Author Archives: Becca Tucker

‘Tis the Season for Local Christmas Trees

Mayne's Tree Farm

The days are getting cool, frost is on the ground and snow is in sight. It’s time to start thinking about Christmas time. As stores prepare for Black Friday, Frederick County Christmas tree farms are getting prepped for the opening of the most magical season of the year!

Consider supporting local by visiting one of six Frederick County farms that produce locally grown Christmas trees. Whether you seek a new adventure, want to continue a family tradition of selecting and sawing down the perfect tree or want the ease and convenience of purchasing one that is pre-cut, you don’t have to look very far to find the ideal fit for your home. Aside from cut-your-own trees, many of the farms offer pre-cut, ball and bundled trees, as well as fresh wreaths and décor. Decorating your house with a fresh-cut Christmas tree helps to support our local farms while filling your home with the smell of fresh pine and holiday spirit. Take a visit to one of the farms with your family and friends and enjoy a holiday season experience filled with hot apple cider and other holiday treats. Below is a list of the Frederick County farms opening its doors for the Christmas season:

Visit Homegrown Frederick to find more detailed information on each of the local tree farms. While you’re there, be sure to visit our find local products page to search for and learn where you can purchase all of your favorite local agricultural products for your holiday dinners and gifts this season.

November: Maryland Spirits Month

Stills

Did you know the month of November is Maryland Spirits Month? From a beautiful, picturesque visit to a farm distillery to some of Frederick City’s finest craft spirit establishments, Frederick County has a scene and/or craft spirit for you. You can find our listing for the eight distilleries that call the County home here.

Whether you want to gift local craft spirits, show them off at a gathering or share them among your holiday traditions, we are sure you can find something for all your holiday festivities right here in Frederick County. Keep reading to learn more about our local distilleries.

 

American Shochu Company

As the only shochu distillery in North America, Lynn and Taka Amano had a passion to bring awareness to Japanese culture through this spirit unique to Japan. They describe shochu as, “…an ultra smooth white whisky, softer and lighter.” They do not have a tasting room, at this time; however, their products can be found on their website and at local liquor stores.

Dragon Distillery

An ode to Dungeons and Dragons, sci-fi and the like, Dragon Distillery plays off its brand in all that they do. The uniqueness continues in the variety of spirits and canned cocktails they craft. Head to the distillery Thursday through Sunday and have your shot at axe throwing during your visit.

Fordham Lee

Best known for its aged bourbon cream-based liqueurs Cherry Charm, Blueberry Swirl and most recently Snickerdoodle, Fordham Lee has found its niche. Grab one or all of these from a local retailer or their online store as a treat to impress loved ones this holiday season!

McClintock Distilling Co.

As a tribute to the distillery’s namesake, locally renowned innovator McClintock Young, the foundation of McClintock Distilling is based on innovation, creativity and sustainability. The distillery has earned numerous awards for its high-quality spirits crafted from organic ingredients. Head over to the Back Bar and try one of their signature cocktails.

Puerto Rico Distillery

A father-daughter duo leads this veteran and woman-owned business that encompasses their Hispanic Heritage in all that they do. They specialize in Pitorro (also known as Puerto Rican moonshine), a clear distinctive flavored rum distilled from sugarcane byproducts. Visit their tasting room to try signature flavors blended by adding fresh or dried fruits and other flavors.

Rosie Cheeks Distillery

Frederick County’s newest distillery offers premium moonshine produced right there on their Iron Roses Farm in Walkersville. By visiting their on-farm tasting room, customers receive a unique experience with a lovely view and have the choice of seven signature flavors and a variety of seasonal flavors all made with locally sourced ingredients.

Springfield Manor Winery, Brewery and Distillery

The first on-farm distillery in the County, is named for the artisan springs and limestone terrain of the area. Picturesque mountains, woodlands and scenic vistas create gracefully refined and dignified spirits only a historic estate can offer. Visit this one stop shop for local wine, beer or spirits. Distinguished spirits are only available for purchase on-site.

