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South Mountain Creamery, Randy and Karen Sowers' Creamery on Bolivar Road in Middletown, MD


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Anyone have any experience with their home delivery of milk?

A number of Capitol Hill families recently formed a bloc large enough for SMC to start a Capitol Hill route. I've been reading about their reactions on a neighborhood listserv. Most people seem to be very satisfied, although there have been a few reports of delivery (non-delivery) issues. We have good friends on the new route, and they love the service and have had no complaints.

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We just signed on with South Mountain and got our first delivery on Tuesday. The milk is definitely better tasting than the usual supermarket stuff. We also tried their sharp cheddar - very nice!! We're looking forward to trying more of their products.

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We just signed on with South Mountain and got our first delivery on Tuesday. The milk is definitely better tasting than the usual supermarket stuff. We also tried their sharp cheddar - very nice!! We're looking forward to trying more of their products.

We've been buying from South Mountain for almost a year now. Definitely check out their other products. Their ground turkey is great, and the butter is so good I may have eaten it by the spoonful the first time we got it... And, they have family festivals on the farm in the spring and fall. (I wrote about the spring one here.)

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SMC has great products. We had a nice time at their Cow Caper festival earlier this summer, which is a good opportunity to ogle some farm animals and buy some great dairy foods. The ice cream was ok but I was most impressed by the whole-milk yogurt, particularly the blueberry variety. I am also pleased that they sell whole-milk buttermilk. There's a small shop on-site in Middletown if you happen to live nearby. One of my neighbors is the owner's brother, so they deliver out here on the rural edge of suburbia, too.

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I just started receiving deliveries of South Mountain Creamery product and I've been impressed thus far.

As I live in a condo, I was initially unsure of how doable this was in an apartment-like setting where they wouldn't have access to my specific unit, but sure enough the cooler I leave out for them has been filled each time I've checked it. So far I've tried their butter, skim milk, cottage cheese, goat cheese, and eggs all of which I've been very pleased with. I'm looking forward to exploring some of their other offerings and sign-up (online) was very easy as is altering my weekly orders.

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This year the 9th Annual Cow Caper Spring Festival is is SAT., APRIL 24 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM and SUN., APRIL 25 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM. Hayrides, Ice Cream & Butter making Demonstrations, "Moo to You" tours of the dairy, helping to feed calves, and great pork and beef BBQ. You can get more info here: South Mountain Creamery

When we first heard about the Creamery, we drove out to have a look around. It makes a great day trip. We get milk, butter, eggs, and fabulous ground beef delivered regularly, with no delivery problems. Enjoy!

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Has anyone seen Plugra unsalted butter in the area? I'm hoping maybe Whole Foods carries it. It's recommended in the recipe to reproduce the butter chicken from Trattoria Sostanza because of it's lower water content so my next question is, if not, does anyone know of another butter that might be available easily in MD (Whole Food's, MOM's, somewhere like that) that has a similar lower water content? FWIW, another article says you should be aiming for 82-85% butterfat  - I have no idea if that's correct and/or if % butterfat is listed on packaging?

ETA: Just noticed this note in the recipe: You can substitute unsalted Challenge Dairy's European Style butter.

 

After actually locating the Plugra, I discovered that South Mountain Creamery, who I get biweekly deliveries from actually makes a butter that is ~85% butterfat. My heart wants to just use theirs, but my brain says don't mess with the recipe.

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After actually locating the Plugra, I discovered that South Mountain Creamery, who I get biweekly deliveries from actually makes a butter that is ~85% butterfat. My heart wants to just use theirs, but my brain says don't mess with the recipe. 

The SMC butter is good, but the unsalted does not keep long, given the high percentage of butterfat and the fact there is no salt to preserve it.  I used to order it from them and stopped because it kept turning before I could use even half of it.   I have several half containers in the freezer.  The plastic in the container gets very brittle when it's frozen, so the containers break easily when frozen too.  Because it's in tubs, it's also hard to measure out easily in tablespoons.

That's a long way of saying that buying a half pound of Plugra or equivalent is probably better than buying a 1 lb. tub from SMC, unless you know you're going to have a lot of immediate uses for the excess.

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[i'm sorry for splitting the Plugrí¡ thread up, but wanted South Mountain Creamery to have its own. Take a good, long look at their website, noting, among many other things, "If you want your milk straight from the cow, you HAVE to call South Mountain Creamery!]

A business worth following and supporting? My instinct says yes.

