KINGSTON TOWNSHIP -- Good business sense is how a well-known dairy in Luzerne County says it's able to expand in a tough economic climate.
Hillside Farms near Dallas is investing money to make money:
Hillside Farms is legendary in Luzerne County for its homemade ice cream. The farm has built a reputation on its dairy, but now it's a lot more. The place has just opened a garden center filled with all kinds of flowers, now that the planting season is here.
There's a retail store selling mostly American-made items as well and those who run the nonprofit restored farm say it just had its busiest weekend ever, thanks to nice weather.
"It's fantastic and flattering. I feel bad that people have to wait in line for things. We love that people love the place enough to come out, even if they're not buying things and come to check out the animals with the kids, that's what we're all about," said Hillside Farms Executive Director Chet Mozloom.
A big part of the mission at Hillside Farms is to teach people about agriculture and animals. But to support it, they need money. That's where the ice cream, the retail, and the new garden center come in.
"Some of the things we're buying in, but we are a farm, so a lot of it is being grown here and being sold here. You're talking the plants, the foods," Mozloom said.
The charitable organization that runs the farm has refurbished decades-old greenhouses to help grow the flowers. It hopes to restore more of them soon. Now, they're putting in special eco-friendly parking lots that will be all grass to accommodate increased crowds.
"This is really the only place like this in the area. It's nice to come get some ice cream, go for a walk around, do some shopping," said Jamie Novitski.
"I like it a lot, it's very nice. They have fantastic milk so I'm sure everything else is going to be great," said Shannon Marshall of White Haven.
The goal at Hillside Farms is to teach others about ways to be self-sufficient and with the new ventures it's trying to practice what it preaches.