SCOOPED

Agriculture secretary spotlights agriculture, economic & tourism efforts during Montgomery County visit.

Pennsylvania’s 2024 Ice Cream Trail begins at Merrymead Farm in Worcester

Elected officials, state representatives and family members associated with Merrymead Farm gather for a photo as the Ice Cream Trail kicks off on May 30, 2024 at the dairy farm in Worcester Township. Photo by Rachel Ravina | The Reporter.

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Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding visited Merrymead Farm on Thursday as “Scooped: An Ice Cream Trail” commenced in Montgomery County.

The seventh annual agricultural initiative created in partnership between the state’s agriculture and tourism agencies spotlights 41 dairies across the commonwealth. Those who follow the trail can earn prizes by accruing points for stopping at multiple locations through Sept. 7.

“Ice cream brings us together. It brings us together today. It brings us together this season. We’ll have 41 stops on this trail for the seventh year,” Redding said. “You get a chance to see Pennsylvania. You get a chance to see farms of all sizes, topography, little communities and big, small farms and big farms, but all have one common denominator: ice cream.”

Redding was joined by fellow state representatives, elected officials and family members associated with the Worcester Township-based dairy farm that has served as a local institution for more than five decades.

    Cows are pictured on May 30, 2024 at Merrymead Farm in Worcester Township.
 By Rachel Ravina | The Reporter 
 
 
    Ice cream flavors are on display inside of Merrymead Farm's store in Worcester Township.
 By Rachel Ravina | The Reporter 
 
 

Established more than 100 years ago, Maynard and Betty Jean Rothenberger started the enterprise as a dairy farm, according to their granddaughter, Kelsey Givler. The Rothenbergers later opened a retail store in 1971, Givler said, which offers milk, ice cream and other food items for purchase. Givler now serves as the farm manager and expressed her appreciation for the customers who’ve come back year after year.

“It’s the support of a community like ours that makes a difference,” Givler said. “Our family and staff have created a relaxing and fun farm environment that encourages families to spend more time together and enjoy the finer things in life, like a delicious ice cream cone.”

“We are forever grateful for our customers who support Merrymead year round,” she continued. “Whether it’s getting their garden plants, fresh produce, pumpkins or Christmas trees from us, they have supported us for 53 years, and we pray for many more.”

Local legislators marveled at the agritoursm resource situated in Montgomery County. As a repeat customer, state Rep. Matt Bradford, D-70th District, underscored there’s a “jewel in our backyard here at Merrymead Farm.”

Merrymead Farm is one of 4,000 dairy farms in Pennsylvania, according to an agriculture spokesperson, as the Pennsylvania’s dairy industry provides 47,000 jobs and contributes $11.8 billion annually to the state’s economy. Redding applauded Montgomery County commissioners for their efforts related to open space and farmland preservation.

    Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding makes remarks during a May 30, 2024 visit to Merrymead Farm in Worcester Township to kick off the seventh annual Ice Cream Trail. Also pictured, from left, are Montgomery County Commissioner Tom DiBello, State Sen. Maria Collett and Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development Executive Deputy Secretary Mike Hanna Jr.
 By Rachel Ravina | The Reporter 
 
 

“But ultimately this is a story about people,” Redding said. “It’s about people who see their life’s work in agriculture and they dedicate the generations to making this farm and this enterprise what it is to produce good products and care for the animals and people and land.”

Redding also used his remarks on Thursday, with dairy cows as a backdrop, to stress the importance of the role ice cream plays in daily life as it often reminds people of times spent with family or going for a special trip on a warm day.

“Ice cream has a deeper connection. We’ll enjoy it here, but to say it really exemplifies sort of the story of the family and the community Ice cream is how you relax. It’s how you chill out. It brings back memories,” Redding said.

Montgomery County Commissioners’ Chairwoman Jamila Winder recalled fond memories of Merrymead Farm with her family. She brought her 3-year-old son Max on Thursday. She got vanilla soft serve in a cone. He got a kids’ strawberry in a cup.

    Merrymead Farm patrons are pictured on May 30, 2024 looking out at cows grazing on the farm in Worcester Township.
 By Rachel Ravina | The Reporter 
  
    A nice spring day brings families out to Merrymead Farm on May 30, 2024. Janice Costanza, of Hatfield, right, as well as Olivia Ziegler, 4, and Charlie Ziegler, 2, pose for a photo after getting some ice cream on May 30, 2024 at the Worcester Township farm.
 By Rachel Ravina | The Reporter 
 
 

“It’s really exciting because when I think about Merrymead Farm, and I think about my childhood — I’ve been coming here for the last four decades so this place has sentimental value for me — growing up with my mom and dad coming to the farm,” she said. “So for the state to pick Merrymead Farm right here in Montgomery County to kick things off, it’s just amazing.”

State Sen. Maria Collett, D-17th Dist. agreed.

“It means everything,” Collett said. “It really tells everybody that Montgomery County is an agricultural stronghold. A lot of people think of the southeast and they don’t think that we’re farm country,” she continued. “We are, and we are family-owned farm country and that’s why it’s so critical and so important that Secretary Redding and Governor Shapiro recognize that and kick off that tour here.”

Visit visitpa.com/scooped for more information about Pennsylvania’s Ice Cream Trail.

This article appears courtesy of a content share agreement between North Penn Now and The Reporter. To read more stories like this, visit www.thereporteronline.com.


author

Rachel Ravina | The Reporter

Rachel Ravina is a journalist covering news and lifestyle features in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. She grew up in Blue Bell and graduated from Penn State. She's also a news enthusiast who is passionate about covering topics people want to read.

Saturday, July 13, 2024
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