Curious Why New Englanders Eat So Much Ice Cream

At Richardson’s Farm in Middleton, the cows spend the day chilling out back, while inside their milk is turned into ice cream, frozen at 25 degrees below zero.

“This time of year we start stocking up,” said Richardson’s operations manager Kurt Simons, while standing next to an Everest-esque mountain of three gallon ice cream tubs.

A special mix of 16 percent butter fat gets flavored and dosed with heaping mounds of mix-ins. It seemed like the perfect place to answer an interesting question.


Kristin in Medford Declared her Curiosity:

“Why are New Englanders the largest consumers of ice cream in the U.S.?”

According to our research, it’s not clear that New Englanders do in fact buy or consume the most ice cream. However, we did find the Northeast region (including some non-New England states) buys more ice cream than any other part of the country.

But why?

Bill Schoenfeld does his part. At 9 a.m. on a recent Friday morning, we found him at the Richardson’s cash register, with a tub of French Vanilla at the bottom of his brown bag. “It’s for my wife!” he claimed.


One theory for why we buy so much ice cream is that we have long, lousy, winters. When we come out of hibernation, we want ice cream. It makes us feel like summer time is coming.

Kurt Simons said that craving doesn’t exist in places where it’s always summer. “When it gets real hot, like you talk about Florida, our sales drop off.”


Here’s one more theory, courtesy of the Phantom Gourmet’s Dan Andelman. From local farms like Richardson’s to Ben & Jerrys, our ice cream is just better. “In Alabama they don’t eat a lot of ice cream, because they have a lot of bad ice cream.”

“New England just does some things better than anyone else,” Andelman said. “We do clam chowder better. Our baseball team is superior. And we have the best ice cream in the country, period.”

What’s your theory? Add it into our comments below.
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