Can you tell me more about South Mountain Creamery?
South Mountain Creamery started in April of 2001 after Randy and Karen Sowers chose to process and sell their own milk from the dairy farm they'd been running for 20 years (since 1981). They had previously been selling their milk to distributors but decided they wanted more control over producing healthy, all-natural products with the milk from their herd. They opened a dairy production plant on their farm and, using the back of their Ford Explorer, made their first milk delivery on April 13th, 2001, to 13 homes in Middletown, MD. In June of 2001, they added their first milk truck. Since then, the company has grown to serve nearly 9,000 homes in Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC, and West Virginia, covering about 3,000 square miles each week.
Since our inception, SMC has expanded our production capabilities to produce a variety of all-natural and fresh dairy products, meats, and eggs from our own animals. We make it a priority to offer a natural and quality product, starting with what we feed our animals. We plant only non-GMO crops for feed, and are committed to stewarding the land for our children by using sustainable and environmentally-friendly farming practices. Once the milk is processed, we add as little to our dairy products as possible, in order to preserve their natural nutrients. We use all-natural ingredients in our flavored milks and creamers, butters, yogurts, ice creams, and more. We use glass bottles to reduce waste. In addition, we noticed many local vendors who are committed to the same principles in their production, and have partnered with many of them to offer additional all-natural products for our customers to enjoy.
Is your operation organic?
SMC is not Certified Organic; we follow traditional farming methods which are often similar to that of organic farmers -- i.e. we give our animals no growth hormones or unnecessary antibiotics. We grow non-GMO forage and legumes to feed our herd. Our cows also have free choice feeding, meaning they are grass-fed in addition to our farm-grown forage. We work closely with local conservation groups to preserve our soil and prevent soil erosion. Our chickens are also Certified Humane, meaning they have plenty of space to roam and are treated responsibly. At SMC Farms, we are committed to providing quality, all-natural products that were made using responsible and sustainable agricultural practices. That's our Guarantee.
Do you use growth hormones?
Our cows only receive antibiotics when they are sick and actually need the antibiotic. In these instances, their milk is taken off the line and not used until they are deemed healthy again. Our cows are part of the family and we want them to be well, but we never use antibiotics as a preventative method or inject them with growth hormones of any kind to increase milk production or size.
Is your milk pasteurized?
Yes, South Mountain Creamery milk is pasteurized, as required by Maryland State Law. To make our milk healthier and more delicious, we pasteurize using a HTST (High Temperature, Short Time) system, which means that our milk is heated to 168°F for 17 seconds and then cooled. Most grocery stores pasteurize at a much higher temperature, usually around 195°F. While this method provides a longer shelf life, it strips the milk of its natural proteins, healthy enzymes, and great flavor. The HTST system helps maintain all the flavor and natural goodness.
Tell me more about the meat that you sell.
Whether raised on our farm or supplied by another farm, our meat has never been injected with growth hormones, animal byproducts, or unnecessary antibiotics.
- BEEF : Our Hereford and Angus Steers are homegrown right here on our farm. They are given free-choice feed, meaning they are grass-fed and are also fed a healthy, natural mixture of non-GMO forage and legumes grown on our farm.
- PORK : Our pigs are hand selected from local growers that meet our own standards of animal care and raised on our own milk and feed we grow ourselves. Our pork is butchered at Hoffman’s Meats, located in Maryland.
- CHICKEN : Our chicken is provided by Locust Point Farms in Elkton, Maryland and Murray’s Chicken in the Lancaster, Pennsylvania countryside. Both suppliers raise their chickens with the same standards that South Mountain Creamery uses to raise our animals, including plenty of fresh air and an all-natural diet. Our chicken sausage is butchered at Hoffman’s Meats in Maryland.
- LAMB : Our pasture raised lambs come from local farms. They are fed grass and grass hay, which result in a healthier, better tasting meat.
- GOAT : Although we currently purchase our goat meat from a local farm, we are in the process of building our own stock. Goat meat is leaner and has less cholesterol and fat than lamb and beef.
Can I visit your farm?
Yes! Our farm is always open to the public. Every day you can see the cows being milked from 1:30-4:30p, and bottle feed our baby calves at 4p. Our friends (i.e. you!) are welcome to come out any day – rain or shine – we’re open 365 days a year! Due to health department regulations, our production plant is not open to the public, except for tours during our annual festivals.
Is there a deposit for the glass milk bottles?
We charge a $2.00 refundable bottle deposit per glass bottle. This charge is added when you purchase the milk, so if you decide to give a bottle of milk as a gift or accidentally break the bottle, you do not need to let us know. YOU WILL RECEIVE A $2.00 CREDIT ON YOUR ACCOUNT WHEN THE BOTTLE IS WASHED AND RETURNED TO THE CREAMERY. Using glass is a great way to preserve our milk's natural taste. Reusing the bottles also goes hand-in-hand with our sustainability initiatives by preventing thousands of plastic and paper cartons from entering landfills.
Who do I contact if I have a problem?
Please contact our Customer Service department at (301) 371-8565, or email us and we'll assist you the best we can.
HOME DELIVERY SERVICE
What is the cost for home delivery?
We charge $4.99 per delivery in DC, which covers the expenses of a driver and truck coming right to your door. Besides this fee, the price per product is the same delivered to you as it is here at the farm. If we come to your house and are unable to leave the product due to no cooler or fridge access, we will still have to charge you for the delivery fee. This is why it is our driver's policy to leave a green bag and charge $5.00 should a cooler not be visible.
How often does my delivery come?
