Fran­chot visits cream­ery in Fed­er­als­burg

Times-Record - - Front Page - By ABBY AN­DREWS aan­drews@car­o­line­times­record.com

FED­ER­ALS­BURG — Comptroller Peter Fran­chot vis­ited Nice Farms Cream­ery on Mon­day, July 17, to present its own­ers with the Bright Lights Award.

The new award, rec­og­niz­ing and cel­e­brat­ing in­no­va­tion in the pri­vate and non­profit sec­tors that strengthen Mary­land’s econ­omy, gen­er­ate jobs and tax rev­enue and de­velop new ideas, will be pre­sented over the course of the year to one re­cip­i­ent in each of Mary­land’s 23 coun­ties and in Bal­ti­more City.

Nice Farms Cream­ery, a 201-acre dairy farm on Auc­tion Road out­side Fed­er­als­burg, was cho­sen as this year’s Caro­line County win­ner.

“My hat is off to all in­volved,” Fran­chot said, pre­sent­ing one of his comptroller’s coins to owner Bob Miller. “With hard work and risk, you’re do­ing some­thing spe­cial.”

The fam­ily-owned and -op­er­ated cream­ery was founded in 2009, but the dairy farm has been in the fam­ily since 1989, when Miller’s par­ents, al­ready dairy farm­ers in New Jer­sey, moved to the East­ern Shore to start a graz­ing op­er­a­tion.

To­day, the creamer y pro­duces high-qual­ity milk, ice cream, but­ter and yo­gurt with the milk from its herd of ex­clu­sively grass-fed cows, which it sells di­rectly to cus­tomers at the farm and at mul­ti­ple area farm­ers’ mar­kets, and through small lo­cal stores.

Since 2010, the cream­ery has sup­plied whole and skim milk to Sal­is­bury-based Rise Up Cof­fee to use at its shops in Sal­is­bury, St. Michaels and Eas­ton. Dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son, the cof­fee shops also sell egg nog pro­duced by Nice Farms.

Fran­chot specif­i­cally rec­og­nized that part­ner­ship with Rise Up Cof­fee.

“We need more farms like this, com­ing up with in­no­va­tive part­ner­ships,” Fran­chot said.

The Bright Lights Award rec­og­nizes risk-tak­ing in the pri­vate sec­tor, Fran­chot said.

“There are tens of thou­sands of en­trepreneurs just like Bob across the state, with all kinds of great ideas,” Fran­chot said. “Con­grats on tak­ing the risk, and all the re­wards from your hours of hard work.”

Mary­land Sec­re­tary of Agri­cul­ture Joe Barten­felder said the dairy in­dus­try as a whole is strug­gling, not just in Mary­land, but na­tion­wide.

“The old way of do­ing it just isn’t do­ing it,” Barten­felder said.

Barten­felder said Nice Farms Cream­ery was the first of­fi­cial farm to reg­is­ter in the Mary­land’s Best Home­grown by Heroes pro­gram, rec­og­niz­ing mil­i­tary vet­eran-run farms; Miller was a cap­tain in the U.S. Army be­fore re­turn­ing home to his fam­ily’s farm.

The Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture also lauded the cream­ery’s part­ner­ship with Rise Up Cof­fee, Barten­felder said.

“It’s an im­por­tant in­gre­di­ent, to find a part­ner like Rise Up, to push Mary­land’s best fresh, lo­cal prod­ucts,” Barten­felder said.

Miller said putting his cream­ery’s prod­ucts in Rise Up’s cof­fee shops has brought them to many cus­tomers who oth­er­wise would not be aware of them.

“I can’t say enough about (owner) Tim (Cure­ton) and (busi­ness part­ner) Noah (Ke­g­ley),” Miller said.

Miller and his fam­ily were praised by sev­eral more lo­cal and state elected of­fi­cials dur­ing Fran­chot’s visit.

“Un­less you’ve been in busi­ness for your­self, you don’t un­der­stand the risk in­volved,” said State Sen. Stephen Her­shey, R-36. “This is a great suc­cess story here in Caro­line County.”

State Sen. Ad­die Eckardt, R-37, said the cream­ery rep­re­sents all the “good F words”: Faith, fam­ily, farm and fresh, good prod­ucts.

“It’s the cre­ative re­la­tion­ships that will sus­tain you,” Eckardt said.

Caro­line County Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent Dan Franklin said the cream­ery is one more item on a long list of things that make Caro­line the best county to live in.

“Your risk has been our re­ward,” Franklin said.

Fed­er­als­burg Mayor Chuck Plan­ner said he re­mem­bered when Miller was just be­gin­ning the process to open the cream­ery.

“It’s been a long haul,” Plan­ner said.

Caro­line County Reg­is­ter of Wills Jim Phelps said he got to try the cream­ery’s ice cream re­cently at the Tuck­a­hoe Steam and Gas Show.

“There’s a lot of work that goes into this,” Phelps said. “Thank you for be­ing here and mak­ing us shine.”

Miller said his farm keeps a small herd — about 40 cows pro­duce milk — be­cause the an­i­mals only eat grass.

“We are mar­ket­ing a very spe­cial milk,” Miller said.

The milk pro­duced by grass-fed cows is higher in nu­tri­ents, Miller said, in­clud­ing Omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to lower risk of stroke, heart dis­ease and Type 2 di­a­betes.

Miller said the most im­por­tant key to his fam­ily dairy farm’s suc­cess is the cus­tomers.

“We need peo­ple to con­sis­tently sup­port us,” Miller said.

For more in­for­ma­tion on where to buy Nice Farms Cream­ery’s prod­ucts, visit www.nice­farmsmd. com.

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

Comptroller Peter Fran­chot, left, presents the Bright Light award to Bob Miller, owner of Nice Farms Cream­ery near Fed­er­als­burg dur­ing the comptroller’s visit Mon­day, July 17.

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

Comptroller Peter Fran­chot, right, presents the Bright Light award to Bob Miller, owner of Nice Farms Cream­ery near Fed­er­als­burg dur­ing the comptroller’s visit Mon­day, July 17.

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