First, but not least, one of the always impressive blue heron, catching brunch in the 'green pond' (click on photo to get the full effect)...
Sunday, May 31, 2009
First, but not least, one of the always impressive blue heron, catching brunch in the 'green pond' (click on photo to get the full effect)...
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
So with the lull in the action today, I took the opportunity to make up a few flavors that have been swirling around in my head for a while. The first, Mimosa sorbet...
And for those that prefer a more hoppy adult beverage, I also got a chance to make another beer flavor today. It's not exactly the Guiness beer ice cream you may have tried here around St. Paddy's day and a couple other times a year, but it's close.
It seems an inspiration for a new flavor can strike at just about any time and any place. As might seem obvious in about three sentences, this flavor began brewing in my head while I was across the street at my favorite local pub, The Brass Cat. They have a little 'contest' going right now that involves checking off a number of different fine (and not so fine) beverages, most of which are in the genus and species of beer. You've got months to finish 'your list', and from what I've seen it's been great for Mike the owner's biz.
Kudos for creativity during these 'challenging times'.
In any event, the beer that came up on my list on this particular night was a chocolate stout. It was a treat, dessert in a mug. About three sips into it, I was certain my next batch of stout beer ice cream would be a chocolate one. And I was right.
Both will be out for sampling and indulging this weekend. I hope you can swing by. And if you're not over 21, or just don't like the idea of mixing happy hour with dessert, perhaps the latest cake batter offspring might tempt you. Last week it was cookies n' cake batter, then birthday cake batter (with marshmallow swirl), and up right now it's cake batter sundae.
Cake batter ice cream with marshmallow swirl, fudge swirl, and rainbow sprinkles (as seen above). Have to credit ace scooper extraordinaire, Lauren, for this one.
Of course, there are 52 other flavors to choose from too...
And, as always, don't hesitate to suggest one of your own.
See you soon.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
...If Easthamptonites tread carefully, the place could become a viable, unique destination in the Valley's seemingly unstoppable artistic spread. And, just as Pasche claims, the more its identity is its own, the better. The Valley doesn't need Eho—it needs a vital Easthampton that incorporates old character and new energy.
And with Open Studios coming in a few weekends, and the much anticipated Bear Fest public art extravaganza right on its, dare I say, paws, Easthampton is getting set to show off what a cool mecca for arts, music, and culture it's already become. And you can still buy a tombstone downtown.
What more could you ask for in a small New England town?
Sunday, May 24, 2009
In any event, thanks for coming by for a fresh cone of lavender or M&M pretzel or your usual mint chocolate chip.
With a brief break in the action, I got to thinking about what to blog about besides the 'cool in a small town kindof way' Memorial Day parade here in Easthampton, and after a crazy couple of days at the batch freezer, blogger's block set in almost instantly.
So I walked out to the pond in the backyard, stared at the new American flag, just hung by Mayor Mike & a wingman, and thought about Memorial Day.
I didn't get much further than wondering to myself, so why is there a Memorial Day and a Veteran's Day anyway? And what's the difference? I was pretty sure I could guess the answer, but I had to make sure. So in case you were wondering, here's the answer (from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs site)...
Many people confuse Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. While those who died are also remembered on Veterans Day, Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor ALL those who served honorably in the military - in wartime or peacetime. In fact, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank LIVING veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served - not only those who died - have sacrificed and done their duty. A complete history of Veterans Day, and why it is observed on November 11, can be found on the Veterans Day History Web page.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and feel free to stop by. We'll be here regular hours (noon 'til 9:30).
Feel free to bring an extra burger from the grill...
Thursday, May 21, 2009
As you can see at the Bear Fest website, the Easthampton City Arts team have worked tirelessly not only to raise the funds to bring the bears to town, but to also plan some great events to celebrate this summerlong public display of art.
I, for one, think Bear Fest is going to great for the city. Once word gets out how cool these bears are, people will come from miles around to check 'em out.
In addition to parties and concerts and artwalks, Opa Opa Brewing Company is creating a Bear Fest brew. They will be 'unveiling' that at a benefit party on June 3rd.
And here at Mt. Tom's, we've got an ice cream flavor contest going right now. I'm letting the kids invent the flavor for a Bear Fest flavor! All kids 10 and under got entry forms at school. Entry forms are also available here at the shop. We've asked them to come up with the ingredients and the name. The winner gets a free cone a week for the entire summer and a $25 giftcard! 2nd and 3rd get giftcards too. The contest runs until May 31st. Winners will be notified by the 5th. And the first batch will be made shortly after that, with the winner helping out and getting the first 'taste'. We've already received a bunch of entries, and definitely some keepers in the stack...
The new Bear Fest flavor will be served at the 'unveiling party' on June 13th at 2pm. That will be held at the public parking lot on Cottage Street. Hope to see you there.
I'll be posting the winning flavor here on June 5th.
Stay cool and tuned...
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Proceeds to Benefit The JJ Dushane Memorial FundSponsored by Florence Savings Bank
Friday, May 15, 2009
I remember our home freezer when i was a kid was always full of Dad's 'mistakes' from his lab at the Hojo's factory in Brockton, Mass. Peppermint stick that was just a little too pink. Cookie dough with too many chips and not enough dough. Of course, being a kid, there's no such thing as bad ice cream or bad pizza. I have great memories of going to Dad's lab on a Saturday morning when he had something to check on. He was also the quality control guy for the factory, so he was probably going in to check bacteria counts on something, but again I was just a kid and I was going to a giant ice cream factory. And I remember his lab being full of all the great stuff that went into ice cream. Giant boxes of chocolate chips. M&M's. 5 gallon pails of chocolate. Paradise for an eight year old.
