In 1891 Frank Tetzner purchased the original 80 acres that became Tetzner's Dairy, from Richard Kisling. The farm consisted of an uninsulated three room house, a barn, and a smoke house. Frank Tetzner raised hay on the farm and sold it in Washburn. Ernest Tetzner, the son of Frank, with the help of his family started bottling and selling milk on a route in Washburn in 1920. The milk was delivered with a horse and cart until the family purchased a car. In 1943 Ernest's son, Philip Tetzner, at the age of twelve acquired his licesne so that he could drive the car to deliver milk. In 1949 Ernest Tetzner passed away and Philip Tetzner, at the age of 18, purchased the farm from his mother. In 1950 the Tetzner's quit the route and people started coming out to the farm to get milk and cream because they were of good quality and a reasonable price. In 1976 it became a law that milk had to be pasteurized and homogenized in order to sell it, so the Tetzner's built a processing plant that is still used today. The farm is now owned by Philip and his two sons Greg and Kevin.
The processing plant was built in 1976. This building is where the Tetzner's bag milk, make ice cream, and sell their products. The building houses the equipment used to prepare the milk for packaging. The first step the milk goes through is a separator, which is used to separate the cream from the milk so that it is possible to make 2%. The next step the milk goes through is to be pasteurized. This is a process where the milk is heated quickly and then cooled quickly. Pasteurization is a sterilization process that prevents salmonella. The third step that the milk must go through is to go through the homogenizer. The homogenizer breaks up the fat globules of milk into very fine particles, so the cream won't seperate from the milk. The milk is then sent through the bagger, which packages it for sale. To learn more check out our products page.
Pictured left to right: Separator, pasteurizer, homogenizer, and the bagger.
The processing plant also houses the equipment used to make ice cream. Ice cream production began in 1984. The ice cream mix is held in a bulk tank before traveling through the ice cream machine. The ice cream then comes out of a hose attached to the machine and is packaged in different sized containers.
The ice cream machine.
Consumers can purchase products in the retail store, which is located in the front of the processing plant. The store is self serve, where customers write down their purchases on an envelope, place the money in the envelope, and then drop the envelope in a box. The Tetzner's rarely have problems with people stealing.
The milking barn was built in 1971. The barn is where all of the cows who are currently being milked are kept. Attached to the barn is the parlor where the cows are milked twice a day. Tetzner's have 100 milking cows, but only eighty are milked at a time. The other twenty cows are in the dry lot on "vacation". Each of the one hundred cows is named when they have their first calf and are brought into the milking barn. They are also given a neck chain with a number so that they can be easily identified. For more information about our cows check our our animals page.
The first silo was built at Tetzner's Dairy in 1968. A second silo was built in 1971, a third in 1973, a fourth in 1974, and the fifth and final one in 1980. Silos are used to store grain and silage. Silage is cut green vegitation, like hay or corn, preserved through fermentation that is used to feed animals like cows. Originally, the Tetzners used the silos for storing both grain and silage. Now, however, the Tetzners use the silos only for storing grain. Most of the Tetzners' feed is now stored in silage bags. The Tetzners began using silage bags because they were producing more hay than the silos could hold. The Tetzners made the swich to silage bags because silos are expensive to build and repair, hay can be wet when it is put in the bags and must be drier to be put in a silo, and the feed in silage bags is of a higher quality.