OK, so it’s not officially the best ice cream in the United States. But a girl’s entitled to a little hyperbole in her blog post titles. And as I’ve made my passion for ice cream well known around these parts (see here and here for example) I think I am qualified to serve as some kind of judge. And this ice cream is fantastic – about as rich and creamy as any I’ve ever tasted.
Woodside Farm Creamery sells its ice cream by the ounce and is famous for the huge number of flavors it offers (some of which are pretty adventurous – there’s one called Motor Oil and they also make Mushroom ice cream for the eponymous annual festival in nearby Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, which, by the way, happens to be the mushroom capital of the world). I’d be hard pressed to choose my favorite although both the Peach and the Raspberry Chip are superb. In the fall I love to buy pints of the Pumpkin ice cream to serve on top of apple pie. And the boys love Dirt: Chocolate ice cream stuffed with crushed Oreos and gummy worms.
And it’s not just the ice cream that brings me to Woodside Farm (and in fact, you don’t have to travel to the farm to get the ice cream – many local restaurants and stores sell it) it’s the atmosphere. Tucked into a small corner in the middle of miles of suburban sprawl, the farm feels like a small refuge of simple pleasures. The same family has farmed this land since 1796, and the ice cream parlor inhabits an old storage shed, which sits on the front lawn of a stone farmhouse surrounded by azalea and lilac bushes. Over the top of a small rise the brown Jersey cows who provide the milk and cream graze peacefully. It’s a great place to show your kids where ice cream actually gets its start.
On Saturdays they host bluegrass jams all afternoon, so if you want you can stop by with your fiddle or bass to join in.
And on summer evenings, grownups linger at the sticky picnic tables while children race and play tag around the huge tree in the center of the lawn. As the sun goes down, fireflies blink, the cows have gone to bed, and the sweet richness lingers on the tongue.
Woodside Farm is located at 1310 Little Baltimore Road in Hockessin, Delaware. They are open daily from the end of March through November and are an easy drive from any of the Brandywine Valley attractions including Winterthur, Hagley, or Longwood Gardens. It’s definitely worth the trip (and the wait in line).