The Sweet Side of the Dairy Business
The dairy business is a tough one these days and many dairy farmers are looking for ways to keep their operations viable. For Chuck and Paula Fry, owners of Rocky Point Dairy in Tuscarora, Maryland, that includes adding an ice cream parlor to their 200 milking cows and 1,500 acres of corn, soybeans, and cover crops.
So what made Chuck and Paula decide to open an ice cream parlor, you ask? They were first intrigued by the idea during a Farm Bureau convention when a speaker mentioned a parlor operation as an additional revenue source for dairy farms. After this suggestion, they did further research on costs, potential revenue, and the nuts and bolts of making and selling ice cream.
Together they attended the National Ice Cream Retailers Association conference and visited many on-farm creameries in the region to help kick start their business idea. The Fry’s moved quickly with a soft opening of their Rocky Point Creamery in November 2011, just about a year after the idea originated. By the time the creamery had its official grand opening in March 2012, it had already become a favorite destination for their neighbors. Like most businesses, the creamery started off slow, but recently dipped 3,000 cones in a single week.
The creamery includes the ice cream making facility and freezers, parlor, a separate party room available for rent, a long porch for customers to sit, and a drive through window for those in a hurry.
Rocky Point Creamery is surely a family business where Chuck and Paula work with their children and grandchildren to make 20 different flavors of ice cream twice a week. Besides the usual scoops on cones and cups, they also use their ice cream to make soft-serve, milkshakes, pies, cakes and more.
While creating a new source of income was a reason for their new business venture, Chuck and Paul said there is another equally important reason – selling agriculture. Chuck says that since people are so removed from the source of their food, it is important to educate them about agriculture, including dairy farming.