SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (WWTI) — Ice cream at Stewart’s Shops has a long history, with a story dating back to the 18th century.
According to Stewart’s Shops, in 1787, the Dake family began clearing farms in the hills in what today is known as Greenfield, New York. The family began using this land for three generations and in 1921, Dairy Farmers Percy and Charles Dake responded to a changing economy, and began producing ice cream.
In their first year in the business, they sold 4,000 gallons of ice cream. This started Dake’s Delicious Ice Cream.
Following this immediate success, the Dake’s borrowed $10,000 to rent and convert a railroad freight station into an ice cream manufacturing plant. They also bought a Model-T delivery truck and painted “Dake’s Delicious Ice Cream” on the side. With this truck, they delivered ice cream in bulk quantities to Saratoga, Troy, Schenectady and Albany for $5 per five-gallon can.
The original ice cream plant was later relocated to a new building on Route 9N. This was purchased with the help of Robert McMullen at the price of $150,000. That same year McMullen built the biggest, most modern cow barn in the country. This building eventually became the Stewart’s Shops ice cream plant in 1950.
Also, in 1945, the Dake brothers purchased a small dairy and ice cream business from Don Stewart, which became the first Stewart’s Shop in Ballston Spa.
Now, in 2021, there are 348 Stewart’s Shops in 31 counties across New York and southern Vermont. Stewart’s drivers pick up fresh and local milk from 20 local dairy farmers every day.
To honor its centennial anniversary, Stewart’s will debut its “Century of Ice Cream” exhibition at the Brookside Museum in Ballston Spay, New York. The exhibit is open Thursday through Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.