When you find a good ice cream parlor, you’ll always find your way back to it — no matter where it is. Croton’s The Blue Pig Ice Cream shop isn’t just homey and welcoming, but the ice cream is homemade, all-natural and about as creamy as I’ve ever tasted. (The shop is also a good pitstop if you’re heading upstate on Route 9A for the weekend.)
No additives or preservatives here: The ice cream is made from a mix of milk and cream sourced from a Hudson Valley dairy cooperative founded to preserve several family-owned dairy farms in Dutchess and Columbia counties.
Owner Lisa Moir bought the longtime ice cream shop in 2010 and reopened it soon after as a gourmet ice cream parlor. She tries to locally-source as much of her ingredients as she can. The Strawberry ice cream is flavored with strawberries from her rooftop garden. She uses her own lavender and Croton Beekeepers honey in her Honey Vanilla w/Lavender ice cream; it’s one of their most popular flavors.
She uses local maple syrup in their Maple Walnut flavor, peaches from a local orchard in Local Peach, and house-grown black peppermint in Garden Mint Chip.
Housed in a tiny bright blue cottage in the village of Croton, The Blue Pig has limited indoor seating — but there are lots of tables outside in a semi-fenced, paved picnic area. (It’s prettier at dusk when it’s lit up with white lights than on a hot summer day, but who cares when you’re eating the most perfect ice cream ever?) Little ones can’t help but play with the large blue pig outside.
Writes Moir on the Blue Pig’s website: “Most other ‘homemade’ ice creams are made by using canned fruit mixes and packaged flavor bases. At The Blue Pig, we wash and hull every strawberry, juice pounds of fresh ginger, hand grate cups of lemon zest, and finely toast each nut that gets put into our ice cream. The result? Pure,distinct flavors in every spoonful. We couldn’t imagine doing it any other way.”
It’s an ice cream dream.
If you decide to go to Croton, consider a stop at Croton Point Park. There’s a Hudson River beach, playgrounds and lots of green space for exploring.
The Blue Pig, 121 Maple Street, Croton-on-Hudson; 914-271-3850.