Maryland’s Best Ice Cream Trail is back again for the 2021 season and the state’s ten on-farm creameries are ready to serve up their unique farm to table ice cream.
Now in its ninth year, the trail is the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s way of promoting the state’s dairy farm industry. For a creamery to get on the trail it has to serve ice cream directly to customers on the farm.
John Fendrick, owner of Woodbourne Creamery at Rock Hill Orchard in Mount Airy, said the trail is a great service for his creamery and they get a lot of exposure from it. His farm has been a part of the trail for about five years and it draws people all year round for ice cream.
“The Maryland Ice Cream Trail is a unique and delicious way to explore our state, learn more about where our food comes from, and meet the hardworking families that have sustained these farms for generations,” said Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford in a news release.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 98 percent of U.S. farms are family owned and operated.
This is true for Bob Miller, owner and operator of Nice Farms Creamery in Federalsburg. Miller moved his small family-operated dairy farm of just 40 cows from New Jersey to Maryland in 1989 and recently joined the ice cream trail last year during the pandemic.
“It’s really helped us meet some new people that we would not have ordinarily met. It's a very valuable thing that Maryland is doing with the ice cream trail,” he said.
The best part of participating in the trail for Miller is seeing the reactions of guests when they visit. “People that literally have not been in the same space as a dairy cow, it's fun to watch that reaction and I’ve met a few really cool people like that and they're just blown away from it.”
The Maryland’s Best Ice Cream Trail has all the ice cream anyone could want and each dairy farm is guaranteed to offer guests a different experience; whether that is Nice Farms Creamery’s old fashion flavors that taste a bit different every time or Woodbourne Creamery’s gold-tinted ice cream from its golden guernsey cows.
Fendrick said everyone is bound to be within an hours drive from at least two or three creameries so people should get out and join the trail. His best trail memory is last Fall he met a woman who was almost nine months pregnant and his creamery was her last stop just days before she was due to give labor.
“It's great how ice cream kind of brings all these interesting people together,” said Miller.
The ice cream trail goes until September 30 and participants are encouraged to take a photo or selfie of themselves at each of the ten creameries and submit them with their name and contact information to be entered into the drawing for Maryland’s Best Ice Cream Champion Trailblazer.
People travel from all over to participate in the trail. Miller said people have traveled over four hours to visit their dairy farm. “I’m amazed at how far some of these people are from [us], like some of these people are well out in western Maryland and here they are on our farm.”
Maryland’s Best Ice Cream Champion Trailblazer will receive a $50 gift certificate to the creamery of their choice, a copy of the children’s book “Tales of the Dairy Godmother: Chuck’s Ice Cream Wish,” and the 2021 trophy.
“I encourage everyone to hit the trail this summer, sample the best ice cream Maryland has to offer, and make memories that will last a lifetime,” said Lt. Governor Rutherford.
Maryland's Office of Tourism trademarked the trail "Maryland's Best," but try the ice cream out for yourself and you be the judge.
If you decide to join in on the ice cream trail share your photos on social media with #MDIceCreamTrail.