Tenth Ward Distilling Company

Proud to be woman-owned, Tenth Ward specializes in a variety of year-round spirits and canned cocktails. The boss lady, the whiskey woman herself, Monica Pearce advocated for and helped paved the way for craft distilleries in Frederick County. Visit Tenth Ward’s Cocktail Lab to try a flight or hand-crafted cocktail and check out Whiskey Hall for your next event.

Julian Wilson: Top Young Ag Professional

Julian Wilson

Each year, the Frederick County Office of Economic Development (FCOED) partners with Frederick Magazine for Frederick’s Top 50 publication. The 2022 issue, released in January, features Frederick’s Top 50 Under 40. Homegrown Frederick wanted to take a similar approach and highlight the young entrepreneurs and leaders in the agriculture and craft beverage industries. The Homegrown Frederick magazine, released June 1, announces Frederick County’s Top Young Agricultural Professionals. Each week we will be highlighting these individuals so you can get to know them better.

Julian Wilson, 33, is co-owner of Elk Run Vineyards in Mount Airy. In 42 years of business, Elk Run Vineyards has grown to cultivate 30 acres of vines consisting of 10 grape varieties to produce 18 wines for their tasting room. Julian owns and operates the vineyard with his father, Fred. In the midst of harvest last year, an accident left his father, the primary winemaker, injured and hospitalized for months. Without guidance, Julian stepped up to lead the Elk Run Vineyards team to harvest the entire crop, crush the grapes and make the wine. Fred described this as an “extraordinary feat” and said, “As we of the older generation get older, he is a bright spot in the ever-challenging market. He will carry the winery through the tough times we now face.”

Julian has worked on the operation for 17 years and participates in all tasks at the vineyard. He is the primary vineyard manager, assistant winemaker, and works with sales and marketing. In the 2021 Maryland Governor’s Cup, Julian was extremely proud to receive gold for the winery’s 2019 Cabernet Franc. Elk Run’s greatest business accomplishment in Julian’s eyes is being open for so long and still making good wine. He says, “We strive for quality in our products and work toward that goal every day.” Julian is active in the Maryland Wineries Association and is president of the Frederick Wine Trail. Elk Run has also partnered with a number of charity organizations to help give back to the community. Most recently they partnered with The Foxie G Foundation, a horse rescue farm where a portion of the proceeds from specifically labeled bottles went directly to the foundation.

When asked who influences Julian most in his work, he replied, “My late mother, Carol Wilson is the biggest influence in my life. She put so much of herself and her love into our family vineyard. I’m honored to carry on her legacy.” Julian is excited to grow the family business and wants to keep it thriving. He credits his parents’ work ethic in creating their dream as his reasoning behind wanting to follow in their footsteps. Julian is responsible for helping Elk Run operate a successful business due to the work ethic that has been passed along to him. “To run a successful vineyard, you need to wear a lot of different hats and be up for any challenge,” he said.

We are proud to honor Julian as one of Frederick County’s Top Young Ag Professionals. It is safe to say the local agricultural industry has a bright future ahead with young leaders like him at the helm. Be sure to congratulate Julian on this well-deserved accolade!

As Julian wraps up our Top Young Ag Professional blogs, we encourage you to check out the others to learn a little bit about the heart and soul of young professionals within Frederick County’s agricultural community. The full list and links to their individual blogs can be found here.

Puerto Rico Distillery: Built on Hispanic Heritage

Puerto Rico Distillery

As we wrap up National Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 – Oct. 15), we are highlighting a business that encompasses Hispanic heritage in all that they do: Puerto Rico Distillery. October is also National Women’s Small Business Month, which is the perfect opportunity to highlight part-owner Crystal Rivera.

Just as the COVID-19 pandemic was beginning, Crystal and her parents were opening Puerto Rico Distillery on Hughes Ford Road in Frederick. The heart of the business is rooted in Puerto Rican culture and tradition. The foundation of their distillery is Pitorro or Puerto Rican moonshine. This clear rum, distilled from sugar cane byproducts, has a distinctive flavor that differs from other rums many are accustomed to. Base Pitorros are then blended and flavored by adding fresh or dried fruits and other flavors. Flavoring blends soak anywhere from days to weeks, months, or even years (for those extremely patient distillers.)  Similar to the popularity of home brewing in the U.S., making and blending Pittoro is common in Puerto Rico. Culturally, Pitorro is enjoyed straight, sipping while socializing. Around holidays like Christmas, friends and family gather and share their blends (hoping to be the favorite!)

