Ice Cream: Find It Here in Ohio

Staff Reports

Velvet marks National Ice Cream Month with specials, entertainment

UTICA – With July being National Ice Cream Month, Velvet Ice Cream is giving ice cream lovers a whole new outlook on their favorite dessert. Based in Utica, Ohio, Velvet takes the month of July seriously, offering visitors to Ye Olde Mill an unforgettable experience. Every July, Velvet throws a party for its Ye Olde Mill guests, and this year it features a trifecta of unique, yet delicious ice cream flavors: Lemon Cheesecake, Spicy Caramel and Sticky Pudding.

Velvet will celebrate National Ice Cream Day, Sunday July 16, by offering $1 single-dip sugar or cake cones all day at its historic Mill in Utica. Named by Frommer’s as one of America’s 10 Best Ice Cream Factory Tours, Velvet’s Ye Olde Mill welcomes 150,000 visitors each year for tours, tastings and events. The Mill houses an ice cream and milling museum, a restaurant, playground, picnic area and catch-and-release fish pond and hosts live music and entertainment every Thursday and Sunday throughout the summer. Velvet is also giving away great free prizes throughout the month on the Velvet Ice Cream Facebook page.

Velvet Ice Cream also highlights National Ice Cream Month with a variety of other events throughout July, including entertainment by the Magic Man, Jo Jo the Clown and Eddie Powel Square Dance on July 3, Tom & The Cruisers on July 9. Kids Night takes place every Wednesday, with a free kid’s meal offered with every paid adult meal. Other featured days with special discounts take place throughout the month, including Hot Fudge Sundae Day, Chocolate Milkshake Day, Strawberry Sundae Day and others.

This year, Velvet Ice Cream also celebrates its 103rd birthday, with the company handcrafting ice cream at its factory at Ye Olde Mill since 1914. Now owned and operated by the fourth generation of the Dager family, the Ohio Proud ice cream maker offers free tours of the factory where visitors can taste fresh ice cream right off the line.

Americans first began celebrating National Ice Cream Month in July 1984. According to the International Dairy Food Association, 90% of the U.S. population enjoys ice cream each year, with the average American eating 48 pints of ice cream per person, per year (more than any other country). The U.S. ice cream industry generates total revenues of $10 billion annually. Take-home ice cream sales represent the largest sector of the market, with revenues of $6.8 billion or 67.7 percent of the market’s total value. Some 9 percent of all milk produced by U.S. dairy farmers is used to make ice cream, contributing significantly to the economic well-being of the nation’s dairy industry.

Still family owned and operated, Velvet produces more than five million gallons of ice cream every year from its headquarters on the grounds of Ye Olde Mill. In addition to tours and a memorable visitor experience, the Mill hosts the annual Utica Sertoma Ice Cream Festival (May 27-29, 2017). Group tour experiences and school learning field trips are among the many draws to Ye Olde Mill, which is open to the public April 11-Oct. 31. Complete information about Velvet Ice Cream and Ye Olde Mill is available

Celebrate National Ice Cream Month in July at these Local Scoop Shops

COLUMBUS – What goes with cake at parties, cheers you up after a breakup, provides a destination for family bonding and makes the perfect end to a summer picnic? Ice cream, of course! Ice cream brings people together throughout our lives – celebrating happy occasions and cheering us up or providing the ice breaker to talk about difficult decisions.

In celebration of National Ice Cream Month, here’s the scoop on just a few of Ohio’s many local, authentic, family-owned and nationally-known ice cream shops across the state. Whether you prefer soft serve, hand-scooped or frozen yogurt, include one of these stops on your next Ohio road-trip. For more foodie stops and events, visit the Calendar of Events on


Dietsch Brothers (Findlay)

This landmark in Findlay, Ohio, has been a family affair since Edward Diestch purchased the C.W. Wickham Candy Co. in the late 1920s. Since then, the Dietsch family has been serving up dozens of homemade ice cream flavors and handmade chocolates. The ice cream bars combining high quality ice cream and chocolate are a hometown favorite along with the chocolate covered pretzels and seasonal flavors like amaretto cherry, peach and walnut.

Toft’s Dairy (Sandusky)

At the ripe old age of 117, Toft’s Dairy is one of the oldest dairies in Ohio. Milk is delivered to Toft’s every day from 20 local dairies within 50 miles ensuring fresh, quality products. Today, the 76,000-square-foot facility creates more than 70 flavors of ice cream and frozen yogurt. Stop in at the ice cream parlor to get a giant portion of tasty ice cream for a small-town price.


