Ice cream stand season 2018

Tastee Freez Bethlehem exterior 2014-08-14

Looking forward to some warm nights -- and ice cream.

Updated April 10

There's snow on the ground! But spring will be here soon! And that means ice cream stand season!

Whatever the weather, there are already a handful of stands open and more will be opening in the next few weeks.

Here's our annual rundown of many seasonal ice cream stands around the area with opening dates. In some cases the dates are TBA, or we just couldn't find out (yet).

So if you can fill in some of the information in the comments, we'd much appreciate it. Because ice cream.

The Dutch Udder: The Dutch Udder returned from its winter break in February.

Jim's Tastee Freez in Bethlehem: Opened March 4!

Snowman in Troy: Opened March 4!

Twist in Glenmont: Opened March 4!

Bumpy's Polar Freeze in Schenectady: Opened March 5!

The Ice Cream Man in Greenwich: The Ice Cream Man is open seven days a week starting April 2.

Frank's in Loudonville: Frank's is open year round, but the outdoor ice cream window isn't open just yet.

Chrissy's Cravings in Schaghticoke: Opened for ice cream season March 12!

Cappies in Amsterdam: Opened March 14!

Guptill's Coney Express Ice Cream in Latham: Opened March 17!

Curry Freeze: Opened March 17!

The Dairy Haus in Saratoga Springs: Opened March 18!

Kurver Kreme in Colonie: Opened March 19!

Lickety Split in East Greenbush: Opened March 20!

Corner Ice Cream in Guilderland: Opened March 24!

Martha's Dandee Creme in Lake George: Opened March 24!

Country Drive-in in Clifton Park: Opened March 28!

Pirate's Hide Out in Halfmoon: Opened March 29!

Jumpin' Jack's in Scotia: Opened March 29!

Control Tower in Latham: Ice cream opened March 29!

Farmer's Daughter's Drive In in Saratoga: Opened March 29!

Mac's Drive-In in Watervliet: Opened April 4!

The Big Dipper in Wynantskill: Opened April 5!

Scoups Homemade Ice Cream in Colonie: Opened April 6!

Duckpond Farms in Guilderland: Opened April 9!

On the Farm in Latham: We don't know, yet! (It's usually mid April.)

Cone Zone in Guilderland: We don't know, yet! (It's usually mid April.)

Tastee Treat in Slingerlands: We don't know, yet! (It was April 25 last year.)

Hayner's Ice Cream in Halfmoon: We don't know, yet! (It was April 29 last year.)

Ross' Ice Cream Stand in Slingerlands: We don't know, yet!

Moxie's in Wynantskill: We don't know, yet ! (Usually opens in May.)

Got another place to add? Please share it in the comments.

And of course, year-round places -- such as Emack & Bolio's and Ben & Jerry's -- are also open. Because, you know, they're year round.


The Ice Cream Shop (2113 Central Ave, Schenectady, New York 12304) will be opening in early April, but no firm date is set yet. I'm just a customer, but I'd say that they have better ice cream than anyone but Martha's in Lake George. So the Ice Cream Shop is the place to go if you don't want to drive two hours for a cone.

Mama's in Burnt Hills (corner of Lake Hill and Saratoga / Rt 50) is a local favorite.

For something a little bit different, try Cocobar in Schenectady, next door to Johnny's Italian on State St.

They make their soft serve in-house. It's got a unique texture that's closer to sorbet. It doesn't have the thick, stick to your tongue gumminess of the standard stuff. It's light and refreshing.

Plus, a cone is only 99 cents. A steal.

While it's not a summertime ice cream stand, I figured I'd ask here anyway: Does anyone have any info on the old-time ice cream shop Fariellos in Amsterdam? I was there once, and it was a classic ice cream/soda fountain place that was all pretty original to the 1920-30s. It was the only store located in the middle of a residential block, which was not uncommon back then it seems. Google has it listed as "permanently closed" but I'm wondering if anyone from Amsterdam may have any info as to it's future.

Steve, what's 'soft serve in house' mean? Soft serve comes out of a machine. What you put into it is commercial mix that you buy from a dairy processor (same with all ice cream actually, even "homemade" is a base mix with added flavoring).

Grandmastergus: Fariello's is indeed permanently closed. The owners were trying to find a buyer but I don't think they succeeded. It's had a few owners over the past 20 years. A shame but not likely to come back.

Justin: I've wondered the same thing about the soft serve at just about every stand. I've assumed they use a commercial mix so I've wondered about people touting one stand over another in terms of quality. They taste the same to me. I consider soft serve a summer seasonal treat (not something to eat in March when I'm done shoveling a ton of snow) as it harkens back to my childhood when a drive out to Carvel's on a summer night was a big deal. But the natural foodie in me kind of shudders now to think of the ingredients. Really -- if any ice cream stand owner is willing to post their ingredients list for their soft serve, I'd be most interested.