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[i'm sorry for splitting the Plugrí¡ thread up, but wanted South Mountain Creamery to have its own. Take a good, long look at their website, noting, among many other things, "If you want your milk straight from the cow, you HAVE to call South Mountain Creamery!]

A business worth following and supporting? My instinct says yes.

I'm mostly happy with the business, though there are occasional service oddities.  On the whole, I like them, and they straighten out service problems pretty efficiently.

I have found it to be trial and error on which of their products I really love.  Their eggs and milk meet our needs quite well. The butter is also quite good, despite the above caveat(s).   But the cottage cheese, for instance, I just don't care for. I'm not sure what it is, but it doesn't work for me.

It's possible that some things I'm less fond of are too organically from the farm for my taste.  The chicken, for instance, I don't find that robust (not sure if that's the word I really want), but the farm they coordinate with for turkey is fantastic.  I love the turkey in any form and got a Thanksgiving turkey through them last year.  I often order a pound of the 1/2 and 1/2 ground turkey with my dairy order.  I also like the orange juice they've been stocking.  The pork products I've gotten have been good.

It's cool getting milk delivered to my porch, like back when I was a wee child.  It's usually delivered early in the morning here, and I try to listen so I can grab it right away.  I see plenty of people with their metal milk boxes outside (we just use a regular cooler), and I wonder if people get their deliveries stolen if they're not brought in right away, give the ongoing package theft problem we have in the neighborhood.

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Agree with what Pat has said. I order from them primarily for the convenience of having farm fresh eggs (of which I eat a lot) delivered directly to my door, as well as high quality grass fed heavy cream (which I find keeps quite well in the glass bottles if it's kept very cold). I also happen to like their bacon quite a bit, and their breakfast sausage is decent as well. Some cuts of beef I prefer over others, but they're a good source for a few cuts that my farmers market vendor doesn't always have in stock - skirt, flank, hangar or flat iron (they also have an incredible price on liver if that's your thing, my dogs appreciate it :P).

Some things I find have ingredients I don't care for, or are over-sweetened (their lemonade for instance), other things I quite enjoy (the beet & cabbage kraut for instance). Certainly for convenience and overall quality of the product this is a really nice option for a lot of people, especially through the winter when many of the farmers markets are closed.

And thank you Don, I'm happy to see SMC get their own thread. I hadn't thought to do it myself.

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Their eggs and milk meet our needs quite well. The butter is also quite good, despite the above caveat(s).   But the cottage cheese, for instance, I just don't care for. I'm not sure what it is, but it doesn't work for me.

It's possible that some things I'm less fond of are too organically from the farm for my taste.  The chicken, for instance

Some things I find have ingredients I don't care for, or are over-sweetened (their lemonade for instance), other things I quite enjoy (the beet & cabbage kraut for instance). Certainly for convenience and overall quality of the product this is a really nice option for a lot of people, especially through the winter when many of the farmers markets are closed.

Based on your posts, I see two things that stand out:

1) "Creamery" is in the name - meaning they specialize in dairy

2) If they raise a good product, it doesn't mean they can take those raw ingredients and produce one as well. Pat loves the milk and eggs, and they're as close to undisturbed Mother Nature as you can get. Cottage Cheese, on the other hand, takes some degree of skill to make.

Reasonable assumptions? Stick with dairy? Stick with raw ingredients? I'm not saying this is an across-the-board truism; maybe just something to keep in mind.

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Based on your posts, I see two things that stand out:

1) "Creamery" is in the name - meaning they specialize in dairy

2) If they raise a good product, it doesn't mean they can take those raw ingredients and produce one as well. Pat loves the milk and eggs, and they're as close to undisturbed Mother Nature as you can get. Cottage Cheese, on the other hand, takes some degree of skill to make.

Reasonable assumptions? Stick with dairy? Stick with raw ingredients? I'm not saying this is an across-the-board truism; maybe just something to keep in mind.

Since they specialize in dairy, I was surprised to see their other offerings when I first started buying from them.  They are interested in expanding to other products and have polls and so forth for determining what people want.  I'd be happy with milk/eggs/butter, but they are clearly trying to grow a much bigger business than that.

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Interesting thread especially considering the home delivery.  I have never had anything from them.  My question is, are they in league with Lewes Dairy, Trickling Springs or Chrome Dairy?  I am thinking heavy cream, cream top milk, whole milk, etc.

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Reasonable assumptions? Stick with dairy? Stick with raw ingredients? I'm not saying this is an across-the-board truism; maybe just something to keep in mind.

