The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, July 13, 2001


Ice Cream Stands Our Other Industry A favorite destination for many

For most of the year real estate and good schools are the major industries in Carlisle. In warmer weather, our other seasonal industry emerges: ice cream. People come from miles around to go to Kimball Farm at Bates Farm and Great Brook Farm ice cream stands.

Everyone has a favorite flavor and memories of going out to a little stand in the country for an ice cream as a child. Even in this time of health and fitness consciousness, people still like ice cream. Surveys have shown that New Englanders consume the most ice cream per capita in the country. On weekends, the lines at Kimball's windows and the full parking lot at Great Brook Farm show that it's hardly a dying industry. Even though you can scoop it yourself at home, people like to go out for a cone.

Large servings with "fringe"

Janet Friot, manager at Kimball's, says the stand sells 48 flavors of ice cream, all of it made at the main Kimball's stand in Westford. The family-run business was started in 1939 in Westford and opened in Carlisle in 1987 at the former Bates Farm ice cream stand. The Bates family operated the previous stand in Carlisle for about 25 years before Kimball's purchased the site. Besides Westford and Carlisle, Kimball's also has an ice cream stand and restaurant in Jaffrey, New Hampshire.

Every day a new load of over 100 three-gallon containers of ice cream arrives by truck from Westford to be scooped into dishes and cones. Old standards such as vanilla, coffee, chocolate and strawberry are top sellers along with some newer favorite flavors that may or may not surprise you. (See the pop quiz.)

Kimball's is known for the large size of its servings. Friot says Kimball's has always had a generous tradition since it started in Westford in 1939. Employees are instructed to give a "nice portion" and to make an ice cream they would like to receive. A kiddie cone is one scoop, a small is one and a half scoops, and a large is two scoops, all with "fringe," the extra ice cream on the scoop. Kimball's largest dish is the banana split along with the Kimball's Special, which is the same as the split without the bananas.

Great Brook Farm gets its ice cream from Bliss Brothers Dairy in North Attleboro and draws families for its guided barn tours of its dairy herd. Some popular dishes include Cappuccino Blast and strawberry shortcake made with a homemade biscuit. The stand also sells soft-serve ice cream along with its many ice creams.

The skinny on fats

Today with so many people concerned about their weight and about cholesterol, there are lots of low-fat and non-fat choices. Great Brook Farm owner Tamma Duffy says lemon sorbet has become popular and besides being "very refreshing" it also happens to be the flavor of choice for people who are lactose-intolerant. Great Brook also has low-fat yogurts with the texture of ice cream, such as Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip and Kahlua Fudge. Kimball's had to add non-fat soft-serve frozen yogurt, due to the demand, says manager Friot, and it's popular with children and many older people.

With nearly 50 area teenagers working at Kimball's, the stand is well-covered this summer. This summer the help is "sufficient," says Great Brook's Duffy; however when the kids go back to school in the fall, there will likely be a shortage of help.

Traveling to "farm country"

People travel to Carlisle from other towns for the ride and for the ice cream stand as a destination. Friot at Kimball's says during the week the majority of people are from Carlisle, but on weekends many people call for directions and come out from cities such as Arlington, Cambridge and Boston. At Great Brook, Duffy says many people come from Carlisle and surrounding towns with some traveling a distance.

Since Great Brook is a working dairy farm, it offers farm tours with ice cream to school groups during the year and in the summer months to local day camps and recreation departments. Kimball's gives tours of its ice cream facilities in Westford to area 4-H and scouting groups. Both Great Brook Farm and Kimball's have farm animals for families and children to visit.


Kimball's in Carlisle has many regulars, according to Friot. One couple used to take a ride over from Lexington each day, she said and the husband continued to stop in and bring a dish of ice cream to his wife when she went to live in a rest home. He is welcomed at the stand each day as he continues to visit. Another couple reportedly had their first date at Kimball's and came to the stand for an ice cream still dressed in their wedding clothes after their wedding reception. Another time they introduced the newest member of their family: a dog named, what else?, Kimball.

Great Brook Farm Ice Cream, North Road


Mid-April through the end of october

Hours: 11a.m. until dark, daily

Mid-April through Mid-October

Hours: 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily


1. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, followed by Oreo Cookie.

2. Frozen Pudding at Kimball's (made with rum, raisins and cherries) and Rum

Raisin at Great Brook.

3. Vanilla with chocolate swirls and mini peanut butter cup candies.

4. It's least crowded on Sunday mornings and most crowded on Sunday evenings. 5. Don't bet on it.

+YEAR+ The Carlisle Mosquito