Middletown, Md/Chambersburg, Pa — South Mountain Creamery, a thriving family-owned farm and creamery in Middletown, MD known for its glass-bottled milk and home-delivery services, announced the acquisition of Trickling Springs Creamery in Chambersburg, PA. The acquisition of Trickling Springs Creamery and its processing plant, which closed its doors in September of 2019, will allow South Mountain Creamery to keep up with rapid growth when most of the country’s dairy farms are experiencing falling demand.
“When Trickling Springs closed, farmers had to scramble and find a new home for their milk,” said Tony Brusco, Owner, South Mountain Creamery. “We have the skillset to run a successful production plant and can use our experience and knowledge to help reopen the Trickling Springs Creamery plant. At the same time, we’re reaching capacity at our current plant in Middletown. Best of all, we’ll also be able to offer a truly local, grass-fed, organic bottled milk to our customers. It’s a win-win-win.”
Under the ownership of South Mountain Creamery, the business will be relaunched as Trickling Springs Organic, and the retail storefront will be known as The Market at Trickling Springs. Trickling Springs Organic will produce organic milk as well as South Mountain Creamery products–all of which will be available for purchase at The Market at Trickling Springs. The Market at Trickling Springs is expected to reopen in August 2020, and the plant, Trickling Springs Organic, will begin bottling operations in October 2020.
Moving Mountains in the Local Economy and in the Pennsylvania Dairy Industry
Plants like Trickling Springs Organic can make a significant difference for Pennsylvania farmers. Small farmers are often supported by local operations, such as Trickling Springs, and their sales, including both wholesale and retail. It’s an opportunity for local farmers to flourish again.
Pennsylvania is the seventh-largest producer of milk in the United States. In 2019, the average herd size in the United States was 273 cows; however, the average herd size of Pennsylvania farms is only 85 cows. Despite smaller herd sizes, Pennsylvania remains a top dairy producer in the nation given its abundance of small farm operations.
According to a recent article from Penn State News, “Demand for dairy products … has been increasing, even as fluid milk consumption has plunged. However, American dairy farmers have been pushing more milk on the market than needed. As a result, low milk prices in recent years have put many Pennsylvania dairy farms out of business.”
In addition, the plant and storefront will employ 25 to 30 people at opening and increase to about 50 over the next six months. Many of these positions will be filled by returning Trickling Springs employees in both the plant and The Market.
“We’re a family dairy farm, so we treat our employees like family. Full transparency, dedication to hard work, being bold in our decisions and actions,” adds Brusco. “That’s the culture we’re planning to establish here, too. Together, we’ve been able to move mountains in Middletown, and we expect to do the same thing in Chambersburg.”
What to Expect from the New Trickling Springs
Wholesale customers can expect a return of the high-quality organic milk, great service, and personal attention from the Trickling Springs Organic sales staff. While the Chambersburg community can look forward to The Market at Trickling Springs reopening with a new interior appearance. It will offer customers local fare like dairy products, produce, baked goods and a sandwich shop, with the addition of South Mountain Creamery products.
Since the spread of COVID-19, South Mountain Creamery has grown their home delivery service as the demand for local products and customers’ desire to know where their food comes from has increased.
“When buying food close to the source, you gain a deeper appreciation for how it’s made and produced,” said Brusco. “Buying your food straight from the source tastes better, is healthier, and doesn’t have to go through so many hands, which in today’s world, brings a lot of peace of mind.”
A Community of Support
Steve Christian, President, Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce said, “The Chamber is excited to welcome The Market at Trickling Springs to the Chambersburg area! We are delighted to have locally-sourced, organic and farm-fresh items offered once again at the previous location of Trickling Springs Creamery. Join us in celebrating the launch of this ice cream and lunch destination, sure to return as a community favorite.”
South Mountain Creamery started in 2001, and since then, has been family owned and operated. When the creamery began, the family sought stability for their farm and a predictable income which they could rely on. Now they’re providing that same opportunity to 150 produce and dairy family-owned farms like their own in Pennsylvania.
“Dairy farmers are sticking together. It’s an opportunity for us, for the community, and for these other farmers to get back to our roots. The previous owners of Trickling Springs built a solid brand backed by quality, organic products,” said Brusco. “We want to return to a sense of wholesomeness. When customers come into The Market, and when wholesalers work with our salespeople, they’ll see that and feel that.”
South Mountain Creamery is Maryland’s first on the farm dairy processing plant starting operation in 2001. They own and farm roughly 3,000 acres in Frederick County where they milk around 600 dairy cows including Holstein and Jersey breeds. The main farm milks the cows 50 feet from the processing plant where the milk is minimally processed and bottled or made into ice cream, yogurt, and butter. Milk can be in glass bottles ready for customers 12 hours after coming from the milking parlor. South Mountain Creamery welcomes the public to see their operation first hand with an open milking parlor and tours around the farm. This is an exciting time for the local dairy as it comes alongside more new ventures. South Mountain Creamery, though expanding, remains loyal to its mission of providing locally and sustainably sourced food to the community. The second generation, Tony & Abby (Sowers) Brusco and Ben & Kate Sowers, now own and run the operation, although you can often find three generations at work on the farm. Ben and Kate Sowers were also one of four couples in the country to be named National Outstanding Young Farmers for 2019. South Mountain Creamery provides a home delivery service consisting of an online farmers market that delivers to nearly 10,000 customers in a 35,000 square mile area stretching most of Maryland, DC, Northern Virginia, and parts of West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. You can also find South Mountain Creamery products in over 800 stores in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.