Ice Cream Trail

Trekking across the Granite State scoop by scoop


By NANCY BEAN FOSTER
Union Leader Correspondent |
July 16. 2013 5:23PM

Elizabeth Hancock of Hopkinton spends her summers scooping ice cream at the Ice Cream Barn at Beech Hill Farm in Hopkinton. (NANCY BEAN FOSTER)







HOPKINTON -- As the heat settles thickly over the Granite State, it's a perfect time to cool off by taking a trip along the New Hampshire Ice Cream Trail.

Created by Granite State Dairy Promotion and the Department of Agriculture, the 2013 New Hampshire Ice Cream Trail features 39 scoop shops that serve up locally made, and in some cases homemade, ice cream.

According to Amy Hall, director of Granite State Dairy Promotion, each year invitations are sent to ice cream shops across the state to participate in expanding the ice cream trail to all corners of New Hampshire. As long as the shops sell ice cream made in New England, they're welcome to have their businesses included on the map, which is available online and at welcome centers around the state.

"It's a map that weaves and winds its way through the state pinpointing places to find the best ice cream," said Hall. "Most people don't realize dairy is a regional product. When you purchase ice cream from a local shop or owner, you're directly supporting family-owned dairy farms in New Hampshire and New England. You're also supporting small business owners."

In Hopkinton, the Ice Cream Trail leads to Beech Hill Farm and Ice Cream Barn, where the Kimball family has been working since 1771, said Holly Kimball.

For years, the Kimballs made and sold their own ice cream and kept a herd of dairy cows, but when the economy took its toll on milk producers in New Hampshire, the family was left with two options: They could sell the farm and its land and just let it go, or they could change their focus from dairy farming to agritourism. They chose the latter.

"The Kimballs are the epitome of agritourism in New Hampshire," said Hall.

At the farm, the dairy barn has been turned into the Ice Cream Barn, where 77 flavors of ice cream and frozen yogurt from Richardson's and Blake's, two of the larger producers in New England, are served.

Folks can shop for plants, pet goats, or watch the sunset over the fields at Beech Hill Farm while eating their cones or make-your-own sundaes.

The map also includes shops where the ice cream is made on site, including Walpole Creamery, Connolly Brothers in Temple, Wicked Good Dairy Delites in North Haverhill and Bishop's in Littleton.

"It's a lot of extra work to make our own ice cream," said Barbara Quinn, who owns Bishop's with her husband Jim. "But that's what it's all about in New Hampshire."

Quinn said she loves the Ice Cream Trail, which brings in people who wouldn't normally stop by to try one of the 22 handmade flavors of ice cream Jim creates each day.

"Being in the North Country, we're sometimes the forgotten part of the state," she said. "But we love that map because it helps people from the southern tier of New Hampshire know we're here."

Quinn said she believes everyone who likes to wander throughout the Granite State should have a copy of the Ice Cream Trail map in their glove compartments.

"It just leads you to all kinds of interesting places and lots of really good ice cream," she said.

The map can be found online at www.nhdairypromo.org.

nfoster@newstote.com

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