Our Story

Who Are We

In 1941, Howard & Gladys Gibson took a loan from Howard’s father to buy a piece of farmland just north of Junction City, OR. From there, the two grew their family and farmland before expanding to include a Dairy. This was the beginning of Lochmead Farms and Dairy. Gladys and Howard wanted to control the quality of their dairy products, so they created their own processing

plant and chain of convenience stores to sell directly to the public. The convenience stores were named Dari Mart, and we continue to sell Lochmead’s premium products to this day, 59 years later. Lochmead Farms, Lochmead Dairy, & Dari Mart are independent organizations privately owned and operated by the same family, spanning 4-generations and 83 years of dedication to providing quality products and services to local Willamette Valley communities.

Lochmead Farms & Dairy

In 1941, Howard’s father, H.H. Gibson, loaned his son and daughter-in-law $12,500 to help buy a 120-acre farm 4 miles north of Junction City, OR. After the first year, the family checkbook boasted only $40.78. With Howard’s college studies in farm management and a shared intense work ethic with his wife, he and Gladys built and expanded the farm in acreage and crops to include animal feed such as alfalfa, corn, and silage. With the ability to feed more mouths, the farm expanded to include a dairy. By the late 1940s, Lochmead Farms had built a milking parlor and was home to 100 cows. In addition to feed for the cows, the farm also grows filberts (hazelnuts), grass seed, rotating row crops, blueberries, and mint. The mint is turned into mint oil, sold to outside buyers, and used in Lochmead’s ice cream, as are the blueberries.

Clover Field & bee hives at Lochmead Farms

To have a premium quality end product, you must start with premium quality ingredients, at least that’s what Howard and Gladys theorized. It turns out they were right. It begins with growing almost 90% of the cows feed on the very farm they live on. There are no additives or pesticides added to the food our cows eat which is why they live healthy lives and produce quality milk. Breeding is also done on-site to maintain control of the cow’s lineage. Many other dairies give their milking cows hormones so they produce more milk, but not Lochmead Farms. Not now, not ever.

In the Lochmead Dairy Processing Plant, at any given time, many things are happening. From the bottling of thousands of pints of juice, crews capping 1.5-gallon tubs of Lochmead yogurt by hand, research and development working on new flavor combinations and making and packaging ice cream cookie sandwiches on Thursday mornings, there is always something going on. A big reason Lochmead continues to be locally and nationally recognized for its excellent quality is its constant strive for improvement and development. To Lochmead Dairy, there is no such thing as “good enough.” Every decision made first has to answer this question; “will this improve the quality of our products?” In the case of the new spiral freezer purchased a few years ago, the answer to that question was “yes.” The spiral freezer freezes the ice cream in such a way that it makes the ice cream even creamier than before. From the beginning, Howard and Gladys prioritized premium quality and local freshness. A practice that has served well in the 83 years since the opening of Lochmead Farms and Dairy.

In 2023, after 82 years, Lochmead Farms expanded one more time to begin breeding cattle specific to beef consumption. A cross of Holstein Angus bred and raised to offer consumers premium steak, rib, and beef cuts sold online at the Lochmead Farms Beef website. After 83 years, Lochmead Farms and Dairy is up to 3,000 acres, 1,200 cows, a fully vertically integrated processing plant, and is in its 3rd generation of being family-run. From Howard and Gladys Gibson to sons Jock, Mike, and Buzz, and today run by grandchildren Scott, Chris, and Stephanie Gibson.

Dari Mart Stores

In 1965, Howard Gibson wanted to create a dairy processing plant to bottle milk and other dairy products. Gladys advocated for owning the complete journey from cow to customer by opening stores to sell directly to the public. The first five Dari Mart stores were opened in 1965 and were run by Gladys with help from her son Jock until he left to run the processing plant. Then, daughter Pat and her husband Gary Straube assumed the roles of managing the Dari Mart stores starting in 1973. From there, the focus for Dari Mart was expanding locations to reach more people in the community. The pillars of Dari Mart were the same as Lochmead Farms and Dairy: local, quality, and family-focused. In the 59 years, Dari Mart has expanded to towns that stretch across the Willamette Valley from Albany and Corvallis to Cottage Grove.


In any given Dari Mart store, you will find a friendly staff, Lochmead Farms products, and probably a friend or two also stopping by to grab a gallon of milk or a pick-me-up snack. Not only are the usual convenience store products such as snacks, sodas, deli, and candy available, but there are local branded products too. Dari Mart isn’t a carbon copy remake of national convenience store brands, Dari Mart values community and locality. This is why local brands such as Lochmead Farms, Hop Valley Brewing Co., and Country Made Jerky are present. A locally founded and run business recognizes others with similar values. Community is important to Dari Mart and this is showcased in the products sourced to sell, and the sense of community found in your neighborhood Dari Mart store.

Clip from the 2001 edition of Generations

In addition to dairy, hot food, and other typical convenience products, in 2013, Dari Mart now offered a new kind of product to its consumers. Fresh to Go was created to provide consumers with healthier items to grab on the go. These products include sandwiches, wraps, salads, and healthy snacks made fresh and local in Junction City. Vertical integration is a running theme in this family, as production, distribution, and sales are almost all through Dari Mart. All Fresh to Go products are made in the ever-growing Junction City Kitchen and distributed to all Dari Mart stores, as well as a few outside buyers like the local universities. In the Kitchen is a group of highly skilled and efficient kitchen staff churning out hundreds of pounds of Fresh to Go food every week. Once prepared, packaged, and packed, the food is split into orders submitted by each Dari Mart store. Now, the food is placed into the capable hands of the Dari Mart distribution team, who drive routes to various stores delivering everything from fresh and refrigerated food to oven mitts.

With a growing business and family, Pat, who took over as President after Gladys’s passing in 2012, is still regularly seen at the Dari Mart office handling projects such as charitable events and partnerships. Day-to-day operations are now managed by Gladys and Howard’s grandchildren Joe Gibson, and Co-Vice Presidents Kurt Straube and Kathy Gibson.


Learn more about Lochmead:
Lochmead: https://www.lochmead.com/
Lochmead Farms Beef: https://lochmeadfarmsbeef.com/

Where to find Dari Mart:
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/darimartstores/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=61561207649791
Website: https://www.darimart.com/lochmeaddairy/