Franklin County to get new organic creamery

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FARMINGTON — People lined up to get a generous scoop of homemade ice cream made from organic Maine milk and cream to top off a slice of blueberry pie or piece of cake at a potluck dessert at the Farmington Grange Hall on Tuesday.

The occasion was the annual meeting of the Franklin County Agriculture Task Force where about two dozen farmers, farming advocates and community members gathered to hear updates on innovative projects. These included a new commercial kitchen at the Grange; the agricultural education program at Foster Technology Center; wheat trials; and a new creamery.

The ice cream is being made from scratch in the creamery at a new farm store at Sandy River Farms on Farmington Falls Road in Farmington.

While an opening date for the new business has not been set, manager Trudy Johnson said the commercial kitchen has been inspected by the state, the coolers and a computerized register are being installed and last-minute details are being addressed.

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“I know people want to know when we are opening, but we will open the store once the dairy is up and going,” she said.

The creamery has a commercial milk bottling and ice cream producing operation, with the equipment purchased at a farm auction earlier this year.

The family venture also involves Johnson’s husband, Erik, and her parents, Brenda and Bussie York, who own Sandy River Farms, an organic dairy and crop farm at 580 Farmington Falls Road.

Trudy Johnson said the store will sell locally-made breads and baked goods; locally-raised beef, pork and chicken; frozen meals; organic milk; yogurt and a variety of soft spreadable cheeses that she plans to make on the premises.

“The goal of the store is to use all local products,” she said.

So far, it is the ice cream that is creating a sensation.

It is made with only a few ingredients: cream from Maine’s Own Organic Milk Co., or MOOMilk, a farmers’ cooperative; milk from the Yorks’ farm; flavorings such as local maple syrup and strawberries; and sugar.

“It tastes good, and is cold and solid,” said Bill Elderidge of MOOMilk, who is helping the Yorks get the ice cream operation off the ground.

The ice cream is being sold on weekends this fall through Sunday at the Yorks’ corn maze and pumpkin patch on Farmington Falls Road. Local stores are also interested in selling it once production kicks in.

Johnson said the family knew it was a hit when 160 gallons were gobbled up at the Common Ground Fair in Unity in September, and when a vendor took another 80 gallons to an agricultural-related event in Washington, D.C., where it got rave reviews.

Bussie York has said he hopes to be able to bottle his own organic milk on site and start up deliveries to local businesses and homes. For information, call 778-3835.

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