With over 50 manufacturing plants in the city, Philadelphia once earned the reputation of being the "Ice Cream Capital of the nation." Most of these companies, however, have left the city, or have gone out of business. Why should people in the Philadelphia region care when we lose such companies?

Because, in Pennsylvania, agriculture is the number one industry, and the largest agricultural industry is dairying, which accounts for 38 percent of all agricultural revenues.

Pennsylvania produces 10.775 billion pounds of milk annually. Pennsylvania also manufactures 68 million gallons of ice cream annually. In general, there is a strong relationship between ice cream manufacturing and milk production, as evidenced by the following graphs:

What these graphs show is that, in general, a state's ranking in milk production is closely related to its ranking in ice cream production. Pennslvania, for instance, is the third largest ice cream producing state and out of the highest ice cream producing states, Pennsylvania ranks third in milk production.
One can make the argument that the reason why these two rankings are similar is because ice cream companies benefit from the proximity of dairy farms to their factories. It is equally plausible, however, for dairy farms to benefit from the proximity of large markets such as ice cream manufacturing plants.
How can consumers in Philadelphia and the surrounding counties help? Three of the top 5 milk producing counties in the State - Lancaster, Berks, and Chester - are relatively close to Philadelphia. In 2001, supermarket sales of bulk ice cream and related products totaled 97.2 million dollars in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, making it the 5th largest ice cream market in the country. When Philadelphians and their immediate neighbors buy local brands, then the economy of the region, and therefore the State ultimately benefit.
Plus, "Philadelphia Ice Cream" has always been associated with quality, so, when you buy local brands, both you and your community benefit. And when you buy a local brand, consider Chilly Philly, the premium Philadelphia ice cream that contributes 7% of pre-tax profits back into the community.

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