After many years of traveling with my kids, I’ve finally discovered how to get a unanimous response when I ask if they’d like to go somewhere. It’s simple. Offer them ice cream.
And when it comes to ice cream, there is one brand that is high on our list of favorites; Velvet Ice Cream, which is produced in Utica, Ohio. We’ve visited Ye Olde Mill, which shares the grounds and building with the Velvet Ice Cream factory for years. Though we never fail to buy a cone with a scoop or two of the good stuff, we’ve never taken the time to arrange to go on a tour.
When we were offered the chance to get a behind the scenes glimpse of the Velvet Ice Cream Factory, my teens agreed that this was one experience that we could not pass up.
Like many great products, Velvet Ice Cream had humble beginnings. It was first created in the basement of Ritchey’s Confectionary in Utica by a Lebanese immigrant, Joseph Dager in 1914.
Built with a strong work ethic and family values, Velvet Ice Cream, has been family owned and operated ever since. Today Velvet produces a delicious premium ice cream using simple ingredients, fresh milk, cream, sugar and plenty of add-ins.
Donning lab coats and hair nets, we learned and saw how the ice cream is produced from its start as a vanilla based mix…
to being dispensed into cylindrical containers…
to being transported via the freeze tunnel into the freezers. With temperatures to –130 degrees, the freeze tunnel freezes the ice cream in route to the freezer, preserving the taste of the product.
A highlight of the tour was eating fresh vanilla ice cream right off the assembly line. It was creamy and delicious.
Today Velvet Ice Cream Factory produces over six million gallons of ice cream each year. There is a flavor for everyone, including gluten-free vanilla, strawberry and chocolate and Velvet Churned flavors that offer half the fat and one-third less calories without sacrificing the creamy taste or texture.
In addition to their own brand, Velvet Ice Cream also creates private label brands and distribute popular brands like Ben and Jerry’s and other national brand novelty treats.
After our tour we had the pleasure of tasting a sampling of popular flavors, including Buckeye Classic, Raspberry Fudge Cordial and Ultimate Cookies and Cream. Yes, we really suffered.
Buckeye Classic is one of the best selling flavors and a new favorite for my family, I even stopped at Kroger and picked up a gallon so we could introduce Buckeye Classic to my husband. Imagine peanut butter ice cream with mini-buckeye candies (balls of chocolate and peanut butter) and thick fudge. Is your mouth watering, yet?
Delicious ice cream may be the biggest draw to visiting Ye Olde Mill, but there is much more to do here. Join me Monday when I share 10 Reasons to Visit Ye Olde Mill that don’t (Necessarily) include Ice Cream.
I know you want to go too, right? You can schedule your own free factory tour Monday- Friday, May to October or set up a field trip for your homeschool or school group, scouting troop or church group, which includes a free sample of ice cream.
Plan Your Visit
Location: About 40 minutes east of Columbus at 11324 Mount Vernon Road Utica, Ohio 43080
Hours: Open Daily May through October, hours vary. Check the website for the most up to date hours.
Cost: Free admission. Free parking with plenty of space for tour buses and RV’s.
Social Media: Follow Velvet Ice Cream on Facebook and on Twitter.
Disclaimer: My family was invited to Ye Olde Mill for a private tour of the Velvet Ice Cream Factory. Ice cream samples were provided and I’d be lying if I said that did not influence the opinions in this post. Come on people, we’re talking about ice cream. Nuff said!
Seriously, we may have received the tour and samples for free, but I was not monetarily compensated for this post. I was not even asked to blog about our experience, but hey, that’s what I do. I blog. Of course I’m going to share. However, when accepting the tour invitation, I was already pretty sure it was going to be a great experience, based on the past experiences that my family has had at this attraction. Phew. That’s it. Disclaimer over.
Michele @ Malaysian Meanders
Tuesday 24th of July 2012
My kids are like yours. They love oce cream. This sounds like a fantastic tour. I like that they actually let you on the factory floor. Texas has Blue Bell Ice Cream, but that factory tour just had us looking down through a window from a hallway above the machinery. Buckeye Classic sounds amazing.
Wednesday 25th of July 2012
Michele, We've been on tours that are above the factory floor too and it's just doesn't have the same affect. I think that's one of the reasons that my kids enjoyed this one so much. We could smell the ice cream in the tanks and feel the rush of cold sweep over us when we stepped into the freezer! This is one tour they aren't likely to forget.
Andi at The Particular Traveler
Monday 23rd of July 2012
Yum! This is my kind of tour! So interesting to see how the ice cream is made :-)
Becca@R We There Yet Mom?
Friday 20th of July 2012
You had me at ICE CREAM!! And touring behind the scenes??? Awesome!!!
Thanks for linking up with us!
Phyllis at All Things Beautiful
Friday 20th of July 2012
I have never heard of Velvet ice cream, but it looked like a great tour.
Friday 20th of July 2012
Buckeye classic sounds delicious! I was more enthused about the fact that Velvet distributed Ben and Jerry's until you got to describing the Buckeye ice cream. Now my curiosity is peaked, and I guess I'll be on the lookout for some in the future.