by Hannah Morrow
Photograph by Aaron Pinkston
The milkman is making a comeback. Fifty years ago, when milk was farm-fresh and in many cases from a ranch just down the road, nearly one-third of American households got their dairy delivered straight to their porch. As it became easier (and cheaper) to buy milk at the grocery store, deliveries dwindled and the milkman became more of a euphemism than a profession. Fast-forward a few decades and the farm-to-table movement has many folks reading the ingredients list or avoiding certain foods altogether, opting for meal and produce deliveries. In Austin, milk deliveries are back in fashion, but with a fresh twist and beautiful bottling.
“When you cook at home, it gives you an insurance policy that you’re eating well. Eating healthy has never been a crazy focus. Just making your own food is a natural way to eat what seems right,” says Jordan Fronk, owner and creator of Fronks, a local favorite for organic nut milks. Fronk, who is originally from Houston and moved to Austin in 2003, began making her own nut milks in her Barton Springs home in 2015. Recipes were tweaked until the winning combo of almonds and cashews, sweetened with dates and cinnamon, wowed her friends and family. Occasional gifts turned into frequent orders. After finding a lack of competition for the high-quality, homemade product, Fronk teamed up with local consultants FÖDA Studio and released three flavors (original, simple and cocoa) of Fresh Fronks in 2016.
“It was a really thorough, amazing dive into the industry and companies that I admired and had a similar feel to what I wanted to portray,” says Fronk about working with FÖDA. “When you’re building essentially an e-commerce company from the beginning, not having a storefront, you put a lot of thought into the bottles.” An ode to the milkman days, Fronks’ glass bottles are simple stunners, with charming prints in subtle palettes.
Prior to the products’ release, Fronk worked in marketing and sales until she had her son and daughter. She says building a business was never in the game plan, or even near the playbook. “It felt like one of those things that people always say: There are opportunities that you can take or turn away from, but I took it because it wouldn’t leave me alone,” she says with a laugh. “But I can’t imagine a better city to be building something, and I’m so grateful to be building a business in this community and in this time. Even though it’s nut milk and it’s something kind of small, it feels purposeful.”
“Divisive” is too strong a word to use about a nonissue like nut milk, but non-dairy milks do tend to induce a love-it-or-hate-it response. Fronk knows this. But you can eat vegetables and not be vegan as much as you can be lactose-tolerant and enjoy nut milk. It’s not just a milk alternative; it’s delicious. “Health aside, a lot of people tell me they don’t like milk or they just don’t drink milk. But I always ask them to just try it. It’s something that you can drink out of the bottle.” The popularity of Fronks is proof of this, and, as of September, the brand has expanded its delivery services to Dallas, San Antonio and Houston through Farmhouse Delivery. This year, you can usher in the holidays with the newest flavor: eggnog.
If you chalk all nut milk up to millennial mumbo-jumbo or your last taste test with some lukewarm almond milk was less than pleasant, give Fronks a shot — in your next coffee, maybe in a creamy cocktail or straight out of the bottle. It’s folks like Fronk who make Austin a little sweeter.