In the 1900s, New York City looked a lot different than it does today. Taxi cabs were still horse-drawn, and much of Manhattan remained covered in farmland. This is why it is fitting that the Elmhurst story begins with a small herd of cattle.
The cows were purchased on Manhattan, and escorted across the Williamsburg Bridge to the Elmhurst neighborhood of Queens. Here the buyer’s sons, Max and Arthur Schwartz, saw an opportunity. In the 1920s, they began hand-bottling the milk in their father’s milk house. Calling the operation Elmhurst Dairy, they delivered the fresh milk throughout Brooklyn and Queens in a delivery truck filled with ice blocks.
Since these humble roots, Elmhurst has grown to be one of the largest dairy manufacturers on the East Coast, supplying a metropolitan area of seven million people. Almost a century later, it remains family-owned by Max’s son, Henry Schwartz.
Recently Elmhurst has made a major shift to lead the plant-based revolution. Now simply called Elmhurst, its minimally processed nutmilks are just as nutritious and pure as its famous conventional milk, with none of the emulsifiers, thickeners or stabilizers used in other leading brands.
Having received the Women Entrepreneur of the Year Award by the State of California for her lifetime achievements in foods, it was obvious that Dr. Cheryl Mitchell had become a leading culinary innovator. Having a pioneering spirit, brilliant scientific mind and commitment to health, she started her career as a food scientist developing cooking methods that would retain the nutritional value of plant based foods. It wasn’t long before she was recognized as a world expert in the cooking and processing of grains. It was her expertise that is used to make the largest selling rice beverages in the United States. However, Dr. Mitchell was not satisfied with this accomplishment as it was only the beginning of what she believed could be done to maximize the nutrients and value of plant based foods. She was right. After 20 years, she finally was able to unleash the proteins and all of the nutrients in grains, nuts, and seeds using only traditional mechanical and fermentation methods. The end result was the transformation of these plant based foods into a ready to consume, deliciously creamy, natural plant milk having essentially all the nutrients and superior digestibility of the starting material. She has shown the world how to transform the cooked grains, nuts or seeds and release the nutrients that not only make the creamy plant milk, but stabilize it as well. There is no need for added thickeners, emulsifiers, stabilizers, or oils, as these are all naturally contained in the plant and just needed to be released.
Excited by the potential of the nutritional value of “Milked Plants” vs. the existing thickened water with added plants for flavor, Henry Schwartz convinced Cheryl Mitchell to bring her methods for making these non-dairy Milked Plants to Western New York, where the expertise of Elmhurst in the packaging and distribution of dairy milks, could be used to deliver these unique milked plant products throughout the East and beyond.