I particularly remember the paper hats he made us wear when we had factory tours with our Cub Scout den and such. In fact, when I started doing lessons and tours at my shop twenty-five years later, that's the first thing I got...
Of course, back then I wanted to be an astronaut not an ice cream guy. Little did I know this is where I would end up. Turns out, I am the acorn that fell near the tree. Sure, I did get the engineering college degrees and went the traditional big company, cubicle route enroute. And that was great too, in different ways (weekends off were nice, in hindsight). My Dad went the traditional big company route too before he jettisoned himself off the ship to start his own gigs, first 'The Ice Creamery' in Randolph, Mass. Then later 'Dave's World of Ice Cream' in Foxboro, Mass. He and Mom are happily retired now and completely content to play the visiting grandparents role to my little place, Mt. Tom's. Dad gets to pop in during the summer, have some free ice cream, and rummage around my ice cream kitchen just like I used to when I was a kid. There's something kindof cool about that.
Speaking of cool, one of my customers is an avid EBay'er and Howard Johnson's paraphernalia collector (of all things). He was poking around Ebay the other day and came across a bunch of Hojo listings of old company magazines. And wouldn't you know, he found this, and recognized the name. Sure enough, my Dad, hard at work back in the old Hojo days, circa 1981...
Hojo's is an interesting rags to riches to rags story. They were ahead of their time in many ways (premium ice cream, cool flavors, Ground Round) but somehow ended up getting left in the dust. All that remains are a few hotels, a row or two of mac n' cheese boxes in the grocery store freezer, and a bunch of vintage collectables on ebay. Perhaps I'll write more on that topic, although I'm sure many an MBA school business case study has already been written.
Just before they were sold and never to be heard from again, I seem to remember their prices going through the roof while at the same time their quality and cleanliness sinking into the basement. Tough to survive with those strikes against you, even if you do 'own' the Mass. Pike.
If you are curious, here are a few interesting links, mostly grabbed from the wink. site...
Well, must go make some ice cream now, just like Dad taught me. Stop by for some. There's plenty to go around.
Enjoy your weekend.
Monday, May 11, 2009
If you weren't able to do the ArtWalk thing this past weekend, I hope you can still stop by and check out Chris's show. Ice cream and gummy fried eggs are optional.
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
The JJ Dushane Memorial fund was established to honor our son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin and friend who tragically lost his life this past January. JJ was a beautiful and caring young man who touched the lives of many as attested by the more than 1,400 people who paid their last respects to him. He played and excelled in local sports as a youngster all the way through his varsity career at Easthampton High School. Although he excelled at soccer, baseball and football (his blocked punt which resulted in a touchdown sealed the win for Easthampton's first Super Bowl victory in 2005), his passion was basketball. He believed in mentoring younger players and young children. He always knew how to “Lighten Up” people, how to make them laugh and how to enjoy life no matter what the situation was.
The family and friends of JJ Dushane are trying to raise money to build a memorial in his name and to create an atmosphere where the community, especially the kids, can gather and play basketball. JJ spent a lot of his time playing basketball there and we know in our hearts he would want us to complete this project. We have the support of our City Officials, the Parks and Recreation Department, the Easthampton Basketball Association, Easthampton High School Athletics and of course our Family and Friends.
The ‘opening’ ceremony will happen this coming Sunday at 1:30, right at the site of the new courts. In case you haven't been following this touching tribute to JJ, the new courts can be found right at the entrance to Nonotuck Park right here in Easthampton.
Here are a few construction shots of the courts. The group was able to raise the over $72,000 needed to get the courts built. Fundraising came in all forms - from raffles to car washes to poker and golf tournaments to trivia nights. An impressive feat and just goes to show if you put your mind to something, there's nothing you can't accomplish, bad economy be darned.
Obviously, nothing can erase the unimaginable pain of losing a son, but I think his family can find a bit of solace in the heartfelt support they’ve received from Easthampton's fine folks. A great story, and I'm sure those courts will be enjoyed and appreciated by generations to come.
I hope you can stop by the new courts on Sunday at 1:30 to show your support and admiration to JJ’s family and friends. Rumor has it, they’ll be cake and (Mt. Tom’s) ice cream for all…
Congrats to the JJ Dushane team for providing such a great gift to the city of Easthampton.
Sunday, May 03, 2009
So how surprised, intrigued, and morbidly curious was I when, as I set up the sidewalk chairs this morning, I noticed the door to Ah Choo Choo standing magically and majestically open for all to enter. I knew I had to go inside. Anxiously, I waited for my scooper to arrive so I could pass over that threshold that so many have longed to cross, yet so few granted the opportunity.
In case you didn't notice the activity outside the 'Choo' today or catch a glimse of the 'tag sale' sandwich board (got a permit for that? good thing it's sunday...), I'm going to give you a quick glimpse into the promised land, that peak at the little wizard of Oz behind the forboding curtain. Welcome to the world of Choo Choo...
I was trying to be all stealthy and clandestine on this first shot, hence the angled shot of mostly ceiling. I gained confidence going into this next one...
The world as seen from inside the ACC...
'Will you take 3 bucks for this?'
The man at the counter says, 'Will you be hanging it in your shop? (my Mt. Tom's T-shirt and apron give me away every time). I reply, 'ahh, probably not.'
He took my 3 bucks anyway.
Now how much do you wish you were on my Christmas shopping list?
Not sure how long the big Ah Choo Choo tag sale extravaganze will continue, so best you get yourself down to Cottage Street as soon as you can before all the great? stuff is gone.
You might notice the 'For Rent' sign in the window too. I realize the ACC will be a tough act to follow, but hopefully it might become home to something new and interesting. Will keep you posted.
Well, I'd better end it there. It's raining. The shop is quiet. And there's an old Kerplunk! game I just can't get out of my head. If anyone's looking for me, I'll be over at the Choo.