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South Mountain Creamery

picture of a cow inspecting the camera. (not a South Mountain Cow)
Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann / Unsplash

This is the first in a series of articles highlighting local businesses that I use personally. These are not paid advertisements, and I do not expect any kind of compensation from these highlighted businesses. I just want to share these companies with my subscribers because I think they are great companies with excellent products. I am a free market libertarian philosophically, and while I appreciate access to a global economy, I also think globalization for globalization sake is leading to weaker supply chains. This series is intended to highlight businesses which are working with other local businesses to strengthen our own community and improve availability of quality goods and services in the area in spite of current global supply chain strain.

South Mountain Creamery is a farm, creamery, home delivery service, and wholesaler that is proudly farmer operated and family owned.

We started ordering milk for home delivery from South Mountain in April of 2019. I make kefir, and they offer glass bottled milk from grass fed cows which is pasteurized at temperatures low enough to preserve the integrity of the milk afterwards. Grass fed cows produce higher quality meat and dairy products over what you typically see in the grocery store these days from large companies using "factory farm" practices. This is the result of better dietary choices and lower stress living conditions. The pasteurization temperature is important too when making kefir or yogurt as the milk which has been "Ultra High Temperature" pasteurized is no good for these projects. It's also possible this milk could be easier to digest. Not only is the product of these cows of higher nutritional value, I think it translates to a better tasting milk as well.

The glass bottles are reusable and much less wasteful than the plastic bottles or cardboard jugs milk is typically sold in at the grocery store. We buy "cream top" un-homogenized milk which will allow solid cream to settle at the top of the jug after a few days. I sometimes use this to make butter or in some recipes in place of heavy cream. Usually I end up just mixing it back in these days because we've started to include heavy cream and butter in our order regularly as well, but I really enjoy the less processed milk.

During the height of the pandemic when people were limiting their travels to "essential" places such as the grocery store, we were largely able to avoid the crowds, and we never had to feel any stress about food availability. We didn't really have to change much in our weekly routine at all with regard to shopping. This was in large part due to the fact that South Mountain never missed a beat. There were some protocol changes that were made fairly early on such as switching from reusable grocery bags to disposable cardboard boxes to prevent cross contamination, but they were out here every week delivering milk, produce, breads, meats, and even entire prepared meals. They increased the variety of products they carried, and they adjusted their delivery schedules to accommodate what I have to imagine was a decent boost in new customers. They were communicative throughout, and we never had a point where the groceries weren't there when they were expected to be.

According to their website, they've been in business for 20 years. With how they responded during the Pandemic, I hope they are around for at least another 20. They invite everyone to visit the farm to see how things are run, and while we have not yet had the chance to do that we hope to do so soon. The delivery truck is painted up to look like a cow, and they usually are able to deliver the weekly grocery haul without even disturbing the overly anxious Akita who is always waiting in our foyer for people to come up on the porch. They work with other local farms to provide a full assortment of food items which can (and has for us) completely replace weekly trips to the grocery store for a good many people.

While reading over the non store portion of their site for this article, I found a post which states that they have a new ice cream shop in Frederick, MD. For any readers in the area, this is definitely worth checking out. They also host events at the farm, but as of now it looks like that's coordinated through Facebook. They are also selling turkeys for thanksgiving this year for around $4/lb but this is a limited time deal so if you aren't already a customer think about signing up and giving them a try. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

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Jamie Larson
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