October 31, 2013
About two months ago a Washington Post article about South Mountain Creamery in Middletown, Maryland, caught my attention. I was curious to learn how their doorstep delivery service works. They currently deliver their dairy products, as well as meat, eggs, and bread to approximately 8,500 customers across Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia. I was also really excited to learn about the new technology they have adopted over the past couple of years to improve their business. In 2011, the South Mountain Creamery installed a robotic milking system at one of their farms. Then, just last April, they invested in a routing system to make their delivery system more efficient. This piece of news was of particular interest to me, a GIS Specialist at CLF. Knowing that today’s milkman has a GPS in his truck and a tablet in hand that allows him to report real-time delivery or traffic information back to a delivery manager, who is tracking his progress from the creamery, is a sure sign that we have not exactly returned to the 1950s.
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Just a couple weekends ago, I took my family out to South Mountain Creamery for their fall festival. We had a great time, listening to blue grass music, shucking corn, and of course sampling some of the creamery’s delicious ice cream. We even took a hay ride and stopped on a hill overlooking the farm to listen to a volunteer tell us about the battle for South Mountain that took place during the Civil War, right before the Battle at Antietam. The highlight of the visit, though, had to be feeding the newborn calves fresh warm milk in a bottle. The employee that helped us feed a two-day-old calf told us that they milk about 400 cows and have 17,000 chickens that lay approximately 16,000 eggs daily. We also learned that the robotic milking system, located at a different farm, does not actually contribute to the milk used at the creamery. We did not learn why, but it’s sold instead through another local dairy co-op.
One of eight creameries in Maryland, South Mountain is one stop along the Maryland Ice Cream Trail. The other creameries on the trail are the Prigel Family Creamery, Kilby Cream, Rocky Point Creamery, Broom’s Bloom Dairy, Keyes Creamery, Misty Meadows Farm Creamery and Chesapeake Bay Farms, Inc.
I have put together an interactive map (above) that shows where the creameries on the Ice Cream Trail are located in Maryland. Maryland’s Best has developed an Ice Cream Trail passport that you can take to each creamery on the trail. If you have your passport stamped at each location over the summer and send in your passport you will be eligible to win a $50 gift certificate to a creamery of your choice, as well as a DVD of The Maryland Harvest and the cookbook Dishing Up Maryland. And for my fellow map nerds out there, there is also a geocaching contest. Use your Maryland’s Ice Cream Geocache Passport and you will receive the highly coveted Maryland’s Best Ice Cream Trail Pathtag.
Photo: Jamie Harding, 2013.