Friday, May 29, 2015
Our History 
In 1942 two brothers, Lem and Aubrey Morrison, saw an opportunity to purchase a milk receiving facility in Greensboro, Alabama.  The brothers realized the need for a local facility where area farmers could deliver their raw milk for distribution to dairy processors.   They named the operation “Morrison Brothers” and purchased it for a price of four thousand dollars.  The Morrison Brothers operation received Grade A milk for distribution to bottling plants in Mobile, Birmingham, and Montgomery.  The brothers continued to seek out new dairy processing facilities where their milk could be sold.

             In 1946 the brothers established a cheese plant in Greensboro and named it Blackbelt Creamery.  The plant produced cheddar cheese, which was sold to the Kraft Cheese Company.  The facility employed twelve people and produced nine thousand pounds of cheese per month.  By 1949 it employed twenty people and produced forty thousand pounds per month.   In 1953 Blackbelt Creamery stopped producing cheese and began processing cottage cheese, sour cream, onion dip, and yogurt.

As competition rapidly increased, the brothers realized that their competition owned bottling facilities that purchased their milk.  They further realized that milk in south Alabama was in short supply as opposed to the northern part of the state were milk was plentiful. The southern part of the state also had several large military facilities, which posed an opportunity for growth.  Lem Morrison had previously served as a military procurement officer in WWII and knew how to obtain military contracts.  The brothers purchased Dixie Dairies in Mobile, Alabama for two hundred and fifty thousand dollars in 1949.  To raise the money, they called together over forty dairy farmers and persuaded them to help purchase the facility.  The farmers realized that the processing facility would be a constant outlet for their Grade A milk supply. An additional one hundred thousand dollars was borrowed to upgrade the facility and their first processing facility was in operation.

 By this time Morrison Brothers had a large dairy farming operation that supplied milk to the Dixie Dairies plant.  William L “Fuzzy” York was hired to run the farming operation after earning an engineering degree from Mississippi State and moving to Greensboro in 1948.  In the early 1950’s Bobby E. Tidmore, a graduate of Auburn University, was hired to manage the Mobile production facility.

 Around this time, the phrase “best in the land” was adopted as the Company’s slogan and has remained ever since.  The slogan reflects the Company’s high standard of quality and customer service, which has been a cornerstone of operations from then to now.

In 1950 a competitor in Mobile was ready to sell their operation.  An excellent opportunity for expansion presented itself and the brothers purchased Dairy Fresh for fifty-five thousand dollars.  The Dairy Fresh brand name was well known in the area and had great marketing potential in other areas.  Furthermore, the Dairy Fresh operation had established “milk routes” and a good customer base. The Dairy Fresh facility increased sales to the civilian population.  To this point, over fifty percent of the milk processed and sold through Dixie Dairies was to military facilities.  Dixie Dairies, Blackbelt Creamery, and Dairy Fresh were consolidated in 1951 to become Dairy Fresh Corporation.

 In the early 1960’s an ice cream company in Greensboro decided to sell their operation.  The owner of Jay’s Ice Cream Company approached Lem and Aubrey Morrison with an offer to sale.  The brothers decided that they could produce the ice cream in Greensboro for distribution in their other operations.  The ice cream plant was purchased and Dairy Fresh Ice Cream Company was born.  About 1961 another key individual was added to the management team.  Erwin Burt, a dairy science graduate of Mississippi State, was hired from Sealtest in Birmingham to manage the new ice cream Company.  Today the Ice Cream Company is operated with Tommy Stewart as General Manager and produces over 1.5 million gallons annually.

 Due to the declining health of Aubrey Morrison, Lem purchased his brother’s interest in the business in 1966. However, many other members of the Morrison family became involved with the business during the early sixties.  Two of Aubrey’s daughters, Betty and Ann had started actively working for Dairy Fresh as well as their husbands, Robert Gist and Lenson Montz.  Later another daughter, Mary Jane and a granddaughter, Anna Lynn, joined the business.  Also during this time, Bobby Tidmore’s wife Sue joined the business as a quality control specialist and later their children, Mike, Sonya, and Don, son-in-law, John Schilling, and grandsons Gabriel and Joshua became active employees.  Fuzzy York’s son, Jimbo, came on board to work with the Morrison Brothers farm operation.  Through the years, other children of the original management team have joined the Company.  Erwin Burt’s son Larry serves as the Company’s Safety Director.

 In 1967 and 1968 Dairy Fresh purchased Sanitary Dairy in Dothan, Alabama, Covington Creamery in Andalusia, Alabama, and Pascal’s Dairy in Enterprise, Alabama.  In 1973 Dairy Fresh purchased Gray-Mar Farms in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and in 1980 purchased Brookshire Dairy in Meridian, Mississippi.  In 1986 they purchased Dairy Fresh of Louisiana in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

 Today Dairy Fresh Corporation has approximately 700 employees located in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana where Dairy Fresh products are sold.  The Corporation’s headquarters is located in Greensboro, Alabama, where it was founded.  Dairy Fresh in the only independently owned milk processing company in Alabama, procuring raw milk supplies from 190 dairymen and 2 milk cooperatives.  The Company remains a significant milk processor in the Southeast with annual sales in excess of 200 million dollars.

 Unfortunately, the two brothers that founded Dairy Fresh Corporation have since passed away. The Company’s continued success can be attributed to its outstanding workforce lead by a management team that has been with the Company for most of their careers.