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Where to get homemade ice cream in Maryland? State’s Ice Cream Trail includes 10 creameries from Washington to Worcester counties.

The 10-stop Maryland Ice Cream Trail, designed to promote the state’s dairy industry, officially opened on Friday.

The annual summer promotion was launched eight years ago by the Maryland Department of Agriculture, and from a marketing perspective, the initiative works quite well, said John Fendrick, who owns Woodbourne Creamery at Rock Hill Orchard near Mount Airy.

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The Ice Cream Trail gets a lot of people coming from across the state to their creamery, he said.

“They use it as an excuse to take day trips across the state and get ice cream,” Fendrick said. “We’ve seen a few people who get to every creamery over two days.”

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The Ice Cream Trail officially launched July 10 and will run through Sept. 26; visitors who take a photo or selfie at all 10 sites are eligible to win prizes from the state’s Ag Department. It stretches nearly 300 miles from Washington County in Western Maryland to Worcester County on the Eastern Shore and includes creameries across the state that produce and sell their ice cream directly to consumers.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to showcase local dairy farms that produce their own ice cream,” said Kate Dallam, one of the owners of Broom’s Bloom Dairy in Bel Air. “That’s so important now, especially in today’s climate, to support local farms and dairies.”

There are approximately 400 dairy farms in Maryland, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2017 Census of Agriculture, which accounted for more than $174 million in annual sales that year.

“The Maryland’s Best Ice Cream Trail is a great way to promote the hard work of our dairy farmers while encouraging families to get a first-hand look at the farms that produce our food and fiber while keeping in mind social distancing and best practices to mitigate COVID-19,” Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder said in a prepared release.

Previously, the Ag Department issued printed “passports” for visitors to get stamped at participating farms and creameries in order to be eligible for prizes. This year, in order to limit person-to-person contact because of the coronavirus pandemic, participants are asked to snap a photo or a selfie at each creamery, then submit them via email along with their name and contact information to icecream.trail1@maryland.gov.

All completed email submissions will receive a “2020 Maryland’s Best Ice Cream Trailblazer” certificate, and one winner will receive a $50 gift certificate to the creamery of their choice and DVD copies of the MPT original series, “Maryland Farm & Harvest.”

Participants are encouraged to share their progress on social media using #MDIceCreamTrail, although that does not enter them in the contest.

COVID-19 has caused some changes to what customers might typically expect when visiting a creamery. For example, don't plan to get an ice cream cone at Woodbourne.

"We are serving ice cream in cups because we need to minimize hand-to-hand contact," Fendrick said. "We take orders, then bring them out to people. No one actually comes in to our store. We just put it on a tray, put it on a table and people take it away. It seems to be working very well."

While ice cream sales took a big dip in March and early spring as the pandemic took hold in Maryland, "right now, our sales are actually up," Pendrick said.

“I think it’s because it’s local and people are looking for local and looking for a place to go and farms are one of the things that’s open.”

Dallam agreed, stating that Broom’s Bloom has received quite a bit of community support since the pandemic began.

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“This whole situation has made people appreciate their local resources, local small businesses and really step up to the plate and help them out,” she said.

It also helps that many of the creameries, like Broom’s Bloom, are on farms, allowing people to safely gather apart outdoors and enjoy a cold treat, Dallam said.

“We have a lot of fresh air, sunshine and space for people to sit so it’s a great summer to check out all the local dairy farms on the Ice Cream Trail.”

Creameries that are a part of the Ice Cream Trail include:

Central Maryland

Broom’s Bloom Dairy

1700 South Fountain Green Road, Bel Air

Keyes Creamery

3712 Aldino Road, Aberdeen

Prigel Family Creamery

4852 Long Green Road, Glen Arm

Eastern Shore

Chesapeake Bay Farms

4111 Whitesburg Road, Pocomoke

Kilby Cream

129 Strohmaier Lane, Rising Sun

Nice Farms Creamery

25786 Auction Road, Federalsburg

Western Maryland

Misty Meadow Farm Creamery

14325 Misty Meadow Road, Smithsburg

Rocky Point Creamery

4323 Tuscarora Road, Tuscarora

South Mountain Creamery

8305 Bolivar Road, Middletown

Woodbourne Creamery at Rock Hill Orchard

28600 Ridge Road, Mount Airy

Visitors should check with creameries before going. Many have adjusted hours or policies due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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