Dairy home-delivery driver proud of company’s 90 years

  • Sat Feb 27th, 2010 11:14pm
  • News

The Seattle Times

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND — Travis Eaton navigates his father’s old truck down a dirt road, spotted with muddy potholes on a recent early morning.

With precision, he jumps in and out of the truck to stash each family’s milk, eggs and butter in an insulated box or garage refrigerator.

Each week, Eaton winds through Bainbridge Island’s forested roads, delivering to about 550 households.

Later this year, Eaton, his family and the 60 employees at Smith Brothers Farms will celebrate 90 years of providing home dairy service to the Puget Sound region. They pasteurize, package and distribute a variety of products to more than 40,000 homes from Olympia to Mount Vernon.

Smith Brothers is one of only a handful of home-delivery dairies still serving a metropolitan area in the United States, said Brian Soudant, sales and marketing manager at Smith Brothers.

Eaton, a University of Washington graduate and fourth-generation Smith Brothers Farms family member, said he prefers the open road to a traditional 9-to-5 profession.

“I’ve had a handful of office jobs,” he said. “I prefer working outdoors, especially in the summer.”

Eaton also likes the exercise, working on his own schedule and being admired by young children. And when Eaton is in a serious bind he can call his father out of retirement to help with his route.