Vermonters turn to ice cream as coronavirus comfort food

Published: Jun. 4, 2020 at 4:30 PM EDT
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In times of need, people turn to comfort food. And for many that coronavirus comfort food is ice cream.

Whether it be the infamous COVID-19 weight gain or the warmer weather, ice cream sales for many Vermont manufacturers we spoke to are through the roof.

That includes Sisters of Anarchy Ice Cream in Shelburne. "We call ourselves a farm-to-cone ice cream," said the shop's Becky Castle.

Their 23 flavors would normally be sold at events and farmers markets, but with many canceled for the year, those revenues are down. But they say their fledgling mail order business that began last summer is going far better than expected. "Our mail order is about I would say 300% more than where we thought it would be in the year," Castle said.

And they're not just shipping their funky flavors to Vermonters. "Consumers have such a strong appetite for getting things delivered right to their door. A lot of our sales have been going to cities like New York and Brooklyn, Boston, and actually all over the country," Castle said.

Down in southern Vermont, Wilcox Ice Cream is reporting a similar flip in sales. While their wholesale numbers are down due to restaurant and school closures, individual sales are up by a lot. "I think the ice cream is a comfort food and it's an affordable way for gather around, it takes everyone maybe away from the screen time and they can have a nice positive experience," said the company's Christina Wilcox.

They're making 45,000 pints this month at their East Arlington business, 9,000 more than 2019. And it's not even their busy season yet. Their specialty flavors can be found in big grocery stores and food co-ops.

"We're very, very grateful for the local support and for Vermonters sticking by us and those outside the state that purchased our products, so we're really, really grateful for all of that," Wilcox said. She says without it, they may not have survived the pandemic.

So the next time you feel guilty about digging into a pint of ice cream -- don't. It seems like a lot of other people are doing the exact same thing.