Newspaper Page Text
El4-Lancaster Farming, Saturday, June 6, 1998
Bedford Co. Correspondent
MARTINSBURG (Blair Co.)
Opening in August of 1941,
Ritchey’s Dairy has long been
known as an ice cream lovers de
Now owned and operated by
third generation, Oliver C. Ritch
ey, the dairy is still small and still
successful. Oliver’s grandfather
died in 1963. Oliver’s father re
tired in 1972.
While many dairies have come
and gone, Ritchey’s is the only
dairy in Blair and Bedford coun
ties today which processes milk.
‘The dairy business has done a
180-degree turn around,” said
Ritchey. “When it started, they
used to skim the cream from the
top and dump the skim milk to the
hogs or throw it away.
“Folks still like their rich ice
cream and butter, but we have
trouble knowing what to do with
all the cream. And, we sell mostly
2 percent or no fat milk and cho
A diversified dairy operation,
Ritchey’s was started when Oli
ver’s grandfather was sharing a
farm with his brother. One brother
wanted to farm and the other
wanted to start a dairy, amicably
they divided the land.
While they once purchased
milk from mote than 24 dairies,
today they are down to six.
“But we are using the milk of a
larger number of cows which pro
duce more milk,” Oliver said as he
noted another big change in dairy-
The third generation of Ritcheys to run the family dairy
business. Oliver C. Ritch ey mans the office desk. It is the last
milk-processing dairy in Blair and Bedford counties.
Ritchey’s dairy products, such as the chocolate milk being packaged here, have
proven popular enough that local chain store franchises stock them.
Ritchey’s Dairy Is For Ice Cream Lovers
During the winter months, nine
local schools provide a good busi
ness for both regular and choco
Ritchey’s milk is also sold, by
public demand, at the local Giant
Eagle, Sheetez, and Riverside
Another good selling product
has been a chocolate and vanilla
mix for making homemade ice
cream. “It goes good during the
summer months when churches
are having ice cream socials,”
During the winter, Ritchey’s
creates a custard mix used by
schools and businesses.
They are one of the very few
dairies left which still does home
“We started out with every day
deliveries,” Oliver said. “Then,
during the war it was every other
day to save gas, now, it’s once a
week. But, refrigeration is better
and milk is more processed now
then it was in the 19405.”
Most deliveries today are to
businesses or senior apartment
complexes, but there are still a few
homes which request the service.
The first dairy in the area to go
bulk, Ritchey’s usually has plenty
of milk for all of its separate areas.
“But, if we run short we have a
contract with Land O’ Lakes to
bounce their supply,” Ritchey
In the 19605, Ritcheys offered
“Golden Guernsey Milk” and had
a contract with the Sollenberger
farm to purchase all of their
Ritchey’s Dairy is a landmark in Martinsburg, where area families have been going
for years to buy ice cream and fresh dairy products. It now processes bulk milk, ice
cream and different products.
Onsite sales, distribution through local retail chain groceries, and sales to schools
are part of the marketing strategy for Ritchey’s Dairy. Cory Hall packs chocolate milk
into crates for delivery to schools.
Guernsey product. ‘Today there
aren’t many Guernsey farms
around and our milk is almost to
Despite their diversification,
Ritchey’s is best known locally
for their smooth, rich, and creamy
Using basically the same recipe
with which Grandad started, the
dairy has 30 flavors although not
all are in production at one time.
Oliver thinks their two best sell
ers ate chocolate butter fudge and
The parking lot and small store
area are jammed on a hot summer
night with ice cream lovers savor
ing the various flavors.
Ed’s Steak House, the Spring
House Restaurant, Ivystone, Mrs.
G’s, and Happy Hollow are
Carol Ebersole and Emily Closson work at the ice cream
counter at Ritchey’s Dairy, a third generation family dairy
I FJ 1
among the restaurants in the area
which offer Ritchey’s ice cream
“Not keeping all our eggs in one
basket has helped us to remain in
tact,” Oliver noted.
The biggest problem facing the
dairy today is finding good
employees who are willing to
work some of the crazy hours the
(Turn to Pago El 5)