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Maryland secretary of agriculture visits Smithsburg creamery

Buddy Hance hopes people will 'make the connection between what they consume and where it is produced'

July 18, 2012|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com
  • Betsy Herbst hands a spoon of ice cream to Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Buddy Hance during his visit to Misty Meadow Farm Creamery near Ringgold on Wednesday.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

SMITHSBURG — Betsy Herbst said her husband’s grandparents arrived at their farm in a horse-drawn wagon on a snowy Saturday in 1918.

With another generation of the family now taking up their duties at Misty Meadow Farm, the family broadened its  business by adding a creamery — selling ice cream made from the milk and cream produced by the farm’s dairy herd.

On Wednesday, Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Buddy Hance stopped by to sample some of the two dozen flavors offered at Misty Meadow Farm Creamery.

“Granny’s Crumbs ... especially with the caramel sauce,” he said when asked which one he favored.

That’s a biscotto-flavored concoction that other customers find to their taste, David Herbst said. The creamery also serves up sandwiches with beef and pork raised on the farm, he said.

Hance was on the road promoting Maryland’s Best Ice Cream Trail, a collection of seven Maryland farms that operate on-site creameries. Misty Meadow is the westernmost, and Hance was on his way to South Mountain Creamery in neighboring Frederick County after his stop in the Smithsburg area.

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“My goal is to get around to all seven before the summer’s over,” Hance said.

By promoting the creameries, he said he hopes more people will get to farms and “make the connection between what they consume and where it is produced.”

The Herbsts started the creamery project last year and opened the creamery Jan. 20, Betsy Herbst said.

With grown children Kimberly West, Andrew Herbst and Jennifer Malott returning from college and other pursuits to take up careers on the 500-acre farm, the family decided it needed another source of income, she said.

“We were used to milking cows and raising cows, running a dairy farm,” Betsy Herbst said. The farm has about 300 head, she said.

Before the creamery opened, the couple did their homework, attending schools to learn not just about making ice cream, but about marketing and retailing, she said.

“We never touched a cash register before,” she said.

There are 495 dairy farms in Maryland, a $300 million industry concentrated in the western part of the state, Hance said.

Although Frederick County has more cows, Washington County has about 125 dairy farms, the most in the state, said Leslie Hart, an agricultural marketing specialist with the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission.

With temperatures in the upper 90s Wednesday, it was certainly ice cream weather, and July, Hance said, is National Ice Cream Month.

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