Nation’s first farm-based ice cream trail opens
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — To beat the heat on the first day of summer, Maryland Agriculture officials opened the Maryland’s Best Ice Cream Trail and Geocache Trail on June 20 by visiting three farm-based creameries and sampling their desserts.
The new ice cream trail — modeled after Maryland’s wine trails — includes seven farms that sell ice cream on the farm and is the first of its kind in the nation to feature dairy farms that produce farm fresh ice cream and sell it directly to consumers on the farm.
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. The prize? More ice cream, of course.
“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,” said Buddy Hance, Maryland agriculture secretary who helped open the trail. “We also want to increase the public’s general understanding of what dairy farming is really all about by encouraging them 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.”
The ice cream trail is a joint promotion supported by the Maryland Department of Agriculture and the Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association, the local affiliate of the National Dairy Council.
As Maryland’s third largest agcommodity, milk and dairy products accounted for more than $182.7 million in farm receipts in 2010.
Hance, who admits having a strong personal fondness for ice cream, delivered official “Ice Cream Trail” signs and passports to three of the seven creameries on the trail: Rocky Point Creamery in Frederick County; Prigel Family Creamery in Baltimore County; and Broom’s Bloom Dairy in Harford County.
The other four creameries on the trail are: Kilby Cream in Cecil County; South Mountain Creamery in Frederick County; Misty Meadows Farm Creamery in Washington County; and Chesapeake Bay Farms in Worcester County.
Anyone interested in a being a Trailblazer can pick up a passport at any of the seven participating creameries — or download one online at www.marylandsbest.net and have it “stamped” at each location.
All 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,” an hour-long 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 also offering a Maryland’s Best Geocaching Ice Cream Trail.
Geocaching is a sport in which participants using handheld GPS devices and iPhones search for hidden “caches.”
The sport started in 2000 after the United States stopped scrambling satellite signals making GPS devises much more accurate. Now there are more than 1.7 million geocaches worldwide with more than 5 million people searching for them.
After logging in at each of the caches on the Maryland trail, participants will submit their unique Geocaching Ice Cream Passport to MDA Marketing to win Maryland’s Best geotags developed in cooperation with the Maryland Geocaching Society.