By Whitney Vickers
YELLOW SPRINGS — Charles “Bob” Young, one of the founders of Young’s Jersey Dairy, died over the weekend.
Young, 84, graduated from Enon High School in 1950 and served as the Husted Fire Department captain for a number of Years. He was additionally a member of the Yellow Springs Masonic Lodge.
Young’s family remembers him as a handy individual, working behind the scenes to ensure the operation ran successfully.
“He was a hard-worker who was very much involved until these past few years,” his son, Dan Young, told WDTN.
Young’s Jersey Dairy first started in 1869 when the Young family constructed the big red barn. It later grew into a 60-acre homestead, as well as 500 rented acreages, that was used to grow grain, care for hogs and milk cows. The operation was managed by Bob, Bob’s father, Hap, and his brothers, Carl and Bill.
The public was first invited onto the farm in the 1950s, when the family started selling its milk. According to Young’s Jersey Dairy’s website, “the customer would drive up, open the refrigerator, get his gallon of milk, leave an empty jug and the money and drive away.”
The 1960s would see Young’s Jersey Dairy expand its retail undertakings, opening a dairy store that would sell ice cream, cheese and small treats. It later added a bakery, which would create a need for more space. Young’s Jersey Dairy experienced a growth spurt from 1970s through the 1990s, adding an official mascot, more space for customers and extra activities for families to enjoy.
During this time, Young’s became a getaway from the fast-moving city pace. Dan Young said people would appreciate coming to the farm and watching the cows get milked, while the family would see such an activity as a regular item on the daily to-do list.
“Up until the 1990s, we were thinking of ourselves as a farm,” Dan Young said. “We had this sudden realization that people were visiting because it was fun, they were visiting the farm to participate, so what else could we do to add to the experience? We opened our minds to activities.”
Udders and Putters, an 18-hole farm-themed miniature golf course was first offered at Young’s in 1993; its driving range opened in 1995; one year later, a nine-position batting cage would open. The Golden Jersey Inn, a full service restaurant, opened in 1998 and Barnabe’s Walnut Grove, an area designated for get-togethers, opened in 1999.
It has since started offering an 18-hold miniature golf course, corn maze, pumpkin patch, 30-foot slide and children’s activity area. It also now sells its own cheese and Christmas trees and undergoes regular property improvements.
Dan Young said farm officials had nailed out its strategic plan in recent weeks. Their aim is to continue making Young’s Jersey Dairy a better and fun experience for families.
Approximately 1,120,000 customers visit Young’s Jersey Dairy each year, according to its website. Ten members of the Young family work at the farm and it employs an additional 320.
“Carl was out selling Christmas trees and Bill was milking cows [on Sunday],” Dan Young said. “They don’t know any better — its the farm mentality.”
Young’s Jersey Dairy started hosting an annual charity bike ride in 2002, raising approximately $1 million for local charities, including the Miami Valley Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. In lieu of flowers, the Young family asks that individuals donate to the Miami Valley Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, as Dan Young said his father was afflicted by the disease.
Visitation is scheduled 10 a.m. to noon Wednesday, Dec. 7 at the Jackson Lytle & Lewis Funeral Home, 322 Xenia Ave.