Fridays on the Farm: The Ice Cream Rises to the Top at Fox Meadows Farms

This Friday meet the Fox family of Fox Meadows Farms in Ephrata, Pennsylvania. Owned and operated by brothers Chad and Corey Fox, their wives, Krista and Andrea, and their parents, Bob and Ruthie, this generational farm demonstrates the importance of family farms, diversifying farming operations, and recognizing opportunities in urban and suburban communities. 

Four people standing in a field
Fox Meadows Farms is a generational family farm in Pennsylvania. Pictured above (from left to right) is Bob Fox, FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux, Chad Fox and Corey Fox. Photo by Kimberly Merlau, FSA.

“We are grateful to be close to Lancaster City and other population centers like Leola,” Chad said. “Being close to the consumer gives us access to an available workforce and consumer base, affording us the opportunity to serve more people.” 

Diversifying for the Next Generation

The family started farming in the 1950s with the purchase of the Fox family farm. Over the decades they have been recognized as leaders in milk quality, animal husbandry, milk production and land stewardship in Lancaster County, including their conservation efforts through streambank fencing, riparian buffers, and no-till cropping practices. 

The Fox family integrated the next generation into the operation in 2013 when Bob and Ruthie transitioned sole farm ownership to Chad and Corey. This intentional succession plan freed up valuable time for Bob and Ruthie and positioned their family and farm for growth and success for generations to come.

Having no luck purchasing more land for expansion, they embraced the concept of farm-to-table and purchased a used car lot neighboring the home farm to build their first 4,600-square-foot creamery.

Large Brown House next to a parking lot
The Fox Meadows Creamery location in Ephrata. Photo by Kimberly Merlau, FSA.

According to Heidi Secord, state executive director for the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Pennsylvania, Lancaster County has diverse agricultural roots, in both rural and urban agrarian communities within the county. Secord and FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux both praise Fox Meadows Farms as an outstanding example of generational, family farmers who embrace product innovation and capitalize on their proximity to urban centers.

Reaching Goals with FSA

In 2020, Fox Meadows Farms applied for an FSA direct farm ownership loan, providing the security and financial support the family needed to realize their business and professional goals. Farm ownership loans from FSA are a valuable resource to help farmers and ranchers purchase or enlarge family farms, improve and expand current operations, increase agricultural productivity, and assist with land tenure to save farmland for future generations. 

FSA’s loan assistance helped solidify their process, develop their infrastructure, and create new markets for their products while also providing economic opportunities for the local community.

Two people in cattle feeding tent
Bob Fox showing the calf facilities to FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. Photo by Kimberly Merlau, FSA.

Fox Meadows Farms also participates in other FSA programs, including the Agricultural Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs and the Dairy Margin Coverage program. These safety-net programs provide economic assistance when commodity markets fluctuate due to impacts of natural disasters, trade volatilities, world conflicts or other variables outside of the producer’s control.

“Our family is very thankful for FSA’s support and will continue to look to them as a trusted partner as we grow our business,” Chad said.

Expanding Opportunities One Cone at a Time

In July of 2022, the Fox family seized an opportunity to expand, opening a second creamery location in Leola. Both creameries offer 25 flavors of ice cream that change seasonally and are known for their cow-to-cone interactive experience where visitors watch the ice cream being made and served. A supporter of local small businesses, both locations have a country market where they sell a variety of locally crafted items, including baked goods and snacks, and offer a full lunch menu as well.

Hand holding an ice cream cone
Both creameries are known for their cow-to-cone interactive experience. Photo courtesy of Fox Meadows Farms.

Fox Meadows Farms is their life’s work, and like all businesses, it’s important to have and execute an operating plan. For the Fox family, it’s equally important to love what you do for a living. 

“We are so blessed to be able to transform the milk from our cows into a fun product like ice cream,” Bob said.  “It’s humbling to watch how the simple goodness of ice cream can bring our community together as they celebrate and enjoy life, one cone at a time at Fox Meadows Creamery.”

A store with refrigerators containing dairy products
Both locations have a country market where they sell a variety of locally crafted items and offer a full lunch menu. Photo by Kimberly Merlau, FSA.

More Information

Visit local farms, ranches, forests, and resource areas through our Fridays on the Farm stories. Meet farmers, producers and landowners who are working to improve their operations with USDA programs.

Are you gardening or farming in an urban or suburban environment? Are you looking to integrate innovative production practices in your operation? Learn about USDA resources that can help you start and grow your operation. 

USDA offers a variety of risk management, disaster assistance, loan, and conservation programs to help producers weather ups and downs in the market and recover from natural disasters as well as invest in improvements to their operations. Learn about additional programs.

For more information about USDA programs and services, contact your local USDA service center. 


Kimberly Merlau is an FSA County Executive Director in Pennsylvania. For more information about this story, reach out to Melissa Webreck, state communications coordinator for FSA in Pennsylvania.