After more than a century of growth, a local family farm has become one of the biggest agriculture-based family attractions in the area.
This year marks 150 years since current co-owner Ben Young’s great, great grandfather built the family farm at 6880 Springfield-Xenia Road in Yellow Springs. Since that, the still family-owned business has expanded into a one-stop destination for food and entertainment.
“What we try to do is offer families the opportunity to spend the day together,” Young said. “And this is a great area to come to. If you’re maybe a one-tank trip, you’re coming down from Cleveland or Cincinnati or Columbus. You can go to Yellow Springs and visit the shops or you can go to Clifton and hike in the Gorge or go over to the Air Force museum and then finish the day off with an ice cream cone and it’s the best day ever.”
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In the 1940s, Young’s grandfather started milking Jersey cows. The next generation of his father and two uncles started selling milk “one gallon at a time” directly to customers to get a better price.
“Our customers would come in and leave their empties and pick up and gallon and put 60 cents in a coffee can. It was the honor system,” Young said.
The farm entertainment goes back to the ’60s when the Youngs offered free pony rides and customers could watch the cows get milked. There were also school tours and wagon rides.
From there every decade brought a new attraction. In the ’60s came ice cream, followed by a bakery, then the restaurant. The farm is also in its 10th year of making cheese from the milk of its 40 mature cows.
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"Ithinkthat'swhatwe'reknownfor, the icecream. Andthentheanimals, being abletogooverandpet a goat…If you asked people, what is Young's, they'd say homemade ice cream," Young said.
But the biggest boost for the business was adding miniature golf, a driving range and a batting cage, he said.
“That really changed how customers looked at us, it made us more of a destination,” Young said. “Before we were a place you would stop by and get an ice cream cone on your way home from entertainment. Now we are the entertainment. We see customers staying for five hours.”
There are six major owners actively running the business today.
Young said his favorite part is working with the roughly 380 employees during the busy season. The company gives a lot of first jobs to teens who often stay with the company on summers and breaks through high school.
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“I like seeing our employees come in, they expand their horizons…they become more outgoing. You have to be outgoing to sell ice cream,” he said.
Even during the winter when the batting range is closed and there aren’t any wagon rides, customers can hit the miniature golf course or driving range, get a meal and grab an ice cream cone.
Through Monday, customers of Young’s will find deals in celebration of its annual birthday event. This year, several items on the menu are $1.50, including ice cream cones, kids meals and hamburgers. Cheese curds are also discounted to $3.99.
Commemorative 150th anniversary milk bottles are free with the purchase of sundaes, ice cream cones, milkshakes or fried cheese curds. Additional bottles can be purchased for $1.
Families can also hit a bucket of golf balls at the driving ranger for $1.50 or attempt a round of miniature golf in the snow.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Dan Young, another owner and CEO. “Our local community really likes it. They can take the entire family.”
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