As the weather warms up, there’s no better way to celebrate summer than with a great cone of ice cream. Somehow, nothing says “Summer!” like ice cream, a treat we love watching our kids enjoy and one that never gets boring or old. Whatcom County is home to some spectacular ice cream and gelato makers who are coming up with innovative new flavors each season. If you need a feel-good treat for your day, something cool, sweet, colorful and unique, here’s where to get it!
Like the sound of ice cream in flavors including butter pecan, fudge brownie, dark chocolate and espresso? Then you need to visit Acme Ice Cream in Fairhaven. Acme Ice Cream comes from Acme, Washington, a small dairy town along the Nooksack River in the shadow of Mt. Baker. The company uses local, hormone-free milk from Whatcom County cows for its ice cream, which, it says, is made with “lots more cream” and “never any air,” resulting in “a much purer ice cream.”
Flavors like fudge brownie contain fudge brownies baked from scratch, the chocolate chip contains melted dark chocolate swirls, and the nuts for butter pecan are freshly roasted. For as many of its ingredients as possible, Acme partners with local farmers and coffee roasters. Check it out at 1021 Harris Ave. (inside the Rocket Donuts store), or online at www.acmeicecream.com.
Edaleen Dairy is just around the corner from Sirena in Fairhaven and is another local favorite, owned by Brandsma Family. Edaleen is a combo of the names Ed and Aileen Brandsma, who started the small family business in Lynden back in 1975, and all their ice cream is made using dairy from the family farm’s 2,500-plus milking Holstein cows.
Flavors include chocolate raspberry cookie, black licorice, caramel cashew and coconut almond bliss. With 24 flavors to choose from you can spend a long time tasting before you make a selection – the choice is that difficult. Once you do, though, you’ll notice the cost is very light on the pocketbook.
Edaleen’s is the most reasonably priced ice cream in the county, and one of the few places where a kid can get a scoop for $1.50. Larger scooped cones cost $3.50-$4.50 depending on whether you get hard ice cream or soft serve. But if you’re feeling adventurous try the grasshopper, a dish of mint ice cream, hot fudge, chocolate chips, oreos, whipped cream and cherries ($5.49). In addition to Fairhaven, Edaleen has ice cream stores in Lynden, Blaine, Sumas and Ferndale. Some are open as late as 10pm. Just don’t visit on Sundays – all the stores are shuttered on Sundays.
Check out Edaleen Dairy at edaleendairy.com or visit at:
- 1200 10th St #104, Bellingham
- 9593 Guide Meridian Rd., Lynden
- 1011 E. Grover St., Lynden
- 458 Peace Portal Way, Blaine
- 908 Cherry St., Sumas
- 5905 Portal Way Unit 103, Ferndale
LaFeen’s Family Pride Donuts & Ice Cream is a longtime local favorite establishment, better known for its beautifully frosted donuts than its ice cream. But the small family-owned store on Electric, ’round the corner from Bloedel Donovan Park and Whatcom Falls, stocks 16 flavors of ice cream from Tillamook, Edaleen and Cascade Glacier. Flavors include coffee almond fudge marble brickle, salted caramel and kiddie favorites like rainbow sherbert, bubblegum and cotton candy. Cones start at $2.75 and promise to take the edge off a hot beach day at the lake.
Mallard is a much-loved downtown Bellingham institution where the ice cream is so good, there’s almost always a line to order. Flavor tags are handwritten on a chalkboard above the counter, walls are brightly painted and a shelf is kept stocked with board games, crayons and activities to keep kids busy while their parents are ordering. Ben Scholz, Mallards’ owner, made his name in the business with homemade ice cream and a selection of creative, innovative flavors you won’t see in most ice cream shops. There’s cheesecake, yerba matte, assam tea, vanilla malt, brown butter and coconut flake. Vegans or lactose-free seekers will love the choice of non-dairy flavors – chocolate coconut ice and strawberry lemonade ice to name a couple.
Check out Mallards at 1323 Railroad Ave. Bellingham and att www.mallardicecream.com.
Founded in Fairhaven in 2005, Sirena Gelato at 960 Harris Street is a family-owned enterprise whose incredible gelatos are all made in Bellingham. The day we visited there were 16 choices, each one presented with seductively artistic swirls in the ice cream case. With flavors including forest berry, rose, Stracciatella, Madagascar vanilla, Thai coconut, raspberry lemonade and slow roasted pistachio, the hardest part of a visit to Sirena is narrowing down your selection.
Those watching their calorie intake will be thrilled at the many fat-free and dairy-free options at Sirena, which has a second store in Kirkland. These are the only two locations you’ll find their gelato. Company owners, mother-son duo Robin and Brian Ugurlu have deliberately opted to stay small, to preserve the quality of their small-batch, hand-made product. If you’re not in the mood for a scooped ice cream, try a caffe affogato, a gelato cookie sandwich, a gourmet popsicle or a milkshake. Prices range from $3.75 for a kid-size scoop up to $6.25 for four scoops.
Cool Stats on Ice Cream
- The US is number two in the top five ice cream consuming countries in the world (measured per capita, in gallons per year)
- 87%: Americans who report having ice cream in their freezer at any given time
- 48: average number of ice cream pints Americans enjoy each year
- 50: number of licks it takes to finish a single scoop
- Brain Freeze: the phrase used to describe the feeling when ice cream touches the roof of your mouth