Capitalizing on the farm-to-spoon movement has never tasted so good.
Seven Maryland dairy farmers have discovered a new, popular source of income by opening ice cream parlors on their farms, and through Maryland's Best Ice Cream Trail, these farmers are reaping the sweet rewards of their enterprising ventures.
According to National Public Radio, these on-farm ice cream shops are becoming a popular stop for consumers willing to trek across rural roads to enjoy the stops on the trail, the first farm-based ice cream trail in the country. The program was launched this summer by the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) to promote the state’s dairies, which have declined from 1,400 to just 500 in the past two decades.
“This is just an opportunity for our dairy industry to continue to survive," Buddy Hance, secretary of the MDA, said.
One of the farms on the ice cream trail is the Rocky Point Creamery in Frederick County, Md., a part of Chuck Fry’s Rocky Point Farm. Fry agrees with Hance, noting that the creamery is critical in the success of his dairy. Profits help pay for the dairy’s operating costs, and these days Fry is seeing a growth in business at his creamery since the ice cream trail started earlier this season.
When it first opened, Rocky Point Creamery sold 3,500 scoops per month. They are now selling that much each week.
"Craziest thing I ever heard tell of, driving an hour to get an ice cream cone," Fry said. "But we do real banana splits with real bananas, and that doesn't exist too much anymore."
Customer Pam Joseph, a resident from Lucketts, Va., is a regular at the creamery at Rocky Point Farm. The 14-minute drive is worth it for the chilled treats offered at the creamery.
"I think this is some of the best ice cream I've ever had," Joseph told NPR, "and what I found out from talking with the folks here is that it's milk made from their dairy that they use to make the ice cream."
Fans have written glowing comments praising the creamery on the their Facebook page, including these rave reviews:
- This ice cream is delicios!!!!! Creamiest ice cream ever!
- So, I learned today that the Rocky Point Farm has been operating since 1883. Try the Grapenuts icecream if they have it. Yes, the cereal. And yes, it's awesome! :)
- Check this place out. Yummmy ice cream. It is in Point of Rocks, MD.
Great ice cream! Milk, too, fresh from the dairy next door.