Prior to owning the distillery, Crystal worked for the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s ProStart program. ProStart, which Crystal participated in as a student, is a high school culinary arts and restaurant management program. The experience and knowledge she gained from her time with ProStart prepared her to open her own business. Crystal Rivera Following Hurricane Maria, while living in Columbia, Maryland, Crystal and her parents’ dream to open a distillery true to their Puerto Rican roots began to blossom. While she loved her work with the non-profit, Crystal wanted something more for herself and to be more involved in her culture. While deciding on a location, they found themselves visiting Frederick often, loving the vibe and supportive community. They took a leap of faith, went with their gut, as Crystal said, and fortunately for us, chose Frederick as home!

“Everything Puerto Rico Distillery does is deliberate,” Crystal said.  Everything from their décor to the tank names help bring a slice of Puerto Rico to Frederick.  They stay true to their roots “Puerto Rican Born. Maryland Made” and are committed to sourcing products from both Puerto Rico and Maryland. They are passionate about staying true to their Hispanic heritage and being able to offer the Puerto Rican community this traditional spirit that many find nostaligic. Crystal is eager to educate the community about the culture and history of Pittoro.

Puerto Rico Distillery has made a valiant effort to give back through charitable donations. Tasting proceeds for the entire 2022 year have been devoted to La Goyco, specifically to La Casa de la Plena founded by their late dear friend Tito. La Goyco is a non-profit organization in Puerto Rico that supports artisans and traditions. They also operate a community center, provide refrigeration to the public for medications and necessities if they lose power, administer workshops and so much more.

Puerto Rico Distillery currently offers 10 flavors of their Clandestino Pitorro. The distillery’s permanent flavors include Traditional (a favorite and family recipe flavored with raisins, prunes and cranberries), Almond (using almond extract brown sugar and honey from the University of Maryland), Coconut, Pineapple and Coffee. Others available at this time include Coconut Chai (very popular, get yours while it lasts!), Kiwi, Passion Fruit and Tamarind. Visit Puerto Rico Distillery for products or check out other locations and ways to purchase on their website. Make sure to follow Puerto Rico Distillery’s Facebook and Instagram pages to keep up with their business!

For more ways to support local Hispanic-owned businesses and resources available to Hispanic entrepreneurs, visit the Frederick County Office of Economic Development’s blog on Hispanic Heritage month, linked here.

Today and every day we are thankful for the Hispanic heritage and culture in Frederick County’s vibrant community.

Cathleen Wastler: Top Young Ag Professional

Cathleen Wastler

Each year, the Frederick County Office of Economic Development (FCOED) partners with Frederick Magazine for Frederick’s Top 50 publication. The 2022 issue, released in January, features Frederick’s Top 50 Under 40. Homegrown Frederick wanted to take a similar approach and highlight the young entrepreneurs and leaders in the agriculture and craft beverage industries. The Homegrown Frederick magazine, released June 1, announces Frederick County’s Top Young Agricultural Professionals. Each week we will be highlighting these individuals so you can get to know them better.

Cathleen Wastler, 27, is an owner and operator of Tulip Pond Farm in Union Bridge and named one of Frederick County’s Top Young Ag Professionals. Cathleen grew up on her family’s dairy operation, instilling a passion for agriculture at a young age. In 2016, Cathleen received a bachelor’s degree in Accounting with a concentration in Business Finance. She held internships with an accounting firm in Frederick and then an insurance company in Libertytown, all while working on her family’s farm full-time. During her internship experiences, she decided her heart was at home. In 2018, she became a partner with her parents on Tulip Pond Farm.

