It was just this time of year, October 31, 1923, when Ernest Loeb, son of Albert Loeb the founder of Loeb Farms, saw the bright future of the cheese industry and announced the formation of the Northern Dairy Products Company.
Making cheese was quite an involved process for families in the 1920’s. The Loeb Farm Golden Leader Cheese mail order business had become a popular option of ready-made modern convenience. Originally, the cheese was shipped parcel post direct to consumers so that the product would be as “fresh as the day it was made.” Loeb Farms claimed that their cheese had exceptionally mellow flavor using only the highest quality milk in the most approved sanitary methods available. Loeb’s plan was to convert all of his milk into cheese products. He hoped that farmers of the region would cooperate by raising fine dairy herds which will result in mutual profit and benefit to themselves and to the company.
The formation of the new company would expand the capabilities of this cooperative group. Ernest and his father Albert had no doubt read the 1923 report by the United States Department of Agriculture that reported that the population of the United States had doubled in the last 39 years so the number of milk cows on farms would have doubled in the last 44 years and therefore factory cheese production would have doubled in the last 46 years. They could see a great future of growth in the cheese industry.
The officers of the new company had purchased a cheese factory in Levering and although they did not plan to immediately move into the Charlevoix area, they did make known intentions to expand the activities of the corporation into localities where there were enough cows. The Charlevoix Courier writes, “it is to be presumed though, in view of Mr. Loeb’s interest in Charlevoix County, in the course of time, he will endeavor to bring into this county as many factories as conditions warrant.”
Eventually, conditions did present themselves, and ready for expansion, the Northern Dairy Products Cheese Factory of East Jordan was built. Mr. Harold Stueck became manager. The company advertised in the newspaper that they would buy all milk available and urged farmers to deliver their milk, even arranging transportation on request. Daily intake of milk was 10,000 pounds brought in by anywhere from 50 to 75 farms. Farmers were paid $.40 a pound and for every 10 pounds of milk, one pound of cheese could be made, resulting in 50,000 pounds of cheese annually shipped to southern Michigan for distribution.
Like many of the Loeb ventures, this new company took off fast and gathered momentum. But just five months after expanding into the East Jordan market, Albert died suddenly. Ernest continued to manage business dealings with the Northern Michigan Dairy Products Company. But he was also needed to manage the Loeb Farm’s business as well. Eventually, because he was needed to handle business dealings back in Chicago, Ernest sold the cheese factory business to Carl D. Bradley of Calcite farms in Rogers City on September 21, 1928.
References: Milk Producers Review of September 1923, Charlevoix Courier October 1923
Special thanks to the East Jordan Portside Art & Historical Museum