Kawartha Dairy Ice Cream

We've asked Ann Adare to kick off Impact 32's new blog space with her fond recollections of Kawartha Dairy to help celebrate their 80th anniversary. You're in for a treat as we take a stroll down Ann's heart-warming memory lane.

Kawartha Dairy Ice Cream

by Ann Adare

Lately, I have been contemplating my love for Kawartha Dairy Ice Cream, which has been spurred to new levels with the recent opening of the proverbial vault to allow Orange Pineapple, my all-time favorite, to come out and play. I have also been thinking about the Crowe family’s generosity and how it overflows much like the oversize scoops on their cones. Eighty years of helping out charitable and worthy causes too numerous to count, employing residents and pleasing us with their treats. I have been trying to write a thank you letter to Kawartha Dairy to let them know how much we truly appreciate everything they do for our lovely little town, most of which I am sure the majority of us will never know, but what to say in my letter, how best to honour the 80th Anniversary?

The Dairy’s wonderful history and story of growth is documented quite nicely on their website so I didn’t feel that simply recounting the history again here would do justice to a proper thank you. During the thought process that one goes through to figure out how best to express a thank you, I realize so many good memories for me somehow feature Kawartha Dairy. There are many others out there too who can recite countless stories of fun times shared with Kawartha Dairy. Whether it be memorable trips to the dairy, a summer job or long-time career, a gathering for a special occasion – the cake topped with one of the many scrumptious flavours of ice cream, or a town event featuring volunteer scoopers doling out free cooling treats to those waiting eagerly in line – we all have fond memories when it comes to Kawartha Dairy.

We do not all agree when it comes to that famously delectable ice cream, even the closest of friends and family can be divided on what is the best flavour, each having their own favorite which in itself stirs memories of friendly family debates and contests to see who would get the say as to which flavour(s) would make the cut on the grocery list in any given week. It is in all of these memories that we can discover what the Kawartha Dairy means to us. So, my thank you to Kawartha Dairy for their 80 years is to share my personal fond memories of how they played a part in our family’s rituals and are firmly woven into the fabric of my life.

Years ago, when my family first started our trips to Bobcaygeon, we rented our cottage from a lovely couple, Bill and Lila Mulligan. Anxious to start our Bobcaygeon adventures, we always seemed to arrive just a little too early. Mrs. Mulligan would emerge from the cottage, apron on, broom and duster in hand to let us know that she wasn’t quite ready for us. Dad would always say, “Hmmm, I wonder what we can do while we wait”. Mrs. Mulligan would wink and disappear back into the cottage and come out carrying two warm wet wash clothes. My sister and I would race back to the car, we knew where we were going.

The second phase of our arrival ritual, and certainly the most keenly anticipated, was about to begin. Off to Kawartha Dairy we would go for Orange Pineapple cones. Dad was always very fussy with his cars and we were not allowed to eat in them. When it came to ice cream, this was probably a very good rule. We sat on the grass, the ice cream was eaten slowly, savored, which ultimately resulted in rivers of lovely goo running down arms and sometimes being licked from dripping elbows. The messier we got as we ate the better, as it simply served to enhance the experience but of course Mom had the trusty wash cloths at the ready. Mom sometimes strayed to the Strawberry and my sister, well she was adventurous and tried a different flavour every time she had the chance, but Dad and I we were staunch supporters of the Orange Pineapple.

We would sit and map out our summer to come, making decisions between mouthfuls of goodness. We planned trips to the library to find books to read under a cooling tree in the hot summer sun or snuggled into a window seat on a rainy day. Would the library have the Nancy Drew and Tin Tin books we hadn’t yet read? We took bets on who would catch, and of course release, the most frogs in the old boathouse and ventured guesses on how many tanks of gas we would consume driving back and forth between the cottage and Boyd Island for hikes and lunches. We wondered what rides would be at the summer street carnival, what the story of the day would be at Norm’s Variety and whether or not this would be the year that I finally mastered water skis. I was a late bloomer in that regard. We assigned bedrooms and summer chores – somehow, no matter how hard I negotiated, I always ended up being responsible for cutting the grass.

With plans made, it was time to complete the special annual journey and we bundled back into the car and headed to the Lake. There were regular trips to the dairy all summer long but it was that first well-orchestrated “early arrival” trip each year that was a necessity to start the season off properly.

As the summer unfolded, the trips to the dairy didn’t always include the entire family. Sometimes my Dad and I would head into town to pick up a few things and by a few things I mean that all important ice cream. Moments in time, just the two of us, Dad and Daughter time.The ritual turned from summer plans over ice cream to life plans – the two of us chatting over ice cream. We talked of my new-found summer friends, some of whom were boys! We shared hopes and dreams for education, career and family, Dad sharing stories of his youth always with a lesson in there somewhere – never judging, always guiding. Dad counseled me to show kindness to others but to do so without the expectation of reward, to work hard and always do your best – report card marks weren’t as important as the comments about effort. It is ironic when I reflect on it now, being schooled on that while sitting in front of a business that exemplifies generosity and the giving spirit, a family business that has consistently given it their all.

Time moved on, our go-to Orange Pineapple was put away by the dairy, Dad switched to Maple Walnut, I to Pralines and Cream, but the sharing ritual continued. Eventually full-time moves were made to Bobcaygeon, cherished family passed and the generations have unfolded, but stories, plans and lessons continue to be shared at the door step of the dairy. Dad is gone and my Mom’s memory is fading, so for Mom and I there is a comfort in that visit for ice cream, that feeling that good times happened here and we sit and enjoy the warmth of that.

Thank you, Kawartha Dairy, for all that you do, Bobcaygeon would just not be the same without you and as you continue to expand beyond your first little town and as new generations experience all that you bring to us, know that you are not only touching taste buds but you are truly touching our hearts. Happy 80th Anniversary.