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Meyer Dairy: It's a Popular Spot on a Summer Night

by and on July 22, 2014 6:00 AM

On any given summer day, and especially in the evening after the kids have eaten their dinner, families head for Meyer Dairy.

You can see the lines snaking out the door into the parking lot. It is a favorite of many in this area for a myriad of reasons.

The first statement is actually not representative of everyone, according to some of the people I interviewed. Two families I spoke with say they come all year round — after sports events, movies and "just because." There is no need to wait for summer.

As I approached the store, I spoke with Debi Noon, who owns and operates a barbershop on Pugh Street in State College.

"Yes I come here all the time," she says in answer to my question. "Since March of this year when I just became fed up with conglomerates, big business, etc. I quit taking credit cards in my place. Coming here is just a small effort to support local business, sustainability, crop sharing movements, etc."

She moved on to her car with one gallon of chocolate and one of white milk.

Meyer Dairy is family-owned and as local as you can find since the milk is bottled and the ice cream made in the back of the store. And the milk travels only from the farm that can be viewed from the dairy store. The fact that the milk is so fresh and comes in returnable glass bottles lures a lot of people to the dairy.

With so much emphasis in Centre County on recycling, eating fresh and supporting local; it is the perfect place to shop for ice cream, butter, cheese and milk. The restaurant does a good business offering simple meals like soup, hot dogs and macaroni salad in addition to the ice cream treats. You can even take ice cream home in cartons to stock your freezer.

When the Meyer brothers set up the store in 1970, they probably didn't anticipate the popularity and scope of their business. Joe Meyer, the owner of Meyer Dairy, is the grandson of W. C. Meyer who purchased the first Meyer Farm is 1887 on Branch Road. The Meyers delivered milk to State College residents until 1947. The present dairy store was built to serve the community in 1970 and has been going strong ever since.

Many families say they go to Meyer Dairy because they know the milk is fresh. They also like that the glass bottles are returnable and keep the costs of the milk down.

Meyer reportedly doesn't give interviews anymore.

I had a chance to speak with Meyer and he was kind as I asked about the farm side of the business and he replied that his son looked after the farm. After checking the date of the store's opening, I allowed him to get back to the paperwork on his desk.

On this day, a family sitting at a picnic table outside the store were laughing, talking and licking their cones. The image of that family is a slice of summer to be saved for a time and unwrapped during the grey cold days of winter.

My next ice cream adventure will be at Wiscoy For Animals during the Doggie Ice Cream Socials on Friday evenings in August.

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This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

Connie Cousins covers Centre County for the Gazette.
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