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Trickling Springs Ice Cream Is Back at Union Market — Sort Of

A manager for the defunct brand says he’s working with a farm that acquired the old recipes

The Creamery At Union Market owners Daniel and Jessica Burdge.
The Creamery At Union Market owners Daniel and Jessica Burdge.
Daniel Burdge/Union Market
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

The Union Market stall that formerly housed Trickling Springs Creamery, the in-demand Pennsylvania dairy company that abruptly ceased production in September, recently rebooted under a new name with plans to continue using the defunct brand’s ice cream recipes.

The Creamery at Union Market opened last week in the vacated stall tucked in the back of the bustling Northeast food hall. Daniel Burdge, the longtime retail manager for Trickling Springs’s Union Market and Eastern Market shops, is running the ice cream counter with his wife, Jessica. Burdge scored ice cream from the last available run of production for Trickling Springs. He says a farm he declined to name in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, has acquired Trickling Springs’s recipes, and he’s working with them bring the ice cream back under a new name.

“It’s the quality we want,” Burdge says of the dairy products.

Burdge brought on two of his former Trickling Springs colleagues to help run the new counter, and there’s no current plans for expansion. Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily and will likely expand down the road.

The Washington Post this week published a deep dive on Trickling Springs that detailed how a complicated web of loans — many from neighbors within conservative Mennonite communities of Maryland and Pennsylvania — skirted financial norms, allegedly misled investors about the company’s financial health, and potentially left several of them penniless.

Burdge says he was “100 percent” an employee with no ownership stake during his 8-year gig and that he was not linked to internal woes that ultimately led to the dairy producers’ demise.

“I don’t really want to comment a lot about that — it’s a chapter I’d rather put behind me,” he says.

Production for 12 flavors of the old recipes under the new brand is expected to start by the end of the year. Right now, the Creamery is stocking freezers with to-go pints from New York City’s Van Leeuwen brand, which also plays in the non-dairy space. There are also some remaining half gallons of Trickling Springs ice cream (coffee, butter pecan, strawberry).

Eventually the plan is to put the house ice cream brand in pint and half-gallon containers. That will likely happen in six months, because packaging logistics take time.

Burdge has plans to partner with multiple ice cream companies so customers can try a range of flavors and brands, and the counter isn’t reliant on a single producer. Out of the dipping case, ice cream costs $5 for up to two flavors and is served in a cup or a fresh waffle cone. Ice cream floats made with nitro coffee are coming soon, and cookies that once appeared at Trickling Springs counter will make a comeback.

“That is exciting to be partnering with someone who is growing and can grow with us,” says Burdge.
Daniel Burdge/Union Market

When the news of Trickling Springs’s demise broke in September, Burdge says he fielded job offers but needed to figure out whether he wanted to take on a management role for someone else or step out on his own. The latter idea won out.

“Milk is the thing I get really excited about,” he says.

The retail side of the Creamery won’t be tied to an individual brand, which will be the major difference from its predecessor. A refrigerated grocery component will remain a core part of the business. Pequea Valley Farms yogurt is back, and there are Nature’s Yoke eggs for sale.

For now, Burdge is stocking milk from Deliteful Dairy, an eight-generation farm in Williamsport, Maryland, that started bottling its own milk this summer. At Union Market, he’s selling BPA-free plastic bottles full of portions from 12 ounces to 96 ounces.

“It’s a great option for people when it doesn’t work to bring the glass back,” he says. A brand selling milk in glass bottles could come on, too.