American Honey Creamery takes ice cream treats on the road
Mindy Converse remembers so well the first order she took when the American Honey Creamery ice cream truck made its debut.
She was so nervous that she fumbled a customer’s vanilla milkshake and it splattered all over the truck.
Since then, Mindy, 23, and her 20-year-old sister Ali have settled down and have steadily been building a loyal clientele, attracted to the high-quality, small-batch hand-made ice cream.
“My sister and I come from a fifth-generation New England dairy farm family, which resulted in our mobile creamery,” Mindy Converse said.
Originally from Preston, Conn., the Converse sisters moved to the Parrish area when their father took a job here.
Otherwise, their long-term dream of going into the ice cream business might have developed in New England rather than Manatee County.
Almost serendipitously, the sisters spotted an almost-new ice cream truck parked in a local storage yard. Eventually they approached the owner and learned he was ready to sell.
“It just sort of fell into place,” Mindy said.
They take their business name from a song by country music group Lady Antebellum called “American Honey.”
Most Sundays, the American Honey Creamery truck is parked at The Home Depot, 5820 State Road 64 E., serving ice cream to regulars and first-timers alike.
“If we’re not here on Sunday, we get 15 or 20 messages asking where we are,” Mindy said.
On other days, the sisters are at farmers markets, birthday parties, weddings, special events and select neighborhoods. They post their locations on their social media accounts.
They try to reserve two days a week for production, because they make the ice cream two quarts at a time.
“We make our ice cream right here on the truck,” Ali Converse said. “We try to keep everything as fresh and local as we can and to support the local economy.”
Jared Loongabach was one of their regulars this week and ordered strawberry ice cream.
“Everything is good and they have something new every time I come here. Sometimes I’ll say, ‘Just surprise us,’ ” Loongabach said.
Another customer, Cheryl Wigton, said she would visit American Honey Creamery five days a week if she could.
“It’s awesome. It’s home-made and I like ice cream,” Wigton said.
Customer favorites include the American honey milkshake, made with vanilla ice cream, Myakka honey and sea salt. Also riding a wave of popularity is the strawberry-rhubarb pie ice cream, based in part on their grandmother’s recipe for strawberry jam. Coffee Oreo ice cream is another customer favorite.
Perennial favorites include vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, cookies and cream and mint chocolate chip.
Among the flavors that they rotate into and out of the inventory are lemon raspberry shortbread, peanut butter brownie batter, orange pineapple, country roads and more.
The sisters are producing 85 to 90 gallons of ice cream a week.
Pricing for a cone or cup is $4, $5.10 and $6.15, for small, medium or large sizes. Milk shakes are $5.35, ice cream sandwiches are $6.42 and sundaes are $7.22.
Looking to the future, the sisters hope to open a brick-and mortar ice cream shop in the fast-growing Parrish area.
“We love Parrish. It’s definitely growing but it still has that small hometown charm. That would be our ideal location,” Mindy said.
For more information, visit americanhoneycreamery.com/flavors or call 860-823-7085.