By: Beth Vollmer
South Mountain Creamery began when Randy and Karen Sowers began farming in 1981, by renting the land and taking out a loan to buy 100 cows. In 1987, they purchased the 100-acre farm and by 2001 they established their farm-dairy processing plant, the first in Maryland. Currently, the Sowers family owns and farms 2,200 acres, milks 550 head, raises over 100 beef cattle and 16,000 laying chickens. Three generations happily work on the farm and second-generation Tony & Abby (Sowers) Brusco and Ben & Kate Sowers run it. Tony married into the family and is the CEO. Abby and Ben are Randy and Karen’s kids and there are 6 third-generation kids always running around the farm.
It had been a long-time dream to have a farm and in 2000, a company out of Israel started to market a “mini” dairy package in the US. Included were a few recipes for fluid milk, flavored milk, farmers cheese, yogurt, sour cream plus training on how to use the equipment. South Mountain Creamery can deliver your milk right to your doorstep, just like the milkman from decades ago. Milk home delivery was slow starting out because they were returning a trend that had not been in the area for over forty years. Growth occurred from good timing and a great product.
Production consists of glass and plastic bottled milk, half and half, heavy cream, buttermilk, kefir, yogurt, butter, flavored butters, ice cream, egg nog, iced tea, and lemonade. The family enjoys hearing customers call their delivery drives “dairy fairies” and are amused when customers are out of milk and pour grocery store milk into their glass bottles to trick their kids, but the kids can tell a difference. Their delicious ice cream base took 7 years to create and is a combination of other popular recipes. Also working with over 150 local farmers and producers to deliver a “farmers market to your doorstep” experience makes South Mountain Creamery unique.
On site, is a dairy and ice cream shop. Their farm to table restaurant, Hometown Harvest Kitchen, featuring southern inspired comfort food is located in Frederick at 50 Citizens Way, suite 101 and is open Tuesday – Friday 11am – 9pm, Saturday & Sunday, 12pm – 8pm. Their reliable network of growers and farmers provide the produce and some of the meat, and their creamery provides the dairy and eggs. Featuring a new menu of fried pork chops, blackened cat fish, Salisbury steak and roasted chicken, along with daily chef specials are sure to hit the spot. From the restaurant, prepared meals of soups, salads, pot pies and side dishes are sold through their home delivery service.
Starting from a humble beginning, they learned and honed their craft, taking the time needed to perfect it. Tony said, “We strive to share our love of the family farm by creating a sustainable agriculture community while producing healthy great tasting food. At the end of the day, we are only success if we are meeting the needs of our customers.” The farm welcomes visitors to watch their cows be milked and encourages the public to help feed their calves every day at 4 pm. There are a limited number of bottles, so arrive up to 30 mins early on the weekends to ensure you get a bottle. Two calves are born every day and their herd staff names most, but getting the public involved to suggest names is exciting. A photo of a new baby is posted on their Facebook and Instagram page every Saturday and is open for naming suggestions. The name is picked in the middle of the week and featured on their social media pages that weekend. Unique names stand out or specific, special names for a certain calf. In the calf barn, each calf has their name on a clip board by their pen. Also on site is a playground, pavilion with picnic tables, giant chairs, and “old school” toys that have been given donated through the years.
The family loves what they do and thoroughly enjoys sharing their love of local food and agriculture to the community. The community has influenced some of the farming techniques such as using non-GMO seeds and pasture raising the cows. Their goal is building a place to be proud of and wants to share with friends, family, and out of town guests. Their success is a result of the support and loyalty of their customers. They are very grateful and fortunate for their continued support of the business and farm.
South Mountain Creamery participates in the Frederick County Hay Days Oct 19 & 20 inviting the public to see local farms up close and personal. During the holiday season, they work with a candy company from DC making unique, tasteful chocolates to sell. The last weekend in April is a large spring festival hay rides, face painting, live music, craft vendors, food, games, a farmer’s market, a petting zoo and tours. etc.
South Mountain Creamery also does tours and the family enjoys educating children about cows and making sure they understand chocolate milk does not come from the brown cows.
We do guided tours for field trips and camp groups. More information is available here:
They are located at 8305 Bolivar Rd in Middletown, Maryland and are open Monday – Thursday 10 am – 6 pm, Friday and Saturday 10 am – 7 pm and Sunday 10 am – 6 pm. Their phone number is 844-762-6455.