WILLIAMSPORT, Md. — “Selling milk in the open market for a small scale farm is tough,” said Brooks Long of Deliteful Dairy.
Long and his family celebrated the opening of his on-farm creamery on Aug. 8.
“If we hadn’t done this we wouldn’t be milking cows anymore,” he said. “When you have been here for 190 years, this was a matter of keeping the farm alive.”
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan was on hand for the ribbon cutting and not only presented a gubernatorial citation but enjoyed a tour of the creamery and sampled the flavored milks and cheese curds that they have for sale.
“This is so important,” Hogan said. “We are very excited for the family to be part of this official ribbon cutting. This is wonderful for the community and I hope everyone comes out to support them. We had a couple of great things happen in Washington County today and we are happy to be a part of this.”
Jeff Cline, president of the Washington County commissioners, was also on hand for the event.
“It is very important for the governor to recognize that a dairy farm, that has been here since before the Civil War, can open up another business and expand the dairy industry here in Washington County,” Cline said.
Long said he and his family were honored to have the governor join them at the event.
Long, his wife, Katie, and their two children have been working on opening the 5,240-square-foot creamery for the last two years and finally got all of their equipment and the building completely permitted this past June.
“We opened for business on June 19, which was Katie and I’s 15th wedding anniversary,” Long said. “We had all of our permits in order so we decided to do something special about it.”
The creamery started out selling only white and chocolate milk, along with beef, pork and eggs. It has since expanded to add more milk flavors, including strawberry, mocha and cookies and cream.
“We didn’t do any big grand opening ceremony and we held off as Katie had a goal of having Gov. Hogan here,” Long explained.
The month of July went well for the new creamery, with sales being better than the family had hoped for.
The Longs are still working on adding more products to the store. The plan is to offer skim milk, butter, drinkable yogurts and a variety of cheddar cheeses.
With 1,500 square feet of retail space, they are bringing in other local farms’ produce along with a local baker and crafts to help fill the space and provide additional offerings for their customers.
“The big thing is that here, you know where the products come from,” Long said. “At a grocery store, the milk will be fairly fresh and not from too far away, while on the meat side, it’s hard to say where that meat came from. The pork and beef we offer were raised right here on the farm.”
The Longs milk 65 Jersey cows on their farm. In July, the creamery processed a little over 1,400 gallons between milk and cheese. Long’s goal is to process over 1,000 gallons per month at the creamery, while the rest of the milk will be sold to the Maryland/Virginia Milk Producers.
While the fresh milk is going out the door and the cheddar cheese is aging, they offer a variety of cheese curds.
“It’s hard to find good cheese curds around here as it’s a Wisconsin thing,” Long said. “Once they try some of ours they fly out of here.”
The creamery currently has two full-time and four part-time employees, but even with extra help, it still takes a lot of work and time.
“Processing times are taking longer than we anticipated and they are in the processing room 10 to 12 hours a day on cheese days,” Long said. “We are processing four days a week most weeks.”
A good crowd was on hand for the ribbon cutting and grand opening to show support for the family and their new endeavor.
“It is a great day for the Williamsport community and for everyone who wants to prosper here in the county,” said Terry Baker, Washington County commissioner. “I wish them all the success. They have the drive and they have been here for five generations, so they will do well.”