riebeeck Road we moved to the farm Groenweë in Dal Josaphat.With a large new factory housing the new milking parlour, an office in the middle and the bottling area on the opposite side. Adjacent to this was the canteen and staff quarters, where during the shifts staff could eat and rest. We all loved the boiler room – very warm and welcome during the wet winters.
In the beginning we lived in Paarl, but every moment we could was spent on the farm. Our uncle, Oom Theunis was then the manager of the farm and we spent many,many joyful times with them – our aunt, Tant Bettie was well known for her cooking and we seldom missed out a meal or a treat. Twice a day the Jersey herd came into the milking parlour where they were washed, cleaned and prepared for the milking process – oh so very well we remember the soothing whistling of the men handling the cows – actually we were awakened by the whistling and the soft bellowing early each morning and it was like music to the ears. Before daybreak the bottling plant would start its daily activities – washing the bottles, filling and preparing for all the deliveries. The fully laden trucks left the farm very early each morning to make their rounds in the cool of the day. A sound that will never fade from my memory is the soft running of our young men that did the deliveries from house to house – they were very fit and carried 3 bottles of milk in each hand, with grace they could easily run after the slow moving truck, hop on grab the next bunch of bottles and off they go to their next point of delivery under the guidance of the street lights. Much later we had baskets made of metal which carried 4 bottles each. In the street lights it was easy to spot the the figures wearing their crisp clean white overalls proudly displaying the bright orange logo, bopping along makings their deliveries from house to house. I recall some of the Paarl residents called it their wake up call for the day.
Our Dad with cousin Rassie drove far to buy cattle, more specific his favourite Jerseys, they would leave very early in the mornings, to buy and load the cows before daybreak and bring them home to settle before nightfall. He also drove far distances to buy and transport the lucerne and cattle feed.
Later on, we could not bear to be away from the farm for even a few hours and our parents decided to move and WOW we just loved it! Horse riding, helping in the dairy every spare moment. This was not work – this was spending quality time with our parents and enjoying every minute of it. We even had our own roller blade rink close to the house. I remember Richard, one of the farmhands breaking in a Basutho pony, called Shangrila, before my sister was allowed to ride her and of the many times Shangrila threw Richard off in a dustcloud and he would jump up, grin and back on the horse’s back and our tame Bluecrane – Stoffel – who ran after us with spread wings – we were making memories!
During our stay on the farm – both my sister and myself got married and from there on Daniel Goosen and I, Henriette took over the reigns of the Dairy and it grew to an even larger enterprise. We renovated the farmhouse and enlarged the garden into a most beautiful place of tranquility. Under our guidance, and with a few new ideas, made some much needed changes – the area of delivery now included Paarl, Franschhoek and Malmesbury and the smaller trucks made way for larger, modern trucks with cooling facilities.
The longstanding tradition of house delivering came to an end and we started delivering in bulk to Supermarkets and Cafes. The milking parlour and Jersey herd also came to an end as it was more convenient as well as cost effective to buy the product from Dairy Belle (1985) – however they still provided the milk from local farmers to be bottled or rather – now to be filled in the sachets and plastic containers. Besides milk, cream and buttermilk we could now expanded our basket of products to accommodate a much larger variety to their clients e.g yoghurts, fruit juices, cheese etc.
41 EILAND STREET PAARL….. our home today!
From the early humble beginnings by our parents, the business under the guidance of myself and Danie grew even further, but remained the well known, trusted and respected family dairy of Paarl. We bought the old Paarl Dairies premises, renovated and now not only had the large office space we needed, but were able to open our Factory Shop (similar to a farm stall) – what an absolute pleasure to shop in this beautifully decorated environment – the shop stocking a wide variety of products with very competitive pricing and friendly staff.
These days you can notice our beautiful fleet of trucks around most of the Western Cape. You will recognize our orange Malan’s Dairy logo and friendly staff – still doing what they love most – delivering our product to your favourite store, supermarket or restaurant!
I still love the to watch those trucks entering the premises to the cold storage rooms – heavily laden with their precious cargo to the public – and the ease with which the well trained drivers back into their loading bays daily.
A large business like this needs to be run well and maintain the family values instilled for the past 69 years, so under my guidance, and with Danie by my side – I asked my son Niël to join after his studies. I consider working so closely with my husband and son daily a huge blessing.
Today our parents are no longer with us, but I know I learnt so many valuable lessons from them. Their work ethics, their values and their ability to develop staff. They were instrumental in showing me that anything is possible.
“We salute our parents and those who have been faithful to us through our journey”