For over 80 years, Kawartha Dairy has been proud to be a 100% Canadian-owned company that is still operated by the same family that established the dairy in 1937. Although it has grown tremendously from its early days, Kawartha Dairy remains headquartered in Bobcaygeon. In 1937, Jack and Ila Crowe took a leap of faith and purchased the same dairy in Bobcaygeon. Jack had learned the trade while working for Oshawa Dairy, but the newly renamed Kawartha Dairy did not bear much resemblance to the big city dairy. At the time, the original Kawartha Dairy consisted of a small and simple three room building, where cold storage was kept cool by ice cut from the lake.
Local farms provided the milk which was picked up in eighty pound galvanized steel cans, by wagons in the summer and sleigh in the winter. In those days, all of the milk was delivered to homes by horse, or to cottages by boat. Kawartha Dairy continued to grow, and by 1942 Jack and Ila were purchasing a second dairy that was operating in Bobcaygeon. At that time, Kawartha Dairy didn't yet produce their infamous ice cream, but that would change in the mid 1950s when Jack went back to school to learn the craft. It was a sharp business decision, but back then, Jack had no idea how beloved Kawartha Dairy ice cream would become in the years ahead.
The early 1960s saw Kawartha Dairy expanding to Minden, where it opened a depot that is now a famous dairy bar. Although the head offices and the plant are in Bobcaygeon, to many cottagers and summer travelers, the heart of Kawartha Dairy is now in Minden, where stopping for a cone is an essential part of summer.
Today, Kawartha Dairy operates ten retail stores, offering ice cream, milk, creams, butter, and more. Situated in a bountiful farming region, the dairy receives deliveries of fresh milk each day, most of which is from the local area and all of which is from Ontario farms.