Uncommon Labor: The Milkman

Photo by John Altdorfer

A milkman, a cobbler, a calligrapher, a compounding pharmacist, a seamstress: You might expect to find that these occupations have grown obsolete. These days, many people get their dairy—and even their medicines—from the grocery store, create their own invitations online, and buy new clothing and shoes when they become old or out of style. But that’s not always the case. In fact, many of these “old-timey” occupations are thriving, and you can patronize them right here in the heart of Mt. Lebanon.

Meet Jeff Brunton: Brunton grew up on his family’s farm, Brunton Dairy Farm, in Beaver County. His family bottled, sold, and then delivered milk in Beaver since the 1960s. Around 2012, Brunton decided to expand the business and deliver all over Pittsburgh—including Mt. Lebanon.

Brunton offers a variety of goods, all direct from his farm. He delivers whole milk, 2 percent and 1 percent milk, skim milk and chocolate milk. He also offers beef, bacon and ice cream.

Brunton recommends buying from local farms because it’s as fresh as you can get, and because you know what you’re getting. It’s not being processed or transferred over hundreds of miles. All the milk comes from one of his 220 cows at the Bruntons’ 210-acre farm.

“When I deliver our milk in Mt. Lebanon on Tuesday, that milk was bottled on Monday,” Brunton said. “You can’t get milk that fresh in the store.”

Brunton ventures to Mt. Lebanon for deliveries each Tuesday and Thursday. In the South Hills alone, he serves 350 to 400 customers. He delivers to other areas around Pittsburgh including Cranberry and Beaver. A majority of his customers receive a standard order each week.

Brunton is busiest during the school year. The summer is slower time because people are going on vacations, and kids are waking up later and not eating as much breakfast.

What Brunton loves most about his job is that he can be his own boss. In addition to delivering milk, he coaches football at Geneva College and track at Hopewell High School.

“It gives me flexibility in my schedule, so that allows me to give back to my alma maters,” Brunton said. “If I had to work a 9 to 5 I wouldn’t be able to adjust my schedule to do all of these extra things.”