Purity Dairies

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Purity Dairies
Founded1926, as Ezell's Dairy[1]
HeadquartersNashville, Tennessee, United States
Key people
Mark Ezell, president
Number of employees
ParentDean Foods

Purity Dairies, formerly known as Ezell's Dairy, is a Nashville, Tennessee, United States, based dairy company operated by the Ezell family.[2][3][1] It provides products throughout Tennessee, Alabama, and Kentucky. The company is owned by and operates as a subsidiary of Dean Foods and their products includes milk, cultures, and ice cream, orange juice, lemonade, tea and water, and it is one of the last distributors of the Nutty Buddy ice cream cone.[1][4][5][6] They also once had a partnership deal for home delivery through Plumgood Foods, a now defunct grocery delivery company.


In 1926, Dr. C.N. Cowden sold his dairy farm to Miles Ezell after he had rented it for a year, and it was named Ezell's Dairy. By the 1940s, many local dairies had closed due to the requirement of pasteurization, and Ezell's Dairy was one of the few that remained. In 1945, the farm was shut down, but Ezell obtained a small business loan, bought the Green Vale milk plant on Murfreesboro Road, and merged with Rosebank Dairies. In 1946, the company was formally incorporated as Purity Dairies.[1] Albert Gasser joined the company as President and helped Purity become the dominant milk producer in middle Tennessee.[citation needed]

Purity at one time promoted itself as a provider of "Golden Gernsey" milk. Later, it stressed its "GoldenFlake" buttermilk and won national awards with the product. Purity was one of the first to use HEPA filtration in its cottage cheese production area and this helped to dramatically improve the shelf life of the product. It was the first to use wax-free paper packaging and opaque gallon containers for milk. Purity was also known for creative advertising and used Jim Varney in a series of ads that helped to expand its market penetration, with his character of Ernest P. Worrell becoming an icon in the advertising world.[7][8][9]

A sales force was established in the mid-1950s with one man, Tom Pugh, initially becoming the entire force. The force was later expanded to include several other sales professionals who were instrumental in expanding Purity's market share with area retailers.

In the late 1980s in a collaboration with Blue Bell creameries, Purity expanded its line to include an ice cream that became the best seller in the area.[citation needed]

In 1998, the company was purchased by Dean Foods.[1] Members of the Ezell family, one of the founders, are still involved in the management of Purity Dairies.


  1. ^ a b c d e "Company Overview of Purity Dairies, Inc". Bloomberg. March 5, 2014. Retrieved December 9, 2017.
  2. ^ Markley, Jordan (July 13, 2011). "Purity Dairies and the war on chocolate milk". Nashville Business Journal. Retrieved December 9, 2017.
  3. ^ "Remembering Rutherford: Jersey butter led to 'Dairying Center of the South'". Daily News Journal. September 28, 2014. Retrieved December 9, 2017.
  4. ^ Knipple, A.; Knipple, P. (2013). Farm Fresh Tennessee. Southern Gateways Guides. University of North Carolina Press. p. 116. ISBN 978-1-4696-0775-7. Retrieved December 9, 2017.
  5. ^ Dairy Field. Cummins Publishing Company. 1988. p. 21. Retrieved December 9, 2017.
  6. ^ "America's favorite frozen treats had some cool beginnings". Seattlepi.com. August 6, 2003. Retrieved December 9, 2017.
  7. ^ "Ernest's transition from TV to film". EW.com. April 13, 1990. Retrieved December 9, 2017.
  8. ^ Baird, Sarah (March 15, 2017). "How Jim Varney and His Redneck Alter Ego Built a Lasting Legacy". MEL Magazine. Retrieved December 9, 2017.
  9. ^ "The Tennessean from Nashville, Tennessee on November 13, 1982 · Page 5". Newspapers.com. November 13, 1982. Retrieved December 9, 2017.

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