Brothers Rolland and Noel Rosa of Rosa Brothers Milk Company in Tulare recently celebrated the six year anniversary of their in-house glass bottling process — a change they made to ensure the quality of their product.
Milk consumers in Tulare County and around the state were evidently in favor of the change, and the growth Rosa Brothers has experienced since then is proof positive.
When they first began bottling their own milk, they were distributing to about 20 local stores. Now they are products are in about 750 stores around California.
“Our first day of production was Sept. 20, 2012,” said company president Noel Rosa. “We are enjoying the fact that we have grown so much.”
Rosa said the family farm was started by his grandfather back in the 1940s, and when his father returned from Korea the two started a partnership in 1953. The dairy was then called Manuel and Frank Rosa (MF Rosa Dairy).
“My brother and I were raised on a farm, and after we graduated from college our father offered us an opportunity to go into the dairy business to work under him for a few years, and he would later sell us the business,” said Rosa adding that he and his brother eventually made that purchase in 1998. “In 2009-2010 we started looking at the idea of establishing our own brand. In 2010, we made the decision to build our own small, processing facility to process the milk from our own family farm.”
Before they built their own processing facility, the family farm just sold their milk by the truckload like many other dairies around the county. But the brothers wanted to make sure that the products from their dairy maintained its high quality all the way to the consumer’s table.
“The tanker truck would come to the farm, pick up the milk and take it to a big plant, and we didn’t know what was happening with our milk,” said Rosa. “We made the decision in 2010 to start our own name brand dairy and product.”
Rosa said the business started with about four people in 2012, and now currently employs about 35 personnel.
Rosa Brothers Milk Company grow their own crops to feed cows of all ages and sizes at the farm. The cows are milked there and a small tanker truck carries transports the milk from the farm to their creamery where its processed.
“Quality is our main thing,” said Rosa. “We do what ever it takes to have the best quality milk.”
Once the tanker truck gets to the creamery they pipe out the milk into a tank where they mix in the flavor of milk they are to make that day. Rosa Brothers make a variety to flavor milk like their well-known chocolate and strawberry flavor milk, and they recently added a horchata flavored milk to their lineup.
Once they add the flavor to the milk, it is transferred to a pasteurizer that heats the milk to kill all of the bacteria, and then a homogenizer, which pushes the milk through a very small hole to make the fat particles the same size of the milk texture.
“It keeps the cream mixed with the milk,” said Rosa.
Then they pump the milk into another tank that holds six different flavors of milk. There are three tanks on top and three at the bottom, each holds 700 gallons of milk. From there, the milk is finally bottled into its glass containers.
“Many know Rosa Brothers because of the glass bottled milk,” said Rosa. “The reason for the glass bottles is to keep the milk tasting as original as possible.”
Rosa explained the milk tastes better when it is packaged in glass, where as if its packaged on paper or plastic those flavors will pass on to the milk.
Those who purchase Rosa Brothers pay a $2 deposit for the bottle at the store, but when they finish the milk they are asked to return the glass bottle to get their $2 deposit back.
“Glass bottling is good for the environment, because we send those bottle out to stores, consumers drink the milk and bring the bottle back to the store for their deposit,” said Rosa. “We then pick up the bottle at the store wash them and reuse them. It’s a cycle.”
Rosa Brothers Company doesn’t only produce milk, they also make ice cream.
Rosa said there are five to six part-time college students who go to events and do sampling.
“We have an ice cream trailer that goes out to events and scoops our ice cream to sample,” said Rosa as he explained how four employees made some chocolate flavored ice cream. The flavor is added to the ice cream as a liquid and it’s put into a machine that makes it into almost a solid. Then the ice cream goes through a funnel that places the product in small containers. Those containers are then sealed to head out to stores.
“We also make coffee creamer, half and half and heavy cream,” said Rosa. “We continually add flavors, and currently we are always working on new products.”
Rosa Brothers helps out with a lot of events and sponsorships with different clubs and organizations in addition to creating a lot of good paying jobs for the community.
“Our future plans are to continue to grow and add more jobs,” Rosa added. “I hope we get out to more stores and create more products.”
Their ice cream trailer goes out to many events, and as a company they also do farm tours. For more information visit their website at RosaBrothers.com