Getting off the subway at the Farragut West 17th Street exit at noontime yesterday, one could have followed the trail of ice-cream-cone eaters to the National Grange headquarters at 1616 H St. NW, where they were giving two-scoop portions away.

It was the third year in a row that Potomac Grange No. 1 has mobilized scoopers from national Grange headquarters to serve as hosts to all comers. It was the Grange's celebration of National Ice Cream Day.

Those who visited found cherry vanilla, peach, plain vanilla and Swiss chocolate available, brought by Potomac Grange master Harry Massey from the Embassy plant in Baltimore. Massey scooped my own cherry vanilla cone.

Among the neighbors who came by was Richard L. Lesher, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, whose office is across the street.

One of the grangers dishing up the treat was Bob Frederick, legislative director of the National Grange. "How does it feel scooping up ice cream rather than lobbying for farmers on Capitol Hill?" Metro Scene asked. "It's easier," he replied.

Judy Massabny, the Grange's public relations officer, said 465 people came by for cones, about 100 more than last year.