Share on Facebook
Tweet on Twitter
The Parsi Dairy Farm on Princess Street, Marine Lines is hard to miss. The bright blue building with its aroma of milk, ghee and a variety of sweets is considered to be one of Mumbai’s most iconic food establishments, coming from the erstwhile Irani café era of the city.
However, the 99-year old dairy seems to be nearing its end. The family is planning to to sell its 300-acre land at Talasari, an agricultural land in Warvada village on the Maharashtra-Gujarat border, according to a a report by The Times of India. The Nariman family, which founded the dairy, bought the land back in 1968 for livestock and to support its dairy activities. The reports also suggests that the family may look to shut shop or sell the brand in the near future.

While it is unclear whether the family will actually sell the store as well, if it does happen, it will be the end of yet another iconic Parsi establishment in Mumbai. The Parsi Dairy Farm was founded in 1916 by Parsi entrepreneur Nariman Ardheshir, and has since been run by the Nariman family. It was included in CNN Travel’s 10 vintage Bombay brands in 2010 and is one of the most frequented sweet shops in South Mumbai.
However, this may not be the end of the establishment, as it has faced other problems in the past but managed to sail on. In 2006, the store was shut for months due to a labour strike. The shop remained closed from November 2006 to June 2007 after workers went on strike protesting non-payment of dues, according to this Mumbai Mirror report. In 2008, the workers planned another strike over wage issues, continues the report. The overall production of the farm has also gone down, over the past decade-and-a-half, with the business plummeting from supplying 15,000 litres of milk a day to barely 2,000 litres today, says The Times of India.

Parsi Dairy Farm

The establishment was then revamped a few years later thanks to brothers Bakhtyar, 31, and Sarfaraz K Irani, 28, who joined the family business in 27. A Mumbai Mirror interview quotes them as saying that they focused on marketing, advertising, packaging and new product creation.
Parsi Dairy Farm is not the only iconic eatery from the bygone era struggling to stay afloat. The once popular joints are being fazed out, especially in South Mumbai, as the city moves from ‘brun maska’ to burgers. The Bastani and Co bakery, very close to Parsi Dairy at Dhobi Talao, shut a few years ago. Merwans, a traditional Iranian café at Grant Road was on the verge of shutting down in 2014, however it managed to continue running, along with a handful of other iconic Iranian establishments in the vicinity.
While the future of the dairy as it approaches its centenary year remains to be seen, hopefully we can enjoy a few more years of the malai kulfi and sutarfeni there.