Digital Exclusive: Lackawanna County dairy farm turns 100

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“It’s not just my grandparent’s store, it’s all of our stores. It’s the community’s store,” Julia Manning, granddaughter of Paul and Jean Manning, said

The family-owned Manning Farm Dairy is celebrating its 100th birthday. It was all started in 1920, by John B Manning. His son, Kenneth, began bottling milk in 1939 and opened the popular ice cream store – simply because it was his favorite dessert. He was told they didn’t have enough traffic to have a successful store.

“But Mr. Manning was very insightful. He did say ‘well thank you for your advice, but I feel if we give a good product we can sell a good product,” Jean Manning, co-owner of Manning Farm Dairy, said.

That ice cream store became popular around the community. Kenneth Manning’s son and current co-owner, Paul, took over along with his wife Jean Manning in 1974. They decided to bring their products to the people, and opened stores in Lackawanna County. Jean Manning says the secret to success is not unknown.

“We work very hard. When you’re on the farm and when you have your own business as many people will say, it’s not a 9 to 5. It’s whatever it takes to keep the business going ’cause there’s always, particularly on a farm, another generation,” Jean Manning said.

Manning’s three sons help run the business. One of their daughters still lives close by, and the other two daughters visit often. Manning says they never went on a family vacation because running the farm is a full time business but…

“I think we never missed out on family togetherness. Usually a vacation, mom and dad stop working and you connect up with your family again. We kind of had a little of that all summer long,” Jean Manning said.

Manning’s granddaughter, Julia, has many fond memories of growing up on the farm.

“We’ve been here for so long. I mean me personally I love exploring my heritage so this place in particular lets me explore so much more than most people have access to,” Julia Manning said.

Julia says people come from all over the world, and also have fond memories of Manning Farm Dairy.

“It touches my heart a little bit to know that we’ve touched so many people. Pretty much even though we’re located locally, we’ve impacted people all across the country,” Julia Manning said.

Jean Manning is 73 and Paul is 74. But they say they have no plans of retiring soon and will stop working on the farm when they can no longer do so.

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