Image by flickr user Adventures of Pam & Frank/used under Creative Commons license

The time of Little League, graduations and sunscreen is upon us, which amounts to one thing — it’s ice cream season. For some, this article may seem superfluous, holding no relevance in the shadow of global turmoil and local unrest. However, for true ice cream aficionados, this article is as relevant as today’s chocolate cone.

Boice Brothers Dairy has been kickin’ it dairy style in Kingston since 1914 on the lane in Midtown which bears its name. The shelves in the offices of the large dairy plant and the adjacent ice cream and dairy store are whimsically lined with some of the antiquated glass dairy bottles once delivered weekly by Pratt Boice himself, aboard his horse and cart. A homegrown operation which now employs Boice’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Boice’s also churns out about 12 flavors of ice cream from its hormone- and antibiotic-free Hudson Valley cows and chickens. In addition to eggs and milk, seven to 12 flavors of Boice’s ice cream are sold in their store located at 62 O’Neill St. next to their plant, either through soft-serve, hard flavors, ice cream cakes or saucers. (We pause to note here, for the satisfaction of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, that due to its butterfat content, soft-serve cannot technically be called “ice cream,” even though pretty much every man, woman and child in the land calls it ice cream. So there.)

The store, which opened in 1999, is managed by Boice’s granddaughter, Sally Ward, who flexes her powerful, bulging ice-cream bicep from scooping and forming cakes all day. A hand-written sign colorfully boasts Boice’s ice cream cake sales numbers which have been trending upwards from 6,487 cakes made in 2007 to 7,163 cakes in 2011. This month is one of the store’s busiest, thanks to Father’s Day and graduations; the store has in Junes past turned out over 800 ice cream cakes.

Ward, the youngest of six Boice siblings, disclosed that her personal favorite flavors are peanut butter cup and cookies and cream and added that vanilla is the most popular seller at the stand. “Vanilla is the top flavor sold in the country,” said Ward. Hidden gem? “Carrot cake,” smiled Ward.

The stand offers a low-fat, low-sugar soft serve that would have you swearing it’s the real thing. There’s also a lactose-free offering.

How does ice cream go from udder to cone? Ward’s brother and plant manager Rich Boice said one pint is filled every four seconds and 100 gallons can be packed in one hour.  The milk and cream go from udder to ice cream bowl in under two weeks. Beat that for freshness.

Adirondack Creamery uses only Boice Dairy products and ingredients for their product, as well as their machines and packing plants. Owner Paul Nasrani said that he produces about 200,000 a year which are distributed along the Hudson Valley in many natural food stores and grocery chains as well as Whole Foods and Fairway Markets inNew York City.

Nasrani explained that the milk which comes from the area dairy farms are sent to Boice’s and pasteurized with the added ingredients of egg yolks and sugar together at 172 degrees within 36 hours of arriving at the plant. Then the mix is churned in with the intended flavors, while being blasted with air to freeze the ice cream all at once at 22-23 degrees, and extruded into another machine as ice cream, which adds the chips or nuts.  Since neither Adirondack Creamery nor Boice dairy ice cream uses any emulsifiers or stabilizers, the product must be frozen at zero degrees and shipped between ten and twenty below zero to maintain its integrity.

The toffee used for Adirondack Creamery’s Barkeater flavor actually comes from Krause’s in Saugerties and the peppermint candy used for peppermint comes from Michael’s Candy inKingston. “Since they are making the peppermint candies especially for us, they make it without the red dye coloring,” said Nasrani. The pint container concurs — “The only red dye in this product is on the label.”

Adirondack loves to keep it local and all-natural. It manufactures kulfi-pistachio ice cream, inspired by the popular South Asian dessert, with pistachio nuts and cardamom (no fake green coloring.) The pumpkin ice cream recipe is Nasrani’s mother’s pumpkin pie recipe, the strawberries used in the Strawberry Moon flavor come from a family farm in Long Island and the coffee used in the coffee bean ice cream is fair-traded coffee roasted in Massachusetts the day before it’s blended in.

Number one top seller?  Vanilla, said Nasrani. “It’s the number one flavor nationally.” Other top sellers are the kulfi-pistachio, Whiteface Mint Chip and Barkeater.

‘Infill’ with a Twist

Uptown Twist is nestled into a very vertical five-by-seven booth space sandwiched between Yum-Yum Noodle Bar and Vezzy’s Sportswear on Fair Street. Uptown Twist owner Sean Griffin likes to refer to this as “Urban Infill.”

“Typically, you have to get in your car and always drive,” said Griffin. “Living in a city, I am accessible and am a model of using space more efficiently.”