King of the mountain roads!

Pickup truck driver Paul and his normal working day

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When he first turns the key on in his ignition it’s 5:45 a.m. – Paul Ebenkofler is one of 32 pickup truck drivers from Mila, starting his first run into the Valle Aurina.

Whatever the weather, rain or snow, he has been on the road for more than 20 years picking up the fresh milk directly from the mountain farms or at the collection points in order to bring it to the Mila factory at Brunico. "The milk can is often standing on the side of the road when I come by. At other collection points the farmers are waiting for me and while the milk is being drawn into the truck there’s time for a little chat", explains Paul, "Some farmers I never get to see, whilst others I see everyday."

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The truck drivers are reliable and punctual as clockwork. No wonder people say you can set the time according to them. "With normal weather conditions that works, absolutely! However if it’s raining or snowing, it’s not always that easy to keep to the schedule, especially if you have to attach snow chains or the streets are slippery. Most of the time it works out pretty well though", Paul continues. It has only happened a few times till now, that too much snow has made the milk transport nearly impossible, or even delayed it by a day.

Before the milk is brought into the dairy farm, Paul makes an inhibitor test to check if the milk is antibiotic-free. "This is a quick test, which is done during the drive so that when we arrive at the dairy farm we can confirm if the milk is okay." Paul makes two such tours daily, before his day ends with a thorough car wash at 2 p.m.

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