You scream, I scream, we all scream for ICE CREAM! It's a special dessert outing that has become a family tradition for many (Let's go out for ice cream!), and even the grown ups feel like a kid when they're licking a cone. So many flavors to choose from... Will it be a cone or a bowl? Two scoops or one? Sprinkles or hot fudge? To help you decide, how about taking the family on an ice cream tour this summer? You’ve done the usual RV stops at National Parks, so this summer treat yourself and the family to a childhood favorite! Here are five fun places you can adventure to a la mode:
Owned and operated by the Hansen family since 1861, the Farm Fresh Dairy offers guests a hands-on tour of the working farm and dairy. You can request for the tour to be hands-on, meaning in addition to the regular activities, you can also feed a calf, milk a cow by hand, make homemade butter and pet a wallaby.
Tours are available Monday through Saturday all year long, but visitors are encouraged to come late March to early November, and be sure to make an appointment. If the complimentary ice cream isn't enough, you can also visit Moo Roo in Waterloo, just nine miles up the road. That's Hansen's retail store, which includes their complete dairy line, ice cream, soft-serve, ice cream pies and cakes, and their Moo Roo signature chocolate cake roll with ice cream.
Scooping it since 1978, Ben & Jerry's is still “living the dream of making the best possible ice cream in the nicest way. They also offer a tour through their Waterbury Factory. The tour begins in the Cow Over the Moon theater with a company history moo-vie. Find out how two childhood friends, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, turned a $5.00 correspondence course on ice cream making into a very successful business that shares its success with its employees, & the community & has fun doing it! At the end of the tour visitors are taken to the flavor room to sample the flavor of the day! Mmmmmm! There are outdoor activities as well. You can visit the cows in the pasture, the Flavor Graveyard (where retired flavors have gone to rest) and plenty of space for picnicking.
They are open seven days a week, year ‘round except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas and New Years Day, but you’ll want to visit their website for seasonal information such as hours and tour information.
Started in 1992, this all natural ice cream became popular almost over night! There’s often a 20 minute wait just to get in the door and that’s not the only exciting fact about this ice cream shop – they use all organic ingredients, making them green!
“We make every effort to minimize our footprint on the planet as we create our products. We strive to be a "Leave no Trace" facility.” They have over 150 flavors and even offer additional flavors per request! Popular flavors of their organic ice cream include Island Coconut, Mexican Chocolate and Green Tea. The tour is free, but you do have to make an appointment.
Homeland Creamery is owned and operated by Chris and Jayne and David and Terry Bowman. They are the sixth generation of farmers on the same homestead that have operated this dairy since the 1930′s. They believe that children should have the opportunity to learn that our food (including milk) is produced on a farm and is not just a product of the local grocery store.
On the Dairy Tour…Your actual tour (about 1-1/2 hours) will be divided into several stages, starting with a hayride (20 min.). You will see a beautiful view of the family farm & crops from the cows in the pasture to baby calves being bottle fed, and get a first-hand look at the milk parlor. The group will get a better understanding of how milk gets from the cow to the grocery store. Of course, the tour ends with a sample from their own creamery-made ice cream.
While no weekend tours are available, the farm is open Monday through Friday, with tours beginning at 10 a.m. Admission is $6 a person, ages 2 and older. You will need to call to make a reservation.
Don't be turned away by the name of this one - this cheese company, founded in 1984, also has a very cool fun experience for you. Request the Family Fun Ice Cream Activity and you’ll find yourself creating your own homemade individual frozen dairy dessert. Basic ingredients for vanilla ice cream are put in "magic jars." Director of education and public relations at Hilmar, Denise Skidmore, says “It’s really fun, if you end up with a milkshake, obviously you've done something wrong. This experience is all about learning the old-fashioned process."
For more information on tour hours you’ll want to visit their website.
There you have it, five fabulous farms serving it up frozen cream style. Embrace your inner child and indulge in the icy goodness, but not too fast – BRAIN FREEZE!