BLAIR COUNTY, Pa (WTAJ) — It is national dairy month and while there have been stories about milk going to waste during the pandemic, some local dairy farmers are doing well.
One of them is Sollenberger Farms, a milk producer for Ritchey’s Dairy.
For the Sollenberger’s, work on the farm begins early.
“We start at 5 in the morning milking,” Garret Sollenberger said.
Though it’s not the easiest life, the Sollenberger children have grown to respect everything their parents, including their father, have built.
“Looking back, I’m very proud of it because he’s put a lot of hard work into this farm to make sure it keeps going,” Tara Hoover said.
And keep going it has. During the pandemic, as dairy farmers nationally were dumping out extra milk, business boomed locally.
“It is unfortunate that other places have, but as far as us here, we were able to stay pretty steady through this, not having to waste any milk,” Hoover said.
Some dairy favorites have even grown in popularity.
“Ice cream sales have been steadily increasing during the whole COVID, it was used as a comfort food I believe,” Ritchey’s Dairy General Manager Andrew Ritchey said.
Increased demand for ice cream has helped make sure milk doesn’t go to waste.
“The public schools are a big part of our milk sales, and with them ending school, we really needed ice cream sales to increase,” Sollenberger said. “It’s balancing things out kind of, but it’s really helping a lot.”
And one other big help throughout the pandemic is the community.
“I think because we are in a small community and because we do have such a good farming community out in this area in the cove, we personally did not have to experience that type of loss from the milk,” Hoover said.
Ritchey’s Dairy is expecting ice cream sales to stay steady throughout the summer, and they encourage the community to keep local farmers “MOOving” by buying local.
Sign up for the WTAJ Newsletter for the latest local news, weather and community events that matter to you.