Tulip Pond Farm is dairy, crop and beef operation. Cathleen and her family milk approximately 170 cows with 162 replacement heifers, have a beef herd of about 45 head and farm around 800 acres of cropland. Her days begin at 4am milking the cows with her mother. Cathleen can also be found scraping the barn, and bedding and feeding the heifers. In the spring, Cathleen spends much of her time in the field planting corn and soybeans for the farm. She tells us, “I even bought my own tractor and steering system to make things more efficient for our operation.” When it comes to making hay, Cathleen is heavily involved, operating the mower, rake or baler. Like most farms, harvest in the fall is a busy time for Tulip Pond Farm. Cathleen can be found in the combine harvesting the corn and beans or planting cover crops during this time. She is especially proud that Tulip Pond Farm has been able to accomplish cover cropping every acre they farm. They are devoted to being stewards of the land protecting the soil and helping mitigate runoff to the Chesapeake Bay. On top of her farm duties, Cathleen also helps her mother with the books and her father stay compliant with their nutrient management plan, as well as Farm Service Agency and Soil Conservation programming.

Cathleen is currently serving on the leadership council for Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative, the member-owned cooperative they market their milk through. She also cares deeply for the agriculture community, advocates for the industry, and helps the next generation get involved. Cathleen enjoys working with youth interested in agriculture.

When it comes to who has influenced Cathleen the most in her work, she said, “My grandfather because he is 85 and still plants corn and makes hay. My husband influences me to work more efficiently on the farm. My parents influence me because they have worked so hard for what they have accomplished.” She also credits her parents for her work ethic which she attributes most to her success on the farm. “I was always taught to work for what you want,” she said.

We are proud to honor Cathleen as one of Frederick County’s Top Young Ag Professionals. The full list can be found here. It is safe to say the local agricultural industry has a bright future ahead with young leaders like her at the helm. Be sure to congratulate Cathleen on this well-deserved accolade!

Andrew Toms: Top Young Ag Professional

Andrew Toms

Each year, the Frederick County Office of Economic Development (FCOED) partners with Frederick Magazine for Frederick’s Top 50 publication. The 2022 issue, released in January, features Frederick’s Top 50 Under 40. Homegrown Frederick wanted to take a similar approach and highlight the young entrepreneurs and leaders in the agriculture and craft beverage industries. The Homegrown Frederick magazine, released June 1, announces Frederick County’s Top Young Agricultural Professionals. Each week we will be highlighting these individuals so you can get to know them better.

Andrew Toms, 37, owner and operator of Monocacy Farms, Inc. is named one of Frederick County’s Top Young Ag Professionals. Andrew is a fifth-generation dairy and crop farmer in Walkersville. His passion began as a child, helping on his family farm raking hay. At the age of 15, Andrew rented his first farm to raise heifers and began dairy farming three years later. Now, Monocacy Farms, Inc operates a 150-head dairy cow operation with 340 acres of corn, soybeans, wheat and barley. Andrew continues to diversify the enterprise by bringing in other sources of revenue. Monocacy Farms provides custom farming and trucking services to others in the community and has also begun selling fresh produce and eggs. Andrew operates Monocacy Farms with his father and two other employees. He is active in the day-to-day operations including fieldwork, financial record keeping and general farmstead maintenance.

Andrew is involved with a number of community organizations. He currently serves on the Frederick County Agricultural Preservation Advisory Board and is a member of the Frederick County Farm Bureau. He has served on the Frederick County Agricultural Reconciliation Committee and was the ag member on the Business and Industry Cabinet. Recently, Andrew graduated cum laude from the University of Baltimore School of Law with a Juris Doctorate. He is especially proud of this accomplishment and intends to provide legal services to the local ag community.

Andrew believes his greatest farming accomplishment is his perseverance in the industry. “It is tough to get started in agriculture because most young and/or beginning farmers do not have the capital and other resources. Farming can be difficult- economically, spiritually and mentally,” he says.

We are proud to honor Andrew as one of Frederick County’s Top Young Ag Professionals. The full list can be found here. It is safe to say the local agricultural industry has a bright future ahead with young leaders like him at the helm. Be sure to congratulate Andrew on this well-deserved accolade!

