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State ag secretary makes stop in Smithsburg during trek on 'Maryland's Best Ice Cream Trail'

August 20, 2013|By CALEB CALHOUN | caleb.calhoun@herald-mail.com
  • Betsy Herbst, left, hands a sample of ice cream from Misty Meadow Farm Creamery to Maryland Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance, right, as David Herbst looks on. The Herbsts own the creamery, which is one of eight dairy farms across the state that produce ice cream and sell it directly to customers.
Betsy Herbst, left, hands a sample of ice cream from Misty Meadow Farm Creamery to Maryland Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance, right, as David Herbst looks on. The Herbsts own the creamery, which is one of eight dairy farms across the state that produce ice cream and sell it directly to customers.

On Tuesday, Maryland Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance tried a sample of the Mango Wine Sorbet at Misty Meadow Farm near Smithsburg.

“I thought it had wine,” Hance said after trying it and realizing that he was correct.

Hance stopped at the creamery on the farm as part of his journey on Maryland’s Best Ice Cream Trail. Misty Meadow Farm is one of the trail’s eight dairy farms across the state that produce ice cream and sell it directly to customers.

He said each farm has something that sets it apart.

“At Misty Meadow, they have a playground and a petting zoo, and they serve other food besides ice cream,” he said. “If you go around to the different creameries, they all have unique flavor.”

Hance then proceeded to try the creamsicle-flavored ice cream, after sampling the granny’s crumbs flavor last year.

When Hance asked whose wine was in the sorbet, Betsy and David Herbst, owners of the farm, took out a bottle of Red Heifer from Red Heifer Winery on Raven Rock Road, just outside Smithsburg.

David Herbst, who learned how to make sorbet at an ice-cream convention, said that the idea for the wine-flavored confection came about when the local winery opened in 2012.

Herbst, 59, said that the Ice Cream Trail highlights the importance of buying local.

“All the money that’s spent back here goes into the local economy, in products and services,” he said. “It’s spent here in the local community.”

The Maryland’s Best Ice Cream Trail program began in 2012 as a way to promote dairy farms.

As part of the program, anyone who visits one of the farms on the trail can pick up a “passport” and get it stamped at each creamery. They can then submit the passports to the Maryland Department of Agriculture by the middle of September to be entered into a drawing for prizes, Hance said.

“It’s a great opportunity for the public to actually get out on a farm, see what a farm looks like,” he said. “If you talk to the employees or the owners if they happen to be here when you come, you can ask questions.”

Hance talked about the importance of the dairy industry to the state, noting that it ranks third in the agriculture area, with gross sales of about $188 million, behind poultry and the nursery horticulture industry. There are nearly 500 dairy farms in the state.
 
In Washington County, 136 of the 844 farms are dairy farms, said Leslie Hart, business development specialist for agriculture for the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission.

Hart said that much of the milk in grocery stores in the area comes from a dairy operation within 100 miles, and it is important to keep the dairy business “thriving.”

“Besides just milk, it’s ice cream, it’s yogurt, it’s shredded cheese, it’s powdered milk, it’s baby formula,” she said. “Things that people don’t think about originate from a dairy cow.”

Herbst said the “buy local” movement has helped the creamery since it opened in early 2012.

“People want to get a product that comes right off the farm where it was produced,”  he said.

Hance was also scheduled to visit Rocky Point Creamery Tuesday afternoon in Tuscarora, which is in Frederick County. On Monday, he visited Prigel Family Creamery in Glen Arm in Baltimore County.

On Saturday, he is scheduled to visit Keyes Creamery in Aberdeen in Harford County and South Mountain Creamery in Middletown in Frederick County.

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