Origin story: an ice cream passion begins

Every great epic has an origin story.

When it comes to my ice cream passion, it all started back on the family farm in Upstate New York. I had an opportunity to go home this weekend and revisit some of that history.

O.A. Borden & Sons, Inc., or Borden’s, as it is more commonly known, is a seventh generation dairy farm and apple orchard in the town of Easton, NY (a little speck of a town that has no stop lights or even a post office, so technically our mailing address is the very un-pronounceable town of Schaghticoke). It’s a special place, where my parents, brother and his family, other uncles and cousins still live, and spend long hard hours operating the farm.

The Bordens have been in the dairy business since 1837, so I guess you could say milk practically runs in these-here veins!

Borden’s old dairy milking facility.


We have supplied our milk to a local processor called Stewart’s since 1985, and have since made sure to keep solid supply of their famous ice cream made from our milk, which we stored in a massive 19 cubic foot freezer in the basement and replenished during every ice cream sale to satiate our undying hunger for that special treat after meals. Yum!

The infamous ice cream freezer!

So I eventually learned that this wasn’t normal. But, I can’t complain. First off, I’ve developed a discerning pallet for quality ice cream (although I think you’ll find I’m not a snob about it; there are plenty of days when a $1 cone from Burger King will do the trick.) Second, I have a strong appreciation for farm-to-spoon stories.

Selections typically found in the family freezer. (Supply is looking low; time to restock soon!)

I feel pretty lucky that I can revisit the past from time to time. The farm looks a bit different today, but the ice cream is no less sweet. In fact, if anything, absence makes the heart (and taste buds) grow fonder.

View from the new dairy barn.

I’m also glad to see a future generation have the opportunity to grow up in Easton, learn where their milk, cheese and ice cream come from, and maybe become a little disillusioned themselves about what is normal ice cream consumption. I wish all kids these days could get that kind of education.

My nieces playing in the new dairy barn. The cows look on with mild interest.

You can learn more about the history of the farm Borden here.  The Stewart’s story is an interesting one, too.

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