Allison Stewart: Top Young Ag Professional

Allison Stewart

Each year, the Frederick County Office of Economic Development (FCOED) partners with Frederick Magazine for Frederick’s Top 50 publication. The 2022 issue, released in January, features Frederick’s Top 50 Under 40. Homegrown Frederick wanted to take a similar approach and highlight the young entrepreneurs and leaders in the agriculture and craft beverage industries. The Homegrown Frederick magazine, released June 1, announces Frederick County’s Top Young Agricultural Professionals. Each week we will be highlighting these individuals so you can get to know them better.

Allison Stewart, 31, owner and operator of Deer Run Farm in Emmitsburg, is named one of Frederick County’s Top Young Ag Professionals. Deer Run Farm is a Red Angus beef, Berkshire pork, and Heritage chicken operation that has been in the Stewart family since 1996. In 2014, Allison met Josh Stewart, her now husband, and began helping on the farm. She dove right into the family business introducing retail beef sales, establishing the chicken hatchery and expanding the operation to include pork sales. Allison recently helped Deer Run Farm secure funding for a no-till grain drill through the Frederick County Agricultural Innovation Grant. With the purchase of this drill, Deer Run Farm can be converted to a no-till operation to better protect and conserve the soil, the Chesapeake Bay and other natural resources. With this, they have also created an opportunity for other farmers to rent the drill and do the same.

Allison is extremely proud of the success of the chicken hatchery. Deer Run Farm is the only hatchery in the United States to regularly test and maintain a disease-free poultry operation. She has expanded the business over the past five years to include shipping hatching eggs, day-old chicks and started birds nationwide. Allison’s greatest business accomplishment is the growth of the hatchery. She has helped the hatchery expand from hatching 3,000 chicks in its first year, to over 10,000 chicks hatched in a year. She says, “Having grown our customer base to support that kind of growth has been humbling.”

Recently Allison was named one of the Top 10 Farmers on the Rise by Mid-Atlantic Farm Credit. She is an active board member of the Frederick Farmer’s Cooperative, secretary for the Mid-Atlantic Red Angus Association, and a member of numerous other regional and national organizations. She says her father has influenced her most in her work with his saying “No matter what you do, do it with all your heart.” She said, “It’s something I always consider no matter what I am doing because you never know who’s watching.”

We are proud to honor Allison as one of Frederick County’s Top Young Ag Professionals. The full list can be found here. It is safe to say the local agricultural industry has a bright future ahead with young leaders like her at the helm. Be sure to congratulate Allison on this well-deserved accolade!

2022 Farm Family, Ag Business, Ag Advocate and Young Farmer of the Year

Glade Haven Farm

Glade Haven Farms is a diversified dairy, crop and custom harvesting operation located in Walkersville. The farm is owned and operated by father/son duo David and Josh Roderick along with their families and employees.

The farm was purchased in 1965 by David’s parents, Harold and Madeline Roderick, who started the dairy operation on the 275-acre homestead. David became a partner in the family business 15 years later. Josh cultivated a passion for equipment operation and mechanics at a young age. He rode alongside his father until he was able to drive a tractor by himself, and in 2000 joined his father as a partner on the farm.

The father and son farm, approximately 1,250 acres (375 of which is owned), thrives growing corn, soybeans, alfalfa, rye, and mixed hay for feed for their animals as well as cash crops for another source of income. The family milks just under 300 Holstein and Jersey dairy cows with their milk being shipped through Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association. To further diversify their farm operation they added a custom harvesting business providing services to other farmers in the community.

Also involved in this family operation are David’s daughter, Jichaela Cushall and son in law Nick, Kelcie Degenfelder, 8 full time employees, including Devin Green, Tommy Garst. David has four other children Jacquelyn, Jessica, Johanna and Julie who all have some involvement in the industry. David’s greatest joy is watching his grandchildren grow up on the farm.

Ag Business of The Year: Shuff’s Meat Market

Shuff’s Meat Market in Thurmont, currently owned by Robin Shuff, began in the early 1950’s by her father, Harry William Shuff Sr. Throughout the winters during Shuff’s Meats early stages, Mr. Shuff would travel around to local farms and slaughter on site in the farmer’s barn. He and his wife, Betty Jane opened the market, which is now operated by their daughter, Robin. In 1984 Mr. Shuff was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and succumbed to the terrible disease the next year following a short battle. Robin joined the business with her mother in 1996 and has been managing Shuff’s Meat Market ever since.

