Miller Foods, located in the western part of Hartford County in Avon, Connecticut, offers pet owners an alternative to commercial dog and cat food with its Oma's Pride line of raw food, bones and freeze-dried treats.
Miller Foods has been around since 1954. The food products retailer and wholesale distributor known for everything from hams and semi-boneless Turkease to picnic foods and pies branched out into the pet food market in 2000. It manufactures its Oma's Pride line of all-natural cat and dog foods in Connecticut and sells them through a nationwide network of retailers and via mail order, as well as at its Avon store.
Although I had heard of Miller Foods, I'd never visited the store until March of 2007. My visit was prompted by the nationwide recall of wet dog and cat foods manufactured by Menu Foods and sold under a variety of brand names. The recall was a response to customer reports that their pets had experienced kidney failure. Subsequent investigation showed that the pet food was contaminated with aminopterin, a chemical used to poison rats in some countries.
Although 42 brands of cat food were recalled, I felt very lucky that Fancy Feast--the wet food we'd been feeding our seven-month-old kitten--was not on the list. Still, since Miller Foods is based right here in New England, I thought it might be a good idea to investigate whether raw food might be a good supplement or alternative to Boomer's current diet.
The Miller Foods store in Avon is tiny, so I was able to easily find the freezer case filled with Oma's Pride ground meat selections. I wanted to start small, so I selected a one-pound tube of turkey and vegetables, which was labeled: "Old World Natural Canine and Feline Raw Food, No Additives, No Preservatives."
I wasn't sure, however, if this was a good choice for my cat, so I asked the salesperson at the counter what she would recommend. Without hesitation, she said, "Rabbit," and directed me back to the freezer case for a cat sampler pack that included a one-pound tube of ground raw rabbit, three freeze-dried turkey organ treats and a Lake Chub Round.
I was surprised when she added that there would be no charge for the sampler, but that she'd take my address and phone number so that the company could follow up to see how my cat liked his new food. She recommended crumbling the freeze-dried treats into the raw food and also advised me that the thawed raw food should be kept refrigerated and used up within four days.
I'll admit--I felt a bit more squeamish about taking home smooshy rabbit than I had about buying ground turkey. It didn't help that I thought the salesperson had said "leg stub," not "Lake Chub," which--thank you, Google--turns out to be a type of small fish. So, as I was driving home from Miller Foods, I called my husband to warn him that feeding Boomer these new treats would be his job.
I needn't have worried. After all, the stuff that comes in a cat food can isn't exactly appetizing looking. After thawing out half of the rabbit (the tube was easy to slice with a knife), we fed Boomer his first taste.
He likes it! Boomer likes it!
What You Need to Know About Miller Foods and Oma's Pride:
Location: Miller Foods is located at 308 Arch Road in Avon, Connecticut.
Directions: From Hartford, follow Route 44 West through Avon to a left on West Avon Road/Route 167. Proceed one mile to a left at a traffic light onto Arch Road, and you’ll immediately see the white Miller Foods building on your left. Or, from I-84 West, take exit 39 and proceed straight at the end of the ramp onto Route 4 West. Proceed for two miles and turn right at a light onto Brickyard Road. Brickyard Road becomes West Avon Road. Watch for a right turn onto Arch Road at a traffic light after about four miles. Miller Foods will be on your left.
Hours: As of 2009, Miller Foods is open Monday through Wednesday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.
Phone Orders and Information: For more information or to order Oma's Pride products by phone for shipment, call 860-673-3256 or toll free, 800-678-6627.
Keep in mind that it is a good idea to consult your veterinarian for advice about your pet's dietary needs.