One of the summer’s greatest pleasures is visiting your local ice cream shop to enjoy a favorite flavor or try something new. That simple, wondrous pleasure has held throughout the challenging past few years of the pandemic, creating a 6% increase in U.S. production and sales, which translate to 1 billion gallons of ice cream sold!
Blue Cow Ice Cream Company is one Virginia craft ice cream business that enjoyed some of that sales success. Owned by husband and wife team Jason and Carolyn Kiser, Blue Cow has thrived during the pandemic as a source of comfort and joy in several Virginia communities.
The couple started the business with a goal to deliver quality, small-batch food that brings happiness to customers. Choosing a name with a nod to the Blue Ridge mountains that span Virginia, their philosophy has remained focused on providing local customers with delicious ice cream crafted from locally-sourced, wholesome ingredients. That means the couple loves working with nearby dairy farmers and other food growers in the region, creating their own local food community to serve the health and well-being of their neighbors.
When the pandemic struck, like many food businesses, things became uncertain for the Blue Cow team. Ice Cream shops thrive on counter service. The Kisers needed to find a way to serve their unique flavors while observing social distancing. Jason noted, “We’re a walk-up business. People like to come in and sit in the store and experience the shop,” but that wasn’t workable in 2020.
The couple realized that selling by the pint rather than the scoop was the way to go, and the Roanoke and Virginia Beach communities ate it up. It was such a great solution that the two didn’t have to pause plans to open a third location in Fredericksburg in spring 2021.
Now, for the summer of 2022, the fourth Blue Cow Ice Cream shop is opening in Richmond. It’s been quite a ride for this small family business. Their vision of scooping up locally-sourced goodness has taken them from a neighborhood treat spot to what is shaping up to be a strong Virginia brand.
But they aren’t the only players in the Virginia ice cream scene. Here are some more locally-crafted ice cream shops and products you can check out. It sounds like a summer road trip to hit all the spots on a Virginia Ice Cream Trail is in order!
Check out these other local ice cream shops that feature local ingredients:
Bev’s Homemade Ice Cream (Richmond)
Bluegrass Creamery (Charlottesville)
Blue Cow Ice Cream (Roanoke)
Chandler’s Ice Cream (Charlottesville)
Charm School (Richmond)
Cowbell Ice Cream (Leesburg)
Gelati Celesti (Richmond)
Ice Cream Jubilee (Arlington)
La Moo Creamery (Arlington)
Mimi’s Handmade (Arlington)
Nice Cream (Arlington)
Red Fox Creamery (Winchester)
Ruby Scoops (Richmond)
Sabor Michoacano (Williamsburg)
Sub Zero Nitrogen Ice Cream (Virginia Beach)
Toby’s Homemade Ice Cream (Arlington)
Virginia Ice Cream Manufacturers
Beyond walk-in shops, Virginia has its fair share of ice cream manufacturers. Whether they’re selling ice cream wholesale to other resellers, or as franchises for individual ice cream shops, here’s the scoop on ice cream production in Virginia!
Homestead Creamery (Wirtz)
Moo Thru (Remington)
Nightengale Ice Cream Sandwiches (Richmond)
Sugar Bear (Charlottesville)
Bonus note: Even though the Hershey Corporation is headquartered in Pennsylvania, Hershey ice cream is manufactured in Winchester, Virginia! Learn about their company mission at the M S Hershey Foundation — they’ve been doing GOOD since 1935.
Did we miss anyone? Be sure to submit them to our DINE list!
VAfoodie.com is reader supported and our lists are community-sourced. When you buy through links on our site we may earn a small commission. Blue Cow Ice Cream Co. is a client of our parent company, Water Street Marketing for Manufacturers.