WHAT WE ARE...
South Mountain Creamery is Maryland's first on-site dairy processing plant that delivers all-natural and farm fresh products to your doorstep! We have been in the delivery business since 2001 and like to think we are the return of the milkman! We deliver to over 8,000 customers weekly and have a radius that includes DC, Baltimore, Arlington, and many other areas in the four state region! We also have a store on our farm that sells our products to those local customers that don't have our delivery service......yet!
Some of our products include, but are not limited to:
Glass Bottled Milk
Certified Humane Eggs
Ice Cream (over 40 flavors!)
And many products from other local vendors!
We also put on two FREE festivals per year, which attract almost 15,000 visitors to the Middletown area ! This many happy people cannot be wrong! See what SMC can do for you today!
How We Began…
Randy and Karen Sowers met each other while participating in 4-H. They were married in 1974 and actually did not begin their working careers as dairy farmers – but rather Randy was an electrician and fuel truck driver and Karen was a library media teacher at a local elementary school. Randy was able to build their first house in 1979. Their passion for agriculture ran deep, (as both sets of their grandparents had been farmers) and dairy farming was a dream that they both hoped to be able to pursue more sooner than later!
In order to make their dream a reality, Randy and Karen decided to rent the current farm where South Mountain Creamery resides today from Everett Moser in 1981, ultimately creating Sowers Dairy. They also rented their milking equipment and decided to take out a loan to purchase their first 100 dairy cows. Keeping the farm running smoothly was quite an undertaking – Randy farmed full time and Karen taught during the day and helped with the farming evenings, weekends and during her Summer break. They were making their dream come true and that was well worth all of the tireless work that needed to be put into their growing dairy farm.
Despite the occasional set back, like in 1984 when the milking parlor roof caught fire, Randy and Karen were blessed enough to be able to purchase the farm from Everett Moser in 1987 and enter the farm property into Maryland’s Land Preservation program.
With their two young children, Abby and Ben, the Sowers’ continued working and developing their farm and decided to add a beef herd in 1989. After a sudden tornado destroyed the roof of the calf barn later in 1989, Randy and Karen decided to move forward with their next improvement project – and by 1991, they were able to add the original chicken house building which housed 110,000 white laying hens! The family was contracted to house, care for and pack the eggs daily. By working hard, they earned monetary rewards for high production and for the eggs to hen ratio. At this point, Karen was able to stay home and work full time on the farm.
In 1992, the original Double-Six milking system was overhauled and a brand new Double-Ten (meaning they could now milk 20 cows at a time) Herringbone was constructed. This is the same system that we continue to use today!
How We Started to Grow…
Over the next 9 years, Abby and Ben would constantly give their parents ideas about how to grow and change the farm. With a push from their kids, Randy and Karen decided to begin designing the plans for South Mountain Creamery - Maryland’s FIRST on the farm milk processing plant! The idea was to use the high quality milk that they were already getting from their dairy cows – but rather than sell all the milk to the Co-Op, they would process it and bottle it right here at the farm. The decision was made to use reusable glass bottles for the milk and home deliver it to customers, just like other local dairy’s had done since the early 1900’s here in the Middletown Valley!
After building the processing plant, the first home deliveries began on April 13, 2001 with only 13 customers. Karen delivered the milk out of the back of their Ford Explorer!! With a lot of hard work and a lot of prayers, word of South Mountain Creamery’s offerings began to spread quickly and by 2004, the SMC team celebrated as the 1,000th home delivery customer was added – and all were within a 50 mile radius of the farm! Amazing!
We began participating in local Farmer’s Markets, including ones in Hagerstown and Frederick, (and presently, we continue to participate at many different area markets all throughout the year). In 2006, the family was recognized with the “Large Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year” award. South Mountain Creamery was proud to add 200 new customers from Potomac Dairy Service from the areas of North and South Potomac, as well as Bethesda.
How We Kept Pace…
In 2007, South Mountain Creamery was given a makeover! We remodeled the processing plant by installing new American made equipment such as the HTST, the homogenizer, the bottle filler, the bottle washer, the separator and milk tanks. We expanded our services and were able to connect with 2,200 families for our home delivery services! We were also featured in ‘Dairy Business Magazine’ (with the cover photo!), ‘The Washington Post,’ and ‘The New York Times!’
To keep up with our rapid growth, we revamped the website in 2009 in order to handle all aspects of our billing and customer ordering. We grew into Falls Church, VA as well as Mt. Washington in Baltimore, and delivered our products into over 3,000 customer’s homes!
South Mountain Creamery had always made ice cream, but in April 2009, we revamped our whole approach! We added many new and exciting recipes and with over 45 flavors of the smoothest, creamiest ice cream you will ever dip your spoon into – we excitedly added this to our menu of home delivery products!
How We Continue to Moooove Forward…
2011 has been a wonderful year for South Mountain Creamery! We started the year off by expanding our delivery services into Anne Arundel County and the Annapolis, Maryland markets and now reach over 7,000 home delivery customers each week! We revamped our ice cream image by redesigning our containers with a fun and fresh farm look…one that we have been able to carry over to many aspects of our marketing.
In April, we held our Spring Festival at the farm and celebrated our 10th birthday in a big way! The Summer months were filled with fun tours where we were able to share quite a bit of info about what we do with many, many wonderful families and groups from the Tri-State area.
By July, our delivery team had grown to nearly 25 drivers, who were decked out in their new safety green t-shirts! We added several Sprinter vans to our fleet and are having fun decorating them in true South Mountain Creamery style!! Pink spots anyone??
Our Fall Harvest Celebration in October was the biggest one to date and we are so thankful that so many of you love coming out to see where your family’s food comes from! We had a wonderful time and enjoyed seeing the smiles on so many faces!
One of the newest technologies to join the Sowers Dairy family is the new robotic milking system that is operating at our new farm. The system is so interesting and allows the herd to place themselves on their own milking schedule as compared to our home farm where we continue to milk twice per day.
Throughout the course of 2011, we have been working long and hard to achieve our very own Certified Humane Raised and Handled® Certification on our newly constructed laying hen house and the eggs that come out of that house. As of November 1, we are VERY proud to say that we have achieved this certification!! Learn more about this wonderful program by logging on to: www.CertifiedHumane.org
We have been so blessed over our past 10 years as South Mountain Creamery and the past 30 years as Sowers Dairy and we owe everything to you! Your families, friends, neighbors and co-workers that have shared their SMC experiences, recruited new customers and have come out to see what we do everyday – make every moment worthwhile!
From our South Mountain Creamery family to yours, would like to thank you for all for your continued support. With many thanks and happy giving during this Holiday season and beyond…God bless!
Come Out and Enjoy Our Free Daily Farm Experiences!
Milking Time is 1:30 pm - 5:30 pm Daily
Watch cows being milked in our milking parlor!
Calf Feeding Time: 4:00 pm Weekends
Come help bottle feed baby calves!! Please note, each calf only gets one bottle - so come out a bit early to be sure you get a chance to help.