This article was featured in our Spring 2021 issue written by Cowsmo intern Jordan Anderson.
Broom’s Bloom Dairy is located in Bel Air, MD just a few miles from Interstate 95 and Route 22. The farm has been in the Dallam family since 1726 but it wasn’t until 1992 that David and Kate Dallam started their dairy operation. While starting with a rental property from his mother, David and Kate eventually built a new tie stall operation on the home farm in 1997. Belle and Emmy Dallam, along with their cousin Ariel Taxdal, are the ninth generation at Broom’s Bloom Dairy. Today, the herd consists of about fifty Holsteins, Red and Whites, and Guernseys along with 200 acres of cropland. 2001 brought an opportunity for diversification beyond the milking operation when Broom’s Bloom began to make their own cheese. Kate, the wife and mother of the Dallam family, would sell cheese and her handmade milk soap at farmers markets and local stores.
Another marketing transition came in 2004. The Dallams decided to open an on-farm ice cream store. Daughter Belle Dallam says “The store has grown rapidly over the years and now it is a full restaurant where we also sell our pork, my grandparents’ and uncle’s beef and lamb, as well as my sister’s turkey and chicken.” Starting in 2017, they began the process of building a processing plant on the farm with plans to bottle their milk, make cheese, and the ice cream mix for the store. The plant will soon be ready for production, hopefully in February of 2021. Currently, Dave and Emmy Dallam work full time on the farm alongside their niece/cousin Ariel. Kate Dallam runs the ice cream store.
Q&A with Belle Dallam; part of the 9th generation at Brooms Bloom!
What made you want to expand the operation beyond just having a dairy?
My parents (Kate & David Dallam) decided that they wanted to diversify and open the ice cream store in order to be able to market our products directly to consumers and have more control over prices especially because milk prices are so volatile. The farm is located on a major road that leads directly to I-95, just a few miles away. While this is not ideal for farming, our location provides the ideal location for an ice cream store. My mother always says that we turned a negative into a positive. We decided we wanted to start processing our own milk on the farm because it was a way to still allow myself, my cousin Ariel, and my sister Emmy to all still work on the farm. Expanding our herd is not really an option for us, but by processing our own milk into various products, it will allow us all to still work on the farm in the future. Additionally, since we already have a strong market and customer base through the ice cream store we know we have a market for our products.
How long has Blooms Broom been active?
My dad (David) started milking at my great grandmother’s farm in 1992, moved to our current farm/his home farm in 1997, and the ice cream store opened in 2004.
Describe your social media presence.
My sister (Emmy), cousin (Ariel), and I run the farms Instagram page. We try to post a mixture of educational and fun posts and stories. We want to share with the public what goes on at the farm and the various different aspects of dairy farming. The average consumer is three generations removed from the farm and has little knowledge about how crops are grown, animals raised, and food produced. Our goal is to help bridge the knowledge gap between farmers and consumers through sharing what we do everyday and explaining why we do it. My mother runs the store’s Facebook and Instagram page. There she mostly posts about the store, but also will share some farm and family pictures.
How has your follower base/audience grown and/or changed?
The store’s base/audience has grown quite a lot over the years. My mom (Kate) actually had to start a page for her store as she reached her Facebook friends limit on her previous profile. We started our farm’s page in 2018. We had a slow start in the beginning but slowly gained more followers and recently have seen an increase as we have become better at posting more consistently.
What is your favorite part about AGvocating?
My favorite part about AGvocating is showing the public how much dairy farmers care about their animals and how much science and technology are used everyday to help us be more efficient. So many consumers do not understand just how much work and care goes into producing a safe, healthy product for them. Giving just a look into our daily life allows them to understand this more.
What has been the biggest challenge to having a public social media account?
The biggest challenge to having a public social media account is being consistent about posting and sharing. It can be time consuming to create new post content and share via stories throughout the day. However, it is necessary to be consistent in order to build a strong following and very rewarding to hear from our followers about how they are learning through our account.
What is one piece of advice you would give to another family/producer who wants to start something similar to you?
Focus on the cows, not the equipment. The cows are the base of our entire operation, and at the end of the day are the ones who make the money, and taking care of them first and foremost will lead to the most success. My parents did not have much when they started. They have built everything from the ground up, from every barn but one on our farm to the entire store. But through it all they have put the cows first.
What social media platforms are you on?
Facebook: Broom’s Bloom Dairy (ice cream store)
Instagram: bbdairy (store) broomsbloom_girls (farm)