SUNDERLAND — Wilcox Ice Cream now blends its ice cream with a hint of innovation from Green Mountain Power (GMP) with a collaborative flavor called "eHome Sweet Home."
With the idea of making customers comfortable in the summer and winter months through GMP's efficiency assistance eHome program, a comfort food was created to celebrate that success.
"They approached us to do a flavor – they're known for being innovative and so are we," GMP Spokesperson Dorothy Schnure said. "I know everyone at GMP is really excited about it, it's just a fun connection to have."
The sweet cream, fudge ripple and chocolate truffle dish is now available at various area locations, including Castleton Village Store, D&K Jamaica Grocery, Hotel Pharmacy in Brattleboro, Jacksonville General Store, Elm St. Market in Bennington and D's Market & Deli in Bennington.
The eHome program is an energy makeover to help customers save money and use less energy. To increase efficiency, eHome provides weatherization, heat pumps, heat pump water heaters, solar, electric vehicles and technology to track and control energy usage.
Schnure said the first family GMP helped under the program lived in Rutland and had space heaters on the top floor bedroom in the winter and air conditioning units in the same room in the summer. eHome provided solar energy, weatherization and a heat pump, and after just one month the family's overall bills had decreased.
Wilcox Ice Cream just recently moved to Sunderland – right across from GMP on Sweet Street – after a fire diminished production in Manchester in 2001. Since the fire, the company has moved around from using Vermont Mill Co.'s facility, to Greenfield, Mass., Gloversville, N.Y., and lastly Kingdom Creamery. It is the oldest ice cream manufacturer in the state, surprising taste buds since 1928. The ice cream mix is generated at the St. Albans Creamery and then transported to be produced in Sunderland.
The new plant, with space for two production lines, will go through three phases of construction; the first is already completed. Christina Wilcox, vice president, expects the final phase with a visitor center to be finished next year. The manufacturing room is complete and the first batch of ice cream was made on January 8. Next, a 4,000-square-foot hardening room and storage freezer will be constructed.
Wilcox said she hopes to get schools into the plant to take tours and allow students to create their own small batch of ice cream. The Cherry Burrell 300 ice cream freezer system is what mixes Wilcox ice cream to produce a soft-serve texture and then additional toppings are mixed in. Wilcox said she prefers the manual freezer because it's convenient to have someone local fix the machine if it breaks down as opposed to using electronic systems that come from another country.
The new building Wilcox resides in used to be a plastic factory. Once it's officially open for business, Wilcox said the Manchester location will be closed in order to have all manufacturing in one location.
Schurne said that in the past, Wilcox was present at GMP's Talking Cow celebration in Rutland in which the relationship evolved from there.
"It's great. I hope people really enjoy the ice cream," she said.
Wilcox explained that Buzz Bar LLC from California is its next pursuer, and alcohol infused ice cream will be sold in the near future.
An open house at the Sunderland plant is scheduled for June 12 and current products can be found in Vermont, New York, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
— Makayla-Courtney McGeeney can be reached at (802)-447-7567, ext. 118.