ANNAPOLIS, MD – Maryland Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance and Deputy Secretary Mary Ellen Setting officially opened the 2014 Maryland’s Best Ice Cream Trail today by enjoying the first official scoop of the season at South Mountain Creamery in Frederick County and urging Marylanders to visit at least one of the eight stops on the trail during the Memorial Day weekend.
“We launched the Ice Cream Trail two years ago to promote our dairy farmers and encourage Marylanders to visit a real working farm,” said Secretary Hance. “I encourage everyone to visit a local farm or two and enjoy some delicious local ice cream during the long holiday weekend.”
The trail is made up of eight dairy farms across the state that produce and sell ice cream directly to consumer.. Residents who are traveling to popular vacation destinations in Maryland this weekend – whether to the mountains of western Maryland or the beaches of Ocean City – have an opportunity to make at least one stop on the trail.
You can pick up an Ice Cream Trail Passport at any of the creameries (or online atwww.marylandsbest.net). Anyone who completes their Ice Cream Trail passport by visiting every stop on the trail and answering a question from each creamery between May 19 and Sept. 15 will have their passport entered into a drawing to be named the 2014 Ice Cream Trail Blazer. The grand prize includes a $50 gift certificate to a favorite creamery; a CD set of the first season of Maryland Public Television’s Maryland Farm and Harvest; a signed copy of “Dishing Up Maryland,” a cookbook by Lucie Snodgrass; and statewide bragging rights!
The eight farms on the Ice Cream Trail stretch more than 290 miles from Ocean City in the east to Washington County in the west. The purpose of the trail is to highlight the important contributions of Maryland’s 476 dairy farms which accounted for $201 million in sales in 2013; and to increase the public’s general understanding of dairy farming.
Secretary Hance and Deputy Secretary Setting opened the Ice Cream Trail at South Mountain Creamery, Maryland’s first on-site dairy processing plant. Owners Randy and Karen Sowers rented the dairy farm that is now South Mountain in 1981 and bought it in 1987, continually growing and developing their operation. Today, South Mountain delivers farm fresh dairy products to 8,000 customers every week. And the creamery that opened in 2009 offers more than 45 flavors of smooth, creamy ice cream. In addition, South Mountain invites visitors to watch the cows being milked every day from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Visitors are also invited to help bottle feed baby calves every day at 4 p.m., although there is often a line so get there early. For more about South Mountain, see www.southmountaincreamery.com.
Other farms on the Ice Cream Trail are: Broom’s Bloom Dairy (Harford County); Chesapeake Bay Farms (Worcester County – now with two locations); Keyes Creamery (Harford County); Kilby Cream (Cecil County); Misty Meadows Farm Creamery (Washington County); Prigel Family Creamery (Baltimore County); and Rocky Point Creamery (Frederick County).
In addition to the Trailblazer Passport contest, MDA is also offering a Maryland’s Best Geocaching Ice Cream Trail. Geocaching is a sport in which participants using handheld GPS devices and iPhones find hidden “caches.” After logging in at each of the caches, participants will submit their unique Geocaching Ice Cream Passport to MDA Marketing to win Maryland’s Best geotags developed in cooperation with the Maryland Geocaching Society. To learn more about geocaching, visit: www.geocaching.com or contact Stone Slade at MDA, (410) 841-5779,firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maryland’s Ice Cream Trail is a joint promotion supported by the Maryland Department of Agriculture and the Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association, the local affiliate of the National Dairy Council. Learn more about dairy farming and why “Your Milk Comes from a Good Place” atwww.dairyspot.com.
National Dairy Month, which begins June 1, celebrates the value of milk and dairy products as part of well-balanced diets of every American, as well as the importance of milk production to the agricultural industry. July is National Ice Cream Month.