Yes and no. They offer a lot of local and "artisan" products that are not their own. And I don't find what I enjoy is necessarily consistent across a category. I really like their muenster and dill havarti for instance, but dislike their swiss (boring), or see my comments about beef cuts above (more to do with how they cut them, I find their ribeyes are far too thin for my taste).

Joe, I only really know Trickling Springs well and I believe they're quite similar in terms of the dairy (specifically milk/cream/etc) products that they offer, how they raise their animals, glass bottles, etc. Hopefully someone else can answer your question better in terms of other products - I don't really buy yogurt, ice cream, cottage cheese, etc. so haven't compared.

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A question, and I'm not trying to be snarky, but over the past two years I've bought milk from them a few times, and it has always had a distinctly grassy (unpleasant) flavor to me.  Is that just how their milk always tastes?  It's the main thing that's kept me from subscribing to their delivery service.

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Yes and no. They offer a lot of local and "artisan" products that are not their own. And I don't find what I enjoy is necessarily consistent across a category. I really like their muenster and dill havarti for instance, but dislike their swiss (boring), or see my comments about beef cuts above (more to do with how they cut them, I find their ribeyes are far too thin for my taste).  

That [bolded] is a good way of putting it.  I can't recall what cut of beef I got that I found was cut too thin (don't know if it was ribeye), but I have had that reaction too.   I also like their muenster and dill havarti, but I don't think I've tried the swiss.

And, porcupine, I can't say I've noticed any kind of unpleasant taste to the milk, but I probably don't have a real refined palate for milk to be able to distinguish one flavor from another.  I also don't typically drink milk straight, so I'm not getting the direct effect either.  (That said, I just tried a sip of the 2% milk that's out while my husband has his cereal, and I can taste something in the milk, but I can't identify what it is.  He thinks it just tastes like milk.)

Don:  There was already a thread for South Mountain Creamery here.  Could you (or someone else competent to do so) please merge them.  I cause disasters when I merge threads.

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Don:  There was already a thread for South Mountain Creamery here.  Could you (or someone else competent to do so) please merge them.  I cause disasters when I merge threads.

[Thanks Pat]

A question, and I'm not trying to be snarky, but over the past two years I've bought milk from them a few times, and it has always had a distinctly grassy (unpleasant) flavor to me.  Is that just how their milk always tastes?  It's the main thing that's kept me from subscribing to their delivery service.

A grassy taste in milk, to me, screams "pasture-fed cows (or goats, or sheep)." I may be completely off-base with this, but with the artisan milks and cheeses I've had in Europe, a grassy component is often present, especially when they haven't been pasteurized. Would someone contact South Mountain Creamery and alert them to this thread? I'm sure they wouldn't mind chiming in.

A tangential note: I actually don't particularly care for the grassy aromas that are a hallmark of Tuscan olive oils.

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A grassy taste in milk, to me, screams "pasture-fed cows (or goats, or sheep)." I may be completely off-base with this, but with the artisan milks and cheeses I've had in Europe, a grassy component is often present, especially when they haven't been pasteurized.

In the spring, milk from grass-fed cows can sometimes taste of the wild onion-type plants that are common in the meadows at that time of year.

All this I know, but it doesn't mean I like the flavor in milk, especially since I mostly use milk for coffee and desserts.  In cheese, it's delightful.  In my morning cup of joe, not so much.

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All this I know, but it doesn't mean I like the flavor in milk, especially since I mostly use milk for coffee and desserts. In cheese, it's delightful. In my morning cup of joe, not so much.

I don't notice a particularly strong flavor in the heavy cream fwiw. It tastes a little different, but then I would expect grass fed anything to.

And here's another example of why I find SMC to be a bit of a mixed bag. I ordered mozzarella in addition to the muenster this time thinking it's time to start doing some tomatoes, basil & mozzarella now that tomatoes are showing up at my market and what do I get? A package of BelGioioso. Now that I look more closely, it's in the item description, but I didn't bother to look at the description, I just put the item in my cart because it never crossed my mind that the cheese wouldn't be theirs.

Still grateful overall to have them available to me, but you definitely need to read product descriptions carefully.

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And here's another example of why I find SMC to be a bit of a mixed bag. I ordered mozzarella in addition to the muenster this time thinking it's time to start doing some tomatoes, basil & mozzarella now that tomatoes are showing up at my market and what do I get? A package of BelGioioso. Now that I look more closely, it's in the item description, but I didn't bother to look at the description, I just put the item in my cart because it never crossed my mind that the cheese wouldn't be theirs. 

