Local dairy brings milk and more to Rochester homes

Lucas Kappers brings the empty milk bottles back to his truck after a delivery to a home in southwest Rochester Wednesday, November 6, 2019. (Ken Klotzbach/

Wednesday was a big day for the Hedin household in Southeast Rochester.

That was the first day that Kappers Big Red Barn of Chatfield delivered fresh milk in bottles right to their door. Three half gallons of skim milk, one half gallon of chocolate and a pint of heavy cream were placed directly into the Hedins' garage.

Josh Hedin said he was telling his co-workers about it and checking in with his wife to see if the delivery had arrived. When he arrived home from work, his children immediately told him how awesome it was to get fresh milk.

"I'm very excited about it. For me, buying local as much as possible is very important for our local economy ... Keeping the dollars local is huge," he said. "I think it's great that Kappers is trying to revive the old ways."

The Hedins are among 50 Rochester households who have signed up for home delivery with the family-owned Kappers "micro" dairy of 50 cows. It produces about 2,000 bottles of milk a week.


Driving around in a van with the glass milk bottles clinking in the back, Lucas and Jenna Kappers said that after three weeks of Rochester home delivery, response has been enthusiastic.

"We've been doing home delivery in Chatfield for 15 years ... We wanted to offer more local options," said Lucas Kappers, who works with his parents and his wife at the dairy. "There's huge demand in Rochester."

Kappers is known locally for its glass bottled milk, locally made ice cream and its cheese curds. Many people, like the Hadins, were introduced to their products at the Rochester Farmers Markets.

Unlike the original Chatfield delivery routes that depend on pencil and paper orders, the new Rochester service is based around ordering from its online store . Customers can choose which Kappers products they want as well as regionally produced bread, milk, cheese, cranberries, bacon, eggs and more.

"We're really big on buying local and supporting local," Lucas Kappers said.

The Kappers deliver customized orders to households on Wednesdays. When they drop off the fresh milk and groceries, they pick up the empty glass bottles to be re-used at the dairy.

Delivery is a  convenient service for a family like the Hedins, though it is more expensive.

"We drink a lot of milk. I really like having milk in glass bottles," said Josh Hedin.


The drive to support a local dairy goes beyond convenience for him. His father grew up on a small dairy farm. But, like so many in recent years, it was forced to close.

"Small dairies have disappeared. If more people shopped this way, maybe we could change that," he said. "I hope this really, really takes off so more local dairy farmers can do this."

Lucas Kappers sorts a milk delivery order for a home in Southwest Rochester on Wednesday. (Ken Klotzbach/

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