After World War ll things began to change. More and more local dairy farms closed. Local milk producers couldn’t compete with milk being trucked in from Canada, New York and God knows where else. The cost of labor, electricity and farm equipment began to skyrocket. Eugene Ross died in 1945 and Bert in 1957. Herbert Ross tried to keep the dairy running by streamlining the business.
In 1966, the state purchased much of their corn fields and pastures to build the Manchester Road Industrial Park. The cows were sold off the next year and the farm buildings in 1970. The Ross Corner Dairy continued in operation by having their products prepackaged by the Turner Dairy in Salem and distributed from a plant on Folsom Road.
Herbert’s son Donald Ross took over in 1973 and tried, without much luck, to find more ways to keep the family business going. Local Stores such as Shaw’s and Cumberland Farms were selling their own brands of milk for as much as 43 cents a gallon cheaper than that sold by the Ross Corner Dairy. By 1981, the Ross Dairy had only 200 retail customers. And despite having a number of local commercial customers they were only selling 1,200 quarts of milk a day.
In August 1981, the Ross Corner Dairy finally gave up the ghost and went out of business. After 74 years of honest dealings, the last of the Derry milk producers to offer door-to-door deliveries was no more. Today the former Ross Corner Dairy’s farm land is now occupied by the Manchester Road Industrial Park, the Clearwater Shopping Plaza, the Derry Police Station and new shopping complex formally occupied by the Pinkerton Tavern, Hadco and the Treasure Masters buildings.
Rick Holmes is the official town historian of Derry and plans to hold office hours at the municipal center. He is the former chairman of the Derry Heritage Commission. Several of his books on local history are available at Mack’s Apples and Derry’s libraries.