Rejoice, readers, for today is the happiest day in the calendar: National Ice Cream Day! It’s time to go nuts — or skip the nuts and do rainbow sprinkles instead.
Unlike some more dubious national holidays we could mention, National Ice Cream Day actually has real roots: in 1984, President Ronald Reagan issued a proclamation naming July 15, 1984, National Ice Cream Day as a way to recognize “a nutritious and wholesome food enjoyed by over 90% of people in the United States.” Not even just that — Reagan declared the entire month of July to be National Ice Cream Month. Ever since, the dairy industry has promoted the third Sunday in July as the time to honor what the Gipper called “the perfect dessert.”
Greater Fall River has a rich and creamy assortment of ice cream shops to help you mark the National Ice Cream Day festivities with maximum deliciousness. We spoke to the folks at just a few of them to learn your favorite flavors, their own personal favorites, and what unique flavors they’d create in their dreams.
Ice Cream Barn
The Ice Cream Barn is a local landmark, part of Baker Farm, a sixth-generation working farm in Swansea.
What’s popular? “Our most popular flavor by volume, typically, is vanilla,” said co-owner Tom Seiter. “It goes in everything: sundaes, banana splits, pints, milk shakes, floats, etc. It is the classic American flavor. We pride ourselves on the quality of vanilla that we use; many ice cream critics will compare vanillas from different producers to gauge the best ice cream. We use an extract blend that we feel is the best vanilla blend possible.”
What’s his favorite? Seiter said he goes for Cranberry Jubilee. “We use organic cranberries from Fresh Meadows Farm in Carver, boil them with some sugar until they are plump and juicy, add the cranberry juices to the ice cream base, then mix in almonds, chocolate chunks, and the cranberries back into the ice cream. It is delightful!”
Dream flavors? “Our focus at the Ice Cream Barn is on using locally-grown ingredients to blend with the dairy from our farm to create truly magnificent locally-grown concoctions. I’d like to do more with peaches, cherries, or other stone fruits, cantaloupes, or really, just anything other delicious locally-grown item. The possibilities are endless!”
The Ice Cream Barn is at 289 Locust St., Swansea. It’s open noon to 9:30 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday, and noon to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Somerset Creamery has been satisfying local people with homemade ice cream since 1937.
What’s popular? “Our most popular flavor is coffee Oreo, followed by Cranberry Bog, vanilla (used a lot in frappes and sundaes), then cookie dough,” said Somerset Creamery third-generation ice cream maker Matt Berube.
What’s his favorite? “As far as my personal favorites, they are cookie dough, pistachio and peanut butter Oreo.”
Dream flavors? “We have a small ice cream maker that we use for test batches so when we dream up a flavor, we usually give it a whirl. Some of the more notable creations have been honey mustard pretzel, fireball (cinnamon and capsaicin — it was HOT!), avocado … we even had an employee make barbecue sauce ice cream (it was not good).”
Somerset Creamery has two locations in Somerset: 1931 GAR Highway and 146 County St. They’re open from noon to 10 p.m. every day. There’s a third location on Cape Cod, in the Cataumet village of Bourne.
The Moose Café
The Moose Café in Tiverton serves up breakfast, sandwiches and coffee too – but they’re known for having a mind-boggling assortment of more than 330 ice cream flavors guaranteed to cause analysis paralysis.
What’s popular? “The most popular flavor is and has always been vanilla,” said Moose Café co-owner Sarah Federico. “Second in demand is coffee, kind of boring considering our menu features 330-plus flavors, but that’s what it is.”
Dream flavors? “We currently are making ube ice cream. It’s a Hawaiian/Polynesian extract taken from a purple sweet potato or ube. The color is an intense purple and the flavor is akin to nuts or buttered popcorn. We also are bringing back ‘eleccitricy’! It’s a lemon-lime flavored ice cream with crushed Sichuan buttons, which are little yellow flowers that when put in the mouth give off a buzz similar to a small electric charge. It’s a different ice cream experience to say the least! It is fun to experiment with what we can actually incorporate into flavors. Our most outlandish mix was a salted caramel quahog flavor. We chopped up the cooked quahog into tiny bits. Most people that tried it thought they were eating mixed nuts and they enjoyed it!”
The Moose Café is at 1160 Stafford Road, Tiverton. It’s open from Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Gray’s Ice Cream
Gray’s at Tiverton’s Four Corners differs from some ice cream parlors in that it’s open year-round — feel free to celebrate National Ice Cream Day every day if you want. This is America! Do what you want!
What’s popular? “As a Rhode Island favorite, Gray’s is known for coffee everything,” said Eunice Kim, manager of the Gray’s location in Bristol. “Coffee ice cream, coffee frappes and coffee made with our homemade coffee syrup.”
What’s her favorite? “I would have to agree that our coffee is pretty awesome, but ginger is also a fan favorite, and one that I consider especially refreshing on a hot summer day.”
Dream flavors? “Pistachio pineapple is a flavor that would be nice to see back on the specials rotation. It was a hit when we made it once back in the day.”
Gray’s has two locations: 16 East Road, Tiverton, and 259 Thames St., Bristol. The Tiverton location is open 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Bristol is open noon to 10 p.m.
Simcock Farm has a quaint ice cream shop up front, and a bunch of adorable farm animals who love to get petted in the back.
What’s popular? “Our most popular, I want to say, is coffee, because we have a lot of coffee frappes,” said employee Corinne Morhy.
What’s her favorite? “Can I do multiple favorite ice creams? I have strawberry cheesecake, coconut, caramel brownie, and Moose Tracks.”
Dream flavors? “I would probably do a nice vanilla-based ice cream — I like my vanilla-based ice creams – with marshmallow in it, and a rainbow sprinkle swirl, and maybe some nuts in it too. I think that would be really good.”
Simcock Farm is at 293 Marvel St., Swansea. It’s open Monday to Friday, 2 to 8:30 p.m. and weekends from 1 to 8:30 p.m.
Dan Medeiros can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Herald News today.