Soft serve factoids: Tom Carvel (born Athanasios Karvelas; July 14, 1906 – October 21, 1990) was a Greek-born American businessman and entrepreneur known for the (accidental) invention and promotion/franchising of soft ice cream in the northeastern United States. The first Carvel ice cream stand was in Hartsdale, NY. Supposedly in 1929 Carvel's ice cream truck got a flat tire in Hartsdale and he started selling the melting ice cream and he saw that soft ice cream was a hit. He then invented and patented a freezer to intentionally make what became known as soft serve ice cream (or technically, custard).

Were/are there Carvel's in this area? I was a downstate kid.

My question was really just being polite. I know the answer - it's all commercial mix and Cocobar's soft serve comes out of a machine just like everywhere else. I wouldn't say its particularly memorable.

You can't really make ice cream without mix. Different machines produce different consistencies, and you can choose milkfat content and control overrun (which is the amount of air in ice cream). That's the range of culinary choices if you are selling soft serve.

In New York and in most other places, ice cream is sold by weight because the volume of ice cream depends on the amount of overrun, so isn't a good measure of the amount of ice cream you actually get.

Commercial mix is a good thing, because the food chemistry to make ice cream what it is depends on the stabilizers and other agents to make the molecules freeze in the right structure, etc. It contains a lot of stuff that people are unreasonably afraid of, like guar gum, thinking they are the dreaded "preservatives." Also rennet. Without these ingredients, you have to add a lot of things like egg yolk or extra sugar in order to get a nice consistency with a home batch.

@ chrisck: I'm also a downstate kid and I take no pleasure in reporting there are no Carvels in the area anymore. In search of a Cookiepuss (or even the great Cookie O'puss!) for my daughter's birthday, I learned the Carvel on Route 9 in Latham is no longer there [sad face]. Guess we'll have to settle for a Fudgie the Whale next time we're in Queens...

@ grandmastergus - I think I'm quite a bit older than you. My downstate childhood was in 1950s and early 60s when the Cookiepuss wasn't even around. We had plain cones of vanilla ice cream and I guess the vanilla/choc twist was around back then in the "oldern days." Seriously -- simpler times. Because of that I've always been a purist -- no toppings, no sprinkles, no putting it in between a doughnut.

Justin, I can only tell you what Cocobar claims, which is they make the soft serve in-house, which I assume means they make it at the shop, from scratch.

I'll just add that the soft serve there is very different than the stands. It has a pale off-white color, it's not the bright white stuff the stands sell. The texture and flavor are different too, it's lighter, like ice milk, or sorbet. And in my opinion, it's much better.

I don't see why it "has" to be from a mix. Based on what I ate, I can believe that they're making it from scratch, in the shop.

Next time I'm there, I'm going to ask some questions and hopefully get some details about exactly how they make the stuff.

Steve, I think it might be worth clarifying what "mix" means. It is a technical term that describes the commercial dairy base with which ice cream is made. It consists of cream/milk, sugar, and a bunch of other stuff to make it freeze properly. It might be possible to self-prepare a mix that includes the right amount of rennet and other emulsifying agents, but that would be unlikely. Without those elements, the machine wouldn't produce the product you describe.

It doesn't really matter that much...they've selected a mix, a machine with proper settings and perhaps added a flavor extract that appeals to you. Those things are literally the definition of what making ice cream is. My point really is that ALL soft serve is "home made". It's not a meaningful (or regulated) term in this context.

Not a seasonal ice cream, but what happened to the 16 Handles in Glenmont? This year it had closed and took down its signs and covered up its window relatively quickly without any prior notice, seemingly. I'm sure their winter business wasn't great, but that issue should've been in the operator's calculations. (Something different like fried frozen yogurt or many different flavors of hot chocolate might help such a business during winter?)

Not weighing in on Cocobar's claims, but Justin, it sounds like you've made ice cream before. If you ever give it another shot, use a standard frozen custard recipe (with eggs) but instead of using straight granulated sugar, make a strong simple syrup with the prescribed amount of sugar (2:1 ratio sugar:water). The consistency from the machine, before further freezing, is pretty darn close to a soft serve with no additional emulsifiers or stabilizers. I'm sure the texture change has something to do with the sucrose solution as opposed to glucose/fructose in granulated sugar, but I'm not a chemist. Using Karo or something would probably be similar. The beauty of making the simple syrup is you can also infuse any additional flavors you want while making it, and avoid adding extracts.

Anyway, prepared this way and kept in a running machine would, I guess, produce a "homemade" soft serve. So I think it's possible some shops could do this, but again I can't vouch for any in particular, and it would be pretty expensive since fresh batches would need to be made daily; it wouldn't keep like a mix would (though you could just freeze any leftover and use as hard ice cream).

I'm curious to hear what Steve N. digs up, looking forward to an update.

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