Robin described Shuff’s Meat Market as a family. She is grateful for the 12 employees that keep the business running smoothly. George Bowman is her partner and the vice president helping her to manage day-to-day operations. Pointing out that processing meat is not for the faint of heart, and Robin gives credit to the men doing the most laborious and crucial tasks including Brandon Beechum, Kyle Roberts and Ross Strayer. Shuff’s Meat Market is open to the public for retail sales Thursday-Saturday. The other days of the week staff work diligently to process the animals and meats. Currently they slaughter about 10-12 beef Monday and Thursday and 30 hogs on Tuesday.

Ag Advocate of the Year: Dr. Ray Edigar

Dr. Ray Edigar brings lifelong devotion to agriculture. He graduated from Washington State University in 1961 with a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine. Over the years, he has dedicated countless hours to mentoring the development of agriculture in our youth specifically through the 4-H and FFA programs. It is his joy to work with the respectful, responsible young people he has the pleasure of mentoring. He is a strong advocate for encouraging the next generation to obtain a career in agriculture.

Dr. Edigar has been an active member and has held numerous leadership positions within the Frederick County Farm Bureau and Frederick Soil Conservation District. The accolades he has received are endless but include the 2012 Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award through the Maryland Veterinary Medical Association for outstanding leadership and service, the 2006 Maryland Most Beautiful People Award for outstanding volunteer work in the community, 4-H, church and other organizations, and University of Maryland Extension recognized Dr. Edigar for his service to Extension. Frederick County has been fortunate to have Dr. Edigar as an agricultural advocate, educator and mentor throughout the years.

Young Farmer of the Year: Ben and Kate Sowers

Our Young Farmers of the year are the second-generation, owners of South Mountain Creamery Ben and Kate Sowers. In 2001, South Mountain Creamery in Middletown became Maryland’s first on-farm milk processing facility when Randy and Karen Sowers diversified their dairy farm operation establishing a niche market to begin on-farm milk processing and delivery. Today, South Mountain Creamery has become one of the most well-known dairy farms operations in the DMV.

Ben and Kate became part owners of South Mountain Creamery in 2017. The pair own and operate the business with Ben’s sister Abby and her husband Tony. Over the years, the operation has expanded significantly. Ben and Kate currently manage 3000 acres of cropland, milk approximately 500 Holstein and Jersey dairy cows, raise a herd of 150 head of beef cattle and a flock of 17,000 laying hens. South Mountain Creamery operates two processing facilities, one on the home farm in Middletown, the other in Chambersburg, PA.  They also have a downtown Frederick Ice Cream and newly added Pizza shop! Between all locations, South Mountain Creamery employs roughly 165 individuals. While the owners collaborate within all aspects of the business, each member has specific areas of focus.

The Great Frederick Fair 2022

Wineries Breweries Distilleries Showcase

Looking to check out the best in Frederick County Agriculture? Then you don’t want to miss out on the 2022 Great Frederick Fair, September 16-24. From prize winning livestock, food, education and rides the fair has it all.

Don’t miss the Homegrown Frederick Wineries, Breweries & Distilleries Showcase located in Building 13. The showcase brings together the best in Frederick County craft beverage products to taste and purchase.

Hours:

  • First Friday 5PM–10pm
  • Saturday & Sunday 12PM–10pm
  • Monday–Friday 2PM–10pm

Participants:

  • Dragon Distillery
  • Fordham Lee Distillery
  • Idiom Brewing Co
  • Linganore Winecellars
  • McClintock Distilling
  • Monocacy Brewing Co/Brewers Alley
  • Olde Mother Brewing
  • Orchid Cellar Meadery and Winery
  • Puerto Rico Distillery
  • Rosie Cheeks Distillery
  • Smoketown Brewing Station
  • Tenth Ward Distilling Company

Meet local farmers and learn about their businesses and the products they sell at the Taste of Homegrown Frederick Booth in the City Streets Country Roads (Building 44).

