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Maryland's 1st ice cream trail opens

Thursday - 6/21/2012, 11:07am  ET

Paula Fry Rocky Point Creamery (Frederick News Post/Travis Pratt)
Paula Fry, Rocky Point Creamery co-owner, serves Maryland Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance a scoop of ice cream at the creamery Wednesday morning in Tuscarora. Hance, along with the Deputy Secretary Mary Ellen Setting, officially opened Maryland's Best Ice Cream Trail on the first day of summer. (Frederick News-Post/Travis Pratt)
By IKE WILSON
The Frederick News-Post

TUSCARORA, Md. (AP) - Opening Maryland's first ice cream trail was the perfect way to beat this week's 90-plus degrees in Tuscarora, Maryland Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance said.

Hance traveled to three creameries, including Rocky Point Creamery in Tuscarora, to officially open Maryland's Best Ice Cream Trail, which consists of seven farm-based creameries throughout the state.

The new ice cream trail -- modeled after Maryland's wine trails -- is the first in the nation to feature dairy farms that produce fresh ice cream and sell it directly to consumers on the farm, Hance said.

Anyone who visits each of the seven creameries before Sept. 7 will have a chance to be named Maryland's Best 2012 Ice Cream Trailblazer.

AT A GLANCE

Maryland Ice Cream Trail consists of these seven creameries:

  • Rocky Point Creamery in Tuscarora;
  • Prigel Family Creamery in Baltimore County;
  • Broom's Bloom Dairy in Harford County;
  • Kilby Cream in Cecil County;
  • South Mountain Creamery in Middletown;
  • Misty Meadows Farm Creamery in Washington County;
  • Chesapeake Bay Farms in Worcester County.

    Maryland dairy facts

  • Milk is Maryland's official state beverage.

  • There are 495 dairy farms in Maryland.

  • The most popular dairy breed in our state is the Holstein.

  • Maryland's dairy industry accounted for $182.7 million in sales in 2010.

  • Frederick, Washington and Carroll counties are Maryland's top three dairy counties.

  • Maryland dairy cattle are routinely judged among the best in the world at competitions.

  • Carroll County dairy farmer Donna Myers was chosen Dairy Woman of the Year at the 2011 World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis.

  • There are about 55,000 cows in Maryland.

  • The prize? More ice cream, according to the MDA.

    "We're having fun with this in honor of National Dairy Month, while still recognizing the important contributions of Maryland's 495 dairy farms to our state economy," Hance said.

    He said the goal is to increase the public's general understanding of what dairy farming is about by encouraging people to visit a farm, talk to the farmers and taste ice cream that goes from cow to cone in a matter of hours.

    "It is a delicious, fresh taste like no other," Hance said.

    Hance had an ice cream cone named "Nutty-Buddy." The name suited him, dairy farmer Chuck Fry joked, adding it will be the agriculture department's official ice cream cone.

    Hance could visit only three creameries to announce the trail, due to time and distance constraints.

    Establishing a trail to highlight one of Maryland's key economic drivers is important, said Fry, who co-owns Rocky Point Creamery with his wife, Paula, son, Rick, and daughter, Gail Lockard.

    As Maryland's third-largest agricultural commodity, milk and dairy products accounted for more than $182.7 million in farm receipts in 2010, according to the MDA.

    "We have wine trails, why not an ice cream trail," Fry said. "People need to be reminded that milk doesn't come from a grocery store."

    The ice cream trail encourages people to "come out, check in, and buy local, and with July as National Ice Cream Month, this is the perfect time to do this," Fry said.

    Anyone interested in a being a Trailblazer can pick up a passport at any of the seven participating creameries, or download one online at http://www.marylandsbest.net, and have it stamped at each location.

    Completed passports returned to MDA before Sept. 7 will be entered in a drawing for the grand prize, which includes a $50 gift certificate to a favorite creamery along with a copy of "The Maryland Harvest," a one-hour DVD about Maryland chefs and their partnership with local farmers, and a signed copy of "Dishing Up Maryland," a cookbook by Lucie Snodgrass.

    In addition to the Trailblazer Passport contest, MDA is offering a Maryland's Best Geocaching Ice Cream Trail. Geocaching is a sport in which participants using hand-held GPS devices and iPhones to find hidden "caches."

    ___

    Information from: The Frederick (Md.) News-Post, http://www.fredericknewspost.com


    (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)