I always check the description for that reason.  Sometimes they don't name the supplier, however.  I gamble on a product being good if it was good before, but I don't know if it will be from the same place.

I believe that BelGioiso fresh mozzarella is a recently introduced product, as I've been seeing it prominently displayed, including at Whole Foods.

One of the items that I've bought from them that has been consistently good is honey.  Forgot to mention that before.

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Went here over the weekend as our second stop after Distillery Lane Cider Works.  They have tons of cows, including a barn with baby cows.  They let you feed the cows (we were there at 3 pm).  There is also a store with milk for sale, amazing ice cream, and other stuff.  Finally, they offer a home delivery service in the DC area.  Check it out:  http://www.southmountaincreamery.com/home.php

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see my comments about beef cuts above (more to do with how they cut them, I find their ribeyes are far too thin for my taste).

I came looking for this post, thinking you said sirloin.  Same point applies, though.  The first time I got sirloin, it was very thin, thinner than I had expected.  After quite a gap, I ordered sirloin steak again, not remembering the thinness.  I decided to go with it and just pan-fry the steak at super-high temps in a cast iron skillet.  It came out quite well.  I ordered a sirloin again in my last order and cooked it the same way again.  It's cut about 1/2", no more than 3/4", thick.

That method works well for a thin cut, even though it's not my preferred way of cooking steak. We're having the last of it tonight, and it's rare enough that I think it will be okay with a quick trip through a hot pan.  The beef is really good-tasting, regardless of the way it's cut.

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We've enjoyed almost all of the stuff we've gotten from SMC: 2% and half-and-half is our regular weekly order, with eggs every couple of weeks.  Other stuff has included whole milk, the black raspberry yogurt drink (a little sweet but still good), pork chops, skirt steak, and boneless chicken breasts.  Probably some other items I'm not remembering right now.  The one thing I've disliked was the cottage cheese, but I'm very picky about the texture and this just wasn't in my wheelhouse (creamy with small curds).  They were also good to us by leaving the milk and ringing the doorbell the morning I forgot to put out the cooler.

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The latest newsletter from South Mountain Creamery includes information about their participation in Farm-to-Fork Frederick.  It's running this year from August 28 to September 7th.  Restaurants using their products for this event highlighting locally sourced foods include Family Meal and La Paz.  More information on Farm-to-Fork Frederick here.

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I stopped by over the weekend for a farm tour and really remembered how much I like their ice cream.  The tour was very informative.  It is clear that they are proud of their operation and the level of quality they produce and how they treat their staff and animals.  Of particularly interesting note, they said that the brown cows (which do not produce chocolate milk despite much public belief) are Jersey cows and are known for producing higher butterfat content in their milk.  SMC is increasing their herd to have more Jersey cows for this reason.

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We get occasional deliveries from South Mountain. They used to come to the Columbia Heights farm market, and we miss them there very much. Delivery is NOT as convenient, as they have a different, more limited list of items for delivery. But there are some things... Ice cream! Now that they have bought Trickling Springs and added their ice cream recipes, they have added a few of my favorites, including gingerbread. So good. And we did manage to get a pint of that in the delivery a few weeks ago.

I hope that some day they come back to the market.

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My husband is a chocolate milk (and milk in general but especially chocolate) fiend, and I'm planning to sign up for regular chocolate milk delivery from SMC as part of my Christmas presents to him. They have a Moo Membership where you pay $100 for a year and get free delivery (amongst other perks, I think), but they only sell it in December and June. We recently bought a quart of their chocolate milk at Moo Thru and it was delicious. Also, gingerbread ice cream sounds sooooo good. My ice cream maker is still on my counter because I was thinking of finding a recipe and trying to make it myself.

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On 11/24/2021 at 11:38 AM, dracisk said:

My husband is a chocolate milk (and milk in general but especially chocolate) fiend, and I'm planning to sign up for regular chocolate milk delivery from SMC as part of my Christmas presents to him. They have a Moo Membership where you pay $100 for a year and get free delivery (amongst other perks, I think), but they only sell it in December and June. We recently bought a quart of their chocolate milk at Moo Thru and it was delicious. Also, gingerbread ice cream sounds sooooo good. My ice cream maker is still on my counter because I was thinking of finding a recipe and trying to make it myself.

If you visit, ask to see the brown cows that make the chocolate milk and the pink cows that make the strawberry.

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