From the Cow to the Cone: Vermont's Homemade Ice Cream!

By Samantha Kolber

Summer in Vermont can be summed up in two words: ice cream. We have mountains for hiking and exploring, lakes for swimming and boating, attractions and markets, but equally enjoyable is our homemade ice cream! It's irresistible, really.

Plus, the Vermont ice cream industry supports our agricultural heritage and pristine landscapes. The cows on our hillsides aren't here just to dot the landscape, though they sure are pretty. Vermont's cows are busy producing milk and cream, the key ingredients in fresh ice cream. So the more Vermont ice cream you eat, the more you support local dairy farms and farmers. As you visit Vermont, be sure to seek out a taste of the dairy bounty.

For a sample of homemade ice cream that you can help make yourself, visit the Billings Farm & Museum in Woodstock. Stop in for their Ice Cream Sundays, at noon and 3:00 p.m every Sunday from July 17 to September 18. Gather around the farm educator and take turns cranking the old fashioned, mid 1800s ice cream maker and watch the sweet cream, milk and sugar turn into ice cream. Then taste your sweet concoction, served in a little cone. A different flavor is made each time, with flavors varying from cantaloupe to chocolate. This fun ice cream making event is interactive for all ages, and educational, too. Don't forget to visit the dairy cows on the farm and say thanks! Admission to the Ice Cream Sundays event includes all programs, activities, and exhibits at the Billings Farm & Museum (

In Quechee, pop over to the Frozen Memories ice cream shop to enjoy 20 plus flavors of homemade ice cream and sorbet. Located upstairs from the Farmers' Diner in the Quechee Gorge Village, this quaint ice cream shop is appointed in 1940s ice cream parlor décor, where “everything is old but the ice cream!” Open year-round, Frozen Memories ice cream shop also has a picture window offering mountainside views, and an antique jukebox, so you can enjoy your fresh ice cream in nostalgic style ( 

Further north in the Capital City of Montpelier, Birchgrove Baking dishes up homemade ice cream with flavors ranging from Key Lime Pie and Chocolate Peanut Butter to fresh Strawberry and Blackberry made with berries from local farms. Created  in small batches of two pints at a time, this ice cream is fresh and delicious, made from scratch with local seasonal ingredients. The homemade caramel, made by hand from caramelized sugar, cream infused with vanilla, and Cabot butter, enhances the gooey deliciousness of the Vanilla Caramel Chocolate Crispie flavored ice cream, for example. Flavors vary by season, so grab a pint to take away, try a 6-ounce serving in a dish, or an ice cream sandwich made with homemade cookies, including gluten free options!  Ice cream at Birchgrove is available year-round (

Beyond the small-scale ice cream maker, Vermont is also home to the famous Ben and Jerry's ice cream brand. In Vermont, the company can make up to 250,000 pints per day! With their factory in Waterbury and seven scoop shops around the state, it's fairly easy to have your hand at a cone, dish, or shake of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream. Find Ben and Jerry's in Manchester, Rutland, Waterbury, South Burlington and Burlington ( Don't forget Free Cone Day on April 12, 2011, at all participating scoop shops worldwide!

An interesting twist in ice cream making is seen from Artesano, a Vermont creamery and meadery that produces wine from fruit and honey, and premium ice cream from fresh local ingredients. Ice cream is available by the cone, pint, quart, or 2.5 gallons, with custom flavor requests accepted! Visit their meadery and creamery in Groton to learn how to turn honey into wine and ice cream (

Some homemade Vermont ice cream is only available in stores and restaurants: Island Homemade Ice Cream, made in the Champlain Islands of Vermont, is committed to being fresh, local, and organic, with fun flavors such as Vermont Maple Bacon, Island Coconut, and the more traditional flavors ( Also, look for Vermont-made Leonardo's Italian Gelato and Sorbet from Barre (, and organic ice cream made in small batches on the farm from Strafford Organic Creamery (

We encourage you to indulge in the irresistible flavors and freshness of Vermont's homemade ice cream.  And remember, the beginning of our favorite frozen treat starts with the dairy cow – ubiquitous in the green fields and mountains of Vermont!

(For more information on the Vermont ice cream industry, please visit 
The Scoop on Ice Cream

  • It takes 12 pounds of milk to make 1 gallon of ice cream.
  • In 2009, Vermont was home to 135,000 dairy cows producing 2.469 million pounds of milk.
  • Americans consume about 15 quarts of ice cream per person per year.
  • About 90% of the nation's population consumes ice cream.
  • Salt water freezes at minus (-) 6º F, a temperature lower than fresh water, which freezes at around 32º F, thus making salt a key player in the ice cream making process.
  • In 1984, Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month, with the third Sunday (this year July 17, 2011) designated as National Ice Cream Day!


Vermont's Ice Cream Producers

Artesano Handmade Ice Cream
1334 Scott Hwy.
Groton, VT 05046

Ben & Jerry’s Homemade, Inc.
1281 Waterbury-Stowe Rd.
Waterbury, VT 05676

Birchgrove Baking
279 Elm St.
Montpelier, VT 05602

These are manufacturers only, not open for visits. Look for their brand name in stores and restaurants:

Homemade Island Ice Cream
Grand Isle, VT

Leonardo’s Italian Gelato and Sorbet
Barre, VT

Strafford Organic Creamery
Strafford, VT

Wilcox - Vermont’s Original Ice Cream
Manchester Center, VT