Mitchell assumed the role of Washington County Dairy Princess at a ceremony in May.
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Abigail Mitchell was named Washington County Dairy Princess during a ceremony in May.

There’s something “dairy” special about Abigail Mitchell.

“I really didn’t think I was going to get it,” said Mitchell, who enters her junior year at Fort Cherry Junior-Senior High this fall. “It all started when I came to the fair and I saw the dairy promo team. They were all in their sashes, crowns, smiling, interacting with the public. That just seemed awesome to me.”

So awesome that the then-10-year-old Mitchell joined the promotions team, serving as a member for six years. When she began making goat’s milk soap three years ago – her family runs 5M Farm in Burgettstown – Mitchell said she fell in love with dairy.

“I was like, ‘Wow, this industry is really cool,’” Mitchell said. “There’s so many things that people don’t know about it that I wish they did. That’s what makes me really want to teach them.”

Being dairy princess gives Mitchell a platform from which to share her passion with the public. In the two months she’s been dairy princess, the quiet Washington County native – who serves as president of her school’s Animal Antics club and chaplain of the H.G. Parkinson-Fort Cherry FFA – has attended etiquette classes, handed out chocolate milk at 5K finish lines and spent nearly every Wednesday at a local pizza or ice cream shop to support small dairy businesses.

Her favorite dairy product is ice cream but, Mitchell said, “I really enjoy chocolate milk. When it’s in the glass bottle I swear it tastes better.”

In addition to the 35 public appearances and one pageant run required of dairy princesses, Mitchell is taking on a personal project.

So far, Mitchell has toured Cowden Meadows and Linden Creek Dairy farms and is leasing a guernsey from Twin Brook Dairy Co. in Bentleyville. She writes about her experiences, and her mother, Sarah Mitchell, shares the articles on Facebook.

“She’s growing up. She was just a little kid and now she’s matured, taken on this role with such grace,” her mother said. “Watching her grow is fun.”

Abbie’s mother and father, Ian, and her two siblings, an older brother Jacob and younger sister Mackenzie, have been supportive of Mitchell in her new leadership role. The dairy princess said this position has opened her eyes to the importance of the industry.

“Your milk is actually coming from a good place,” said Mitchell. “They love their cows as much as they love their kids.”

Mitchell said it’s important to shop small. Sarah Mitchell said to look for the number 42 or a PA Preferred label on dairy products to ensure you’re buying local.

“It’s cold, it’s fresh,” said Abbie Mitchell. “It’s delicious.”

Last month, 14 of our dairy farms in Maine, as well as dozens of dairy farms across northern New England, got an unexpected and disappointing notice from Danone of North America saying that they were discontinuing their contracts with our organic dairy farmers in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and elsewhere.

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