Young’s Jersey Dairy is much more than just the best ice cream around
By Tim Walker
Conveniently located on U.S. 68 less than two miles north of Yellow Springs, Young’s Jersey Dairy has been a popular Greene County destination for hungry families for over 50 years now. In addition to their mouth-watering ice cream, which may just be the best in the state, Young’s now boasts a selection of food, activities and attractions that must certainly surprise their customers from earlier days. From the batting cages to the farm animals, from the “Jersey Dairy Inn” to the “Udders and Putters” miniature golf course, Young’s is a local success story that has something to offer to family members of all ages.
In the late 1950s, customers began purchasing their Jersey milk directly from Young’s Dairy. According to the Young’s website, the first sales room was a modest operation; the family decided to construct a 10’x10’ room right next to the milking room. The equipment was modest, as well – just a refrigerator, some glass milk jugs, a cash drawer and the honor system. In a business model that would be unheard of these days, customers would drive up, open the refrigerator, get a gallon of milk, leave an empty jug and some cash, and depart.
Hap Young had purchased the 60-acre farm and house just after the end of World War II. For the next 10 years, Hap and his sons Carl, Bob and Bill worked their own acreage plus several hundred more that the family rented, and made their living growing grain, raising hogs and milking cows. In 1958, the family constructed the sales room and began selling milk to the public. Due to the success of that operation, the family then constructed a larger dairy store in 1960, which sold ice cream, and later cheese and other snack foods. That room was attached to the big red barn.
As the business grew, the family was forced to expand that section of the building twice in the 1960s, and then they built a small bakery in 1966 in order to keep business steady during the winter months. Tired of running out of room, the family built the first part of the red restaurant building in 1968 and moved nearly everything into it except for the bakery, which stayed in the original dairy store. Today, that building houses the ice cream making operation.
In 1972, the family doubled the size of the restaurant building, moving the bakery into it, and over the next 18 years they added more parking, more seating for the restaurant, and continued to expand the kitchen area in order to keep up with demand. In 1990 the family doubled the seating capacity for the restaurant and added a meeting room.
Since that time, the expansions and additions have continued at a rapid pace: the Udders and Putters miniature golf course was added in 1993. The driving range followed in 1995, with the batting cages coming in 1996. In 1998 they added the Golden Jersey Inn, a full-service restaurant housed in a beautiful timber frame building. 1999 then brought the addition of Barnabe’s Walnut Grove, a seating area for group functions which is capable of serving groups of up to 3,500 people.
The new century brought even more attractions to Young’s, with the Pick Your Own Pumpkin patch and Cowvin’s Corny Maze open each year in the fall. Cowvin’s Fast Slide and Cowvin’s Kiddie Corral are recent additions, and in July 2009 Young’s began making and selling Young’s Farmstead Cheese, which is made from only the Jersey milk produced by their own herd of cows. Cheeses include Cheddar, Colby, Baby Swiss, Jersey Jack, PepperJack and Fresh Cheddar Curds, which are all very popular.
One of the three sons who worked the farm with his father after World War II, Bob Young is still involved in the family business, and he is also the father of Dan Young, 57, current CEO and self-proclaimed “Chief Ice Cream Dipper.”
“I think our location is a large part of our success,” said Dan Young recently. “We’re close to Yellow Springs, John Bryan, Clifton Gorge and Glen Helen. This entire area is a destination point for many people who are looking to get away from it all for a day, and a trip to Young’s is definitely part of the attraction. We’re out in the country, but being as close to I-70 as we are helps, and having I-675 there definitely makes it easy for people to get here from Dayton.”
Dan mentioned the bike path, which passes right next to Young’s. “The bike path runs very close to us, too, which helps. A couple of times per year in the summer, I like to ride the bike path myself to Dayton and then cool off in the fountains downtown. It’s about a 45-mile ride round trip.”
Does he treat himself to ice cream when he gets back to the farm?
“Of course. I like to earn my ice cream,” he said, laughing.
Young’s Jersey Dairy is located at 6880 Springfield-Xenia Road in Yellow Springs. For more information, visit their website at www.youngsdairy.com.
Reach DCP freelance writer Tim Walker at firstname.lastname@example.org.