We All Scream: Hand-Churned Ice Cream Goodness Around the Rogue
Going out for ice cream is printed in every American mind as a sentimental part of childhood, whether your family actually did it much or not. While most of us adults likely eat our ice cream out of a pint container while binge-streaming their current obsession, there is something to be said for ice cream that makes you get off the couch. And for over a century, that’s what people did.
Ice cream has existed for thousands of years, and became an item in the US in the mid 1700s as a rare treat. Though, we mostly think of ice cream as it was when it peaked popularity in the 1950s. Going to the ice cream shop for a 5¢ scoop back then became entwined with the American dream. The trend stuck, and while popular chains have carried on, nothing can compare to the fresh-churned tastes at a local shop. So, I sought out hand-crafted ice cream around the Valley and landed at Mix Bakeshop in Ashland, Sweet Cream Ice Cream in Medford, and Tommi’s Frozen Custard Ice Cream in Grants Pass.
Specialty is definitely what comes to mind when you enter Mix Bakeshop in downtown Ashland. It’s a bakery cafe with a modern industrial vibe, serving everything from quiches and lattes to lemon meringue tarts. Mix makes their ice creams using organic dairy from Straus Creamery, and features both classic and creative flavors and hand-rolled waffle cones. I got to taste their Black Raspberry, Vanilla, and Earl Grey Chocolate Chip. All of the ice cream I tried had a deep creaminess. My favorite was the Earl Grey Chocolate Chip that wisely balanced the Earl Grey to be present but not overpowering.
On to Medford: You may have to search to find Sweet Cream Ice Cream, but worth the trip—or the chase. They have a permanent home inside Rogue Organic Cafe in Medford, and also an adorable cart around the Valley. With a constantly changing menu of unique, frozen custard style ice creams like Toasted Coconut & Caramel, Peach Sorbet (local peaches), and Lavender Lemon Zest (local lavender), they pride themselves on using those local ingredients, and making their own waffle cones. They even offer vegan cones to stand with their vegan options. I tried the Strawberry Shortcake, Vanilla, and Lavender Lemon Zest. Like Mix, I applaud how well they balanced a challenging ingredient like lavender and really make it shine. Follow them on Instagram @sweetcream_icecream to keep up with their serving locations!
My final stop was Tommi’s Ice Cream in Grants Pass. A casual, family-friendly spot with a lime green theme, Tommi’s has the classic ice cream counter, where you can feast your eyes on all their decadent creations. They serve staples like chocolate and vanilla, but also offer more creative concoctions like German Chocolate Cake, Tropical Pineapple, and Fruity Pebbles. I went for the German Chocolate, Vanilla, and Fruity Pebbles. Something about the Fruity Pebbles totally hit the mark. Oh-so smooth, and mixed with the cereal bits, it ate like an amped-up version of sugar cereal with milk. Kids will love this place!
7 am – 10 pm, Sunday – Thursday
7 am – 10:30 pm, Friday & Saturday
57 N Main St, Ashland
Sweet Cream Ice Cream
9 am – 7 pm, Monday – Thursday
9 am – 10 pm, Friday & Saturday
226 E Main St, Medford
Tommi’s Frozen Custard Ice Cream
11 am – 9 pm, Sunday – Thursday
11 am – 10 pm, Friday & Saturday
101 SW 4th St, Grants Pass