In 1925, Miles Ezell and his new bride, Estelle, lived and worked on a small dairy farm in Nashville. When farm owner, Dr. C. N. Cowden, presented the opportunity to rent the milking operation, Ezell took the offer, and Ezell's Dairy was begun. With 200 dairies in the Nashville area, competition was fierce, but the dairy survived. Despite the difficulties of the Great Depression and World War II, Ezell's Dairy continued to grow. In 1945, after several relocations and a wartime displacement, the dairy merged with Rosebank Dairies, moved to the current Murfreesboro Road location, and Purity Dairies was born. In 1950, two of Miles Ezell's sons, Miles, Jr. and Bill, joined the Purity family.
Purity has always maintained the highest standards for the quality of its products and services. Because if its many innovative operations and packaging breakthroughs, Purity brought many inventive changes to the market. By introducing refrigerated tanks on dairy trucks in 1956, Purity brought the greatest improvement in milk quality that the industry has ever experienced.
Vacuum pasteurization and no-wax cartons presented customers in the Nashville area with some of the best tasting milk around. No longer would they be bothered by onion-flavored milk in the spring or by flakes of wax floating in their milk. In 1983, Purity introduced a yellow plastic jug ensuring improved taste by restricting the contact of ultra violet light with the milk. The entrance of Sweet Acidophilus into the market brought the first milk fortified with the acidophilus and bidfidobacterium cultures, which strengthen the immune system, to the people of Nashville.
In 1986, Purity began production of its multi-award winning ice cream. The plant was the first project directed primarily by the third generation of the Ezell family. By maintaining the highest quality in production practices and ingredients, Purity's Premium Ice Cream captured the taste of the Nashville market.
Of course, all of the great innovations brought to Nashville would have garnered little recognition had they not been accompanied by intensive advertising campaigns. These campaigns brought memorable characters, such as the Cow and the Kangaroo, Sergeant Glory and Ernest and Vern, to Middle Tennessee. They also helped to expand Purity's territory, and, in 1989, distribution facilities were added in both Kentucky and Alabama.
In 1998, after 72 years as a family-run business, Purity Dairies joined Dean Foods, the nation's leading dairy processor and distributor, and today, some members of the Ezell family are still on the Dean Foods management team. Purity now offers more than 100 different products throughout Tennessee, Alabama, and Kentucky.
Standing as testaments to Purity's obsession with quality are the hundreds of first place trophies won in state and national quality awards contests. Purity Vanilla Bean Ice Cream won the honor of being the World's Best Ice Cream at the 2004 World Dairy Expo. In 2009, Purity's sour cream won the Best-of-Show at the Expo, besting over 600 entries. By leading the industry in innovation and quality, Purity, one of more than 150 dairies selling milk in Nashville in 1936, has withstood the test of time.
Download the Purity Dairies History Timeline.