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These Delaware Dairies are the Cream of the Crop

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Woodside Farm Creamery and Hopkins Farm Creamery are Dela-brity dairies that keep it all in the family—and make some of the best ice cream anywhere on Earth.

Woodside, in Hockessin, has been owned by the Mitchell family since 1796. Hopkins Farm Creamery, west of Lewes, is at Green Acres Farm, which the family has owned for four generations.

Part of the secret to their delicious ice cream are the cows. At Woodside, Jerseys graze on 64 acres. “Their milk has more solids and higher butterfat content,” says owner Jim Mitchell. “The Jerseys adapt very well to a pasture-based feeding system—and they’re pretty.”

Hopkins raises Holsteins, which are high producers. The ice cream is made with a mix that is about 14 percent butterfat, says owner Burli Hopkins.

There’s another secret to his success. When Hopkins started the ice cream business in 2008, he disregarded the ice cream-making machine’s instructions. “As a real man,” he says, “I don’t read instructions.”

Instead of running the machine at the recommended 220 revolutions per minute, he ran it at 175. As a result, there is less air in the ice cream, which makes it dense and rich. “By the time I realized I should be whipping more air into my product, my customers were hooked,” Hopkins says.

Both creameries let customers get close to the cows. At Woodside, greet the Jerseys before buying a cone and taking a seat at the picnic benches on the lawn and under the big oak. The old stone farmhouse provides a picturesque backdrop.

From afar, you can’t miss the ice cream cones painted on Hopkins’ silo. Order your favorite flavor just steps from the black-and-white cows that provide a willing photo opp. Just be careful balancing your cone and a camera—you don’t want to lose your scoop to the gravel parking lot.