Mitchell’s Ice Cream (Cleveland)

Made one batch at a time, Mitchell’s ice cream is beloved in Northeast Ohio for its fresh and local ingredients. Working with Cleveland businesses and sustainable growers, Mitchell’s prides itself on creating handcrafted ice cream that uplifts the community at the same time. Enjoy the many ice cream flavors as well as yogurts, sorbets, sundaes, shakes and malts and fruit smoothies. With eight scoop shops sprinkled around northeast Ohio, there is always a place nearby to put a smile on your face!

Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream & Yogurt (Canfield)

On a hot summer day in July 1945, Alice Handel began serving ice cream out of her husband’s gas station in Youngstown, Ohio. She used an old-fashioned recipe and added fruit from their back yard. Today, Handel’s ice cream and yogurt is made fresh every day on-site and stored in special freezers to maintain its signature smooth and creamy texture in a dizzying array of flavors.


Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams (Columbus)

Created by Jeni Britton Bauer in 2002, Jeni’s quickly became one of the most popular ice cream spots in Central Ohio. A pioneer in the artisan foods movement, her inventive ice cream contains whole ingredients, dairy from grass-pastured cows, and inspired flavor combinations, like juniper and lemon, chamomile and chardonnay, and berries and lavender. Try Cream Puff, the flavor of the summer, as it tastes like a classic old-world cream puff with candy-like vanilla in a salty custard with loads of pastry flakes.

Velvet Ice Cream Company, Inc. (Utica)

After arriving the U.S. in 1903 at the age of 15, Joseph Dager began an 11-year journey to form the Velvet Ice Cream Company. He served up his first batch of vanilla hand-cranked ice cream in 1914, and now the Dager family welcomes more than 150,000 people annually to Ye Olde Mill, one mile from the original location, for handcrafted ice cream, gelato and sherbet as well as tours of the grist mill built in 1817. Mark your calendar now for next year’s ice cream festival on Memorial Day Weekend!


Young’s Jersey Dairy, Inc. (Youngstown)

Young’s began shortly after World War II when Hap Young purchased a 60-acre farm owned by his relatives and started selling jersey milk in 1958, then began dipping ice cream in 1960. Today, the dairy is a family-friendly experience from food to finish with Udders & Putters (a miniature golf course), a driving range, batting cages, the Golden Jersey Inn (full-service restaurant), a picnic area, pick-your-own pumpkins wagon ride, a farm-themed kids’ area and more. Young’s specializes in homemade ice cream, fresh cheeses and cheese curds.

Aglamesis Brothers (Cincinnati)

The Aglamesis Brothers arrived in Cincinnati from Greece in the late 1800s. The brothers, Nicholas and Thomas, learned the ice cream trade at the “Old Arcade” and opened their first ice cream parlor in Norwood in 1908. Today, second and third generation Aglamesis continue to make chocolate-covered creams and caramels from scratch in copper kettles. Their French ice creams are made from the highest quality ingredients, producing rich and concoctions and flavorful Italian ices. For a summer cool-down, Aglamesis suggests a family-friendly pina colada made from coconut ice cream, fresh pineapple sauce and soda water straight from the fountain.

Graeter’s Ice Cream (Cincinnati)

Graeter’s began in Cincinnati more than 140 years ago and, with the fourth generation at the helm, has spread across the state of Ohio and the Midwest. Graeter’s remains the only commercial ice cream manufacturer in the world that uses French pot freezers, and its two-gallon batches are the smallest in the industry. Known for its signature chip ice cream flavors, particularly the Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip (think chunks of premium chocolate!), Graeter’s shops have a full menu of double-dip sodas, shakes & malts, smoothies and a sumptuous variety of sundaes!


Tom’s Ice Cream Bowl (Zanesville)

Don’t pass up an opportunity to thrill your taste buds in this unassuming cement block building that holds a diner and ice cream tradition dating back to 1948. This is where the locals go because they know the ice cream at Tom’s is homemade, the nuts are freshly roasted daily, and the handcrafted chocolates and candy are made the old-fashioned way. This is the kind of place your grandparents might have taken you for a cone while they reminisced about their own childhoods.

Ralph’s Ice Cream (Rockbridge)

Venture into the heart of Ohio’s beautiful Hocking Hills to find yourself an after-hike treat! Get a scoop of one of 23 flavors of hand-dipped ice cream at Ralph’s Ice Cream, just off US Highway 33. They also serve sandwiches, bratwurst, chicken salad and barbecue.

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Staff Reports