Fostering Larger Waistlines
J. Foster Ice Cream, Avon
The Simsbury location closed in October 2020.
It’s a bit weird to me to write about something I’ve been to a dozen times already over the course of the last decade. Such is the case with J. Foster Ice Cream in Avon. They have a satellite location in Simsbury as well, and I’ve been there, but not as often as the Avon mothership. All of J. Foster’s ice creams are made in Avon anyway.
I brought along my younger son Calvin, who would eat ice cream for all three meals per day, every day, probably forever. I know everyone loves ice cream and I know kids really love ice cream but I’m telling you… Calvin is obsessed with it. It’s kind of scary to be honest. He dreams about ice cream and weaves the most ridiculous tales as to why he should get ice cream at any particular moment.
He likes to follow up ice cream with… ice cream. He knows that by default he gets more ice cream in a waffle cone than a sugar cone, and has convinced everyone he just “has” to get waffle cones. He refuses to let me scoop his cones at home, simply because my wife Hoang generally gives him more than I do. I could go on and on. When it comes to ice cream, Calvin is ridiculous.
And the boy only gets high quality ice cream too. When I was a kid, I’d get a couple scoops of Breyers “ice milk” once in a blue moon. Calvin? Oooohh nooo, it’s all high fat, high quality ice cream for him. Such is life.
I think we were “celebrating” … the end of May? A successful 2nd grade campaign? My impending “completion” of Avon? It was something, I’m sure. On the drive over the mountain and out west on route 44, the Sun looked quite extraordinary. Smoke in the atmosphere from fires in western Canada had given us a series of stunning sunsets and the fiery ball in the sky we saw on our way to J. Foster blew Calvin’s mind.
Perhaps even more than the treat he was about to enjoy. When making his choice, he waffled between his usuals – Oreo and cookie dough. The flavors were listed right on top of each other, so I thought J. Foster’s had made a flavor specifically for my son.
So I ordered the “Oreo cookie dough” much to the consternation of the server. “Which one,” she asked.
“Oreo cookie dough,” I answered.
“So, like, half of each?” I was confused for far too long. The crazy Sun had made me crazy. He got his Oreo and I my mint chocolate chip and we went out to the patio. A patio which J. Foster has done a decent job with in the sense that its right along busy route 44 and next to a grocery store and its parking lot.
I mention this because where’s an informational sign inside that throws some awkward shade on J. Foster’s competitors:
Since you probably can’t read that, it says, “Sure, you can eat ice cream in a hot parking lot or on a dirty hay bail (sic), swatting away farm insects. Or you could eat J. Foster ice cream on a beautiful rolling hill, shaded patio, or spacious climate controlled tastefully decorated setting.”
What in the world? Several things here; one, writing “farm insects” is interesting because that tells me that thought went into this. That is, they knew that Avon commercial stretches are not devoid of flies, yellow jackets, and ants. So they specified “farm insects,” whatever they may be. Two, the “rolling hill” is a tiny little berm next to the store. I think? Three, this sign has survived quite a long time, as it references a Blockbuster” next door that hasn’t existed for what? A decade maybe? And four, are giant ice cream sandwiches considered “tasteful decoration?”
The only current place that offers hay bale seats without an indoor area is Tulmeadow Farm in Simsbury, just a few miles north. Why the disdain though? (Not that I didn’t enjoy it.)
And we really enjoyed our ice cream. J. Foster’s is really good stuff. They helpfully explain what makes them so good:
J. Foster Ice Cream is a family run business, with an emphasis on family. We make all-natural artisan ice cream with local dairy cows that are rBGH hormone–free. At J. Foster we have always supported local sustainable farming; that’s what helps make our community strong and vital.
Using the best local dairy is only part of what makes J. Foster Ice Cream the best. We use pure vanillas from Madagascar and Tahiti, imported cocoas (we make all of our own chocolate bases), fresh roasted nuts (roasted in house), and premium in-season fruits to create ice creams, gelatos, sorbets and yogurts unequaled in quality and taste.
All of our products are made in small batches and we minimize the amount of air whipped into our ice cream. The result is an ice cream that is denser, richer in flavor, creamier, and tastier than our competitors.
Age matters. We make our products on-demand, in our shop in Avon. We only produce enough supply to last a few days, that’s why the ice cream you get will always be fresh and scrumptious.
Another thing they do here is make their own waffle cones. Perhaps many shops do this and I just haven’t noticed. Regardless, I thought it was pretty cool to watch a young woman make the cones right in front of my eyes.
J. Foster is perhaps most well-known for their Graham Central Station flavor. It somehow has a bit of a cult following… I’ve had it, at the Simsbury shop, and it’s just graham cracker flavor base with chocolate covered graham pieces and a graham swirl. It’s really good for what it is of course, but what it is is graham cracker ice cream. Not exactly going to get me excited.
The Simsbury store, by the way, has (or had) a cool little model train that circumnavigated the room up on an elevated track. The delivery from Avon to Simsbury is quick and easy, so the ice cream there is literally identical to the ice cream here.
With the sun now set behind us, we returned home, back over the mountain to the east with bedtime beckoning. Tomorrow would bring a new day and a new month… and therefore a new reason for Calvin to invent to have some more dang ice cream.
You could do worse than J. Foster.