Participants:

  • Sunday, Sept. 18 3-5pm- South Mountain Creamery
  • Monday, Sept. 19 6-8 pm- Valley Homemade and Homegrown
  • Tuesday, Sept. 20 6-8pm- Chestnut Hill Farm and Market
  • Wednesday, Sept. 21 6-8 pm- Clark Family Farms Fiber
  • Thursday, Sept. 22 6-8pm- Moo Cow Creamery
  • Friday, Sept. 23 6-8pm- Fox Haven Farm
  • Saturday, Sept. 24 3-5pm- Lilypons Water Gardens

On Friday September 16 at 7PM, help us recognize local farmers for their outstanding achievements in agriculture at the Agricultural Awards Ceremony.  Awards will be given to Farm Family, Agri-Business, Ag-Advocate and Young Farmer of the Year and Frederick County’s Top Young Ag Professional​s.  The ceremony will take place in Bldg. 32 – South Mt. Creamery Large Arena.

Kate Sowers: Top Young Ag Professional

Kate Sowers

Each year, the Frederick County Office of Economic Development (FCOED) partners with Frederick Magazine for Frederick’s Top 50 publication. The 2022 issue, released in January, features Frederick’s Top 50 Under 40. Homegrown Frederick wanted to take a similar approach and highlight the young entrepreneurs and leaders in the agriculture and craft beverage industries. The Homegrown Frederick magazine, released June 1, announces Frederick County’s Top Young Agricultural Professionals. Each week we will be highlighting these individuals so you can get to know them better.

Kate Sowers, 37, is a part owner of South Mountain Creamery and is named one of Frederick County’s Top Young Ag Professionals. Her experience in agriculture began at a young age in her local 4-H program. She was involved in a number of 4-H projects where her love for the industry began. In 2003, she married Ben Sowers, son of South Mountain Creamery founders, Randy and Karen Sowers. Since joining the family, Kate has continued to expand her involvement in the business. Now, as a part owner, Kate is responsible for managing the chicken house as well as bookkeeping for the enterprise. Aside from that, she is a mother of four and can often be found on the farm lending a hand to the staff wherever needed.

South Mountain Creamery is a diversified dairy farm operation that became the first on-farm dairy processing facility in the state of Maryland and today is one of the most recognized farms in the DMV, delivering products to approximately 10,000 customers. Kate owns the business with her husband, Ben, and Ben’s sister Abby Brusco and her husband Tony. They currently operate 3000 acres of cropland, milk approximately 500 Holstein and Jersey dairy cows, raise a herd of 150 head of beef cattle and a flock of 17,000 laying hens. South Mountain Creamery has two processing facilities, one on the home farm in Middletown, the other in Chambersburg, PA and a Downtown Frederick Ice Cream and newly added Pizza shop! Between all locations, South Mountain Creamery employs roughly 165 individuals.

Kate signifies South Mountain Creamery’s greatest business accomplishment as a successful purchase and transition from the previous generation to the next. She is also extremely proud of the expansions they have been able to accomplish under their ownership including the purchase of Trickling Springs Creamery, their processing facility in Chambersburg. Recently, during an awards ceremony at The Great Frederick Fair, Kate and her husband were recognized as Frederick County’s 2022 Young Farmers of the Year. The pair also received national recognition by being honored with the 2019 National Outstanding Young Farmer award given to those young farmers with outstanding achievements in agriculture and community involvement. Kate and her husband are active members of the community. Each year Kate donates to the Patty Pollatos Fund which raises money for local cancer victims. During Thanksgiving, she and her husband donate turkeys to the local elementary schools where they are then given to needy families.

The trait Kate most attributes to their success is, “Our willingness to push the envelope. If we don’t try, we’ll never know what we could do.” In her approach to work, she has been most influenced by her husband and mother. “They both work hard and do the job 110%,” she said.

We are proud to honor Kate as one of Frederick County’s Top Young Ag Professionals. The full list can be found here. It is safe to say the local agricultural industry has a bright future ahead with young leaders like her at the helm. Be sure to congratulate Kate on this well-deserved accolade!