We deliver no more than once a week. For recurring orders, you have the option to have your products delivered weekly, every other week, or once per month.
What time of day should I expect my delivery?
Deliveries can occur as early as 7pm the evening before your scheduled delivery, and as late as 4p the day of your delivery. Since delivery routes can vary and delivery times are subject to change, be sure to leave your cooler out the night before by 7pm to ensure you receive your delivery. It is our driver's policy to call the home owner should a cooler not be visible.
What if I am not home when the delivery comes?
We only deliver to coolers outside your home or garage … just let us know where it is located! If you do not leave a cooler out, it is our driver's policy to leave a green bag with your order inside and charge $5.00 -- unless you have made prior arrangements. This helps to ensure the milk does not freeze and burst in the wintertime or spoil in the summertime. In the summer, you should place ice or ice packs in the cooler to ensure your product remains fresh and cold.
Why are there non-SMC Glass Bottles?
You may have noticed the names and logos of several different creameries on our milk bottles ... names like Heartland Creamery, Shenville Creamery, and Rocky Creek. We have purchased bottles from other creameries that are no longer in business for a lower cost than buying new! This falls in line with our Sustainability practices.
What if I do not want delivery this week?
After you log into your online account, click the “Skip Delivery” tab and enter your vacation date range. It is best to enter a date at least two days prior to your typical delivery day in case delivery routes change that week. Always check your shopping cart prior to logging out to ensure it was saved correctly. Email or call customer service at (301) 371-8565 if you need any assistance.
Are there any times that you do not deliver?
We do not deliver on most holidays. You will receive advance notice regarding any schedule changes due to a holiday. If you do not want a delivery during a holiday week, please log into your online account, click the “Skip Delivery” tab, and enter your vacation date range. We recommend entering a date at least two days prior to your usual delivery day, since schedules are subject to change. Please contact customer service should you have any questions.
How do I pay for my order?
As our preferred methods of payment, we accept Visa and MasterCard, American Express and Discover through our website. WWe also reserve the right to make price changes at anytime without notice.
What if I move?
If you are within our delivery area, we will gladly update your address and add you to a new route. Please contact our Customer Service representatives to update your address information, or complete our online form at least two weeks in advance to avoid missing your delivery.
ICE CREAM DELIVERY SERVICE
How do I get ice cream delivered?
An insulated cardboard box will be added to your delivery for an additional fee of $6.75.
Can I use the cardboard boxes for other products?
No, the cardboard box with dry ice is to be used for ice cream only.
Is there a fee for dry ice?
We charge a fee of $3.00 per delivery for dry ice.
How do I handle dry ice?
In a nutshell, you don’t! Dry ice can be very dangerous if handled incorrectly. Our supplier provides us with dry ice blocks placed inside sealed plastic pouches. Our drivers use protective gloves to place the dry ice pellet bag into your lockbox. Please leave the pouch in the lockbox for the driver to remove safely during your next delivery.
Can I order pints and 1.75 quarts?
Both our pint and 1.75 quart sizes are available for home delivery.
What is Carregeenan?
We have received some questions about an ingredient in our ice cream called Carrageenan, which is a natural carbohydrate extracted from red seaweed. It is referred to as a seaweed gelatin, much like agar agar. The name Carraigin means 'moss of the rock' in Irish. It grows abundantly along the rocky coasts of North America and Europe. In Ireland during the 1800's, Carrageenan was extracted from Irish Moss and used as a gelatin and thickener, as well as a home remedy. A tea made from Irish moss is widely used in Irish folk medicine as a trusted cure for coughs and colds.
How does home delivery work?
If you are interested in receiving our home delivery service, the process is very simple:
- Create an online account. Be sure to include an accurate email address and phone number. You will be charged a non-refundable $45 sign-up fee, $40 of which is credited back to your account at your first order ($5 reserved for an admin fee).
- We will process your information and set up your customer profile. During peak times, this may take up to four weeks or you may be placed on a waiting list, depending on our current routes and schedule. Typically this happens within a few days.
- Once we confirm that you fall into a delivery route, you will receive a call from our route specialist, followed by a confirmation e-mail listing your delivery day, start date, and any other important information.
- Your driver arrives with our delicious products at your door!
What is a recurring order?
A recurring order includes the products that you would like us to deliver every week, every other week, or once a month (your choice). Although a recurring order is not required, we do recommend it. The advantage is that your essentials will arrive as scheduled, even if you forget to place your order.
How do I make changes to my recurring order?
You can change your recurring order as often as you like, as long as it is before the cut off time. After you have selected an item, you have the choice to have the item delivered once, every week, every other week, or once per month. Please check your shopping cart prior to logging out to ensure your order is correct.
Do I need to enter my address and credit card information every time I order?
After entering your information the first time, it will be encrypted and saved. You can update your credit card information and billing address whenever you like by logging in to your account or calling customer service. You will be alerted if your credit card is declined.
What are the cutoff times for ordering?
Cutoff is 11:59 pm two days prior to your usual delivery day.
- No Monday deliveries
- Tuesday delivery day - - cutoff is Sunday by 11:59 pm
- Wednesday delivery day - - cutoff is Monday by 11:59 pm
- Thursday delivery day - - cutoff is Tuesday by 11:59 pm
- Friday delivery day - - cutoff is Wednesday by 11:59 pm
What are the delivery fee discounts?
Can I change my delivery address within my account profile?
In order to change your delivery address, you must email customer service or call (301) 371-8565. If possible, please give at least two weeks' advanced notice so we can assign your new route.
If you have any questions not covered, please don't hesitate to contact us.