Middletown Ice Cream Maker Named 'Best in RI'

In this Special Bonus Edition, "Our Harvest" scribe Jessica Walsh catches up with winner Sue Williams, proprietor of Susanna's Ice Cream based at Sweet Berry Farm.

Simply perusing the creative flavor offerings of Susanna's Ice Cream is enough to make one suspect that Rhode Island Monthly may have been onto something when  naming the Middletown farm-based Susanna's Ice Cream the "Best Ice Cream" in Rhode Island for 2010.  Taste one of the creamy flavors and there is little room for disagreement—this has got to be the best ice cream our state has to offer.

Sue Williams, proprietor of Susanna's Ice Cream at Sweet Berry Farm in Middletown, is full of kinetic energy that seems appropriate for someone who spends her days crafting mouthwatering ice creams and sorbets.  We caught up with Sue at the Coastal Grower's Market, just over the bridge at Casey Farm in North Kingstown, where her tall frame could be seen frequently darting across the market as she ran to grab a specific flavor from the freezer to fulfill a customer's request. 

Free samples of a new flavor Sue is perfecting—crème fraiche with fresh blueberries-- were available for taste testing.  As she scoops samples she requests feedback, "Tell me what you think—I didn't cook the blueberries as I might normally do; I just picked them off the bushes yesterday and wanted to keep the fresh flavor."   Customers seemed pleased with the fresh blueberry innovation, having only positive things to say.  Sue explained, "I often test my new flavors at the market before producing them in larger quantities." 

The blueberry bushes Sue refers to are those at Sweet Berry Farm in Middletown, where her kitchen is located.  Susanna's Ice Cream is made with fresh fruit and other local ingredients whenever possible.  While a handful of flavors are available year round (such as French Vanilla Bean, Ginger, and Salted Caramel Swirl), an abundance of unique flavors turn up on the menu throughout the year, created from and inspired by the flavors of the season.  Right now, customers can enjoy a refreshing blueberry sorbet, a smooth and rich strawberry ice cream, and many more exotic flavors such as Louisiana Banana—bananas roasted with brown sugar and butter with a splash of dark rum, an ice cream take on the New Orleans original Banana Foster.        

Only a few days ago, Susanna and her husband, Herb, were at the Providence Performing Arts Center receiving the distinction of best ice cream in Rhode Island.  When I asked how she was notified, Sue laughed, "well, about a month ago we received a cryptic letter from RI Monthly, saying 'Congratulations! You've won! Come to the ceremony to find out what you've won!'"   She assumed it would be for some niche category—like best ice cream in Middletown made with bananas—which was certainly exciting, but Sue was totally amazed to find out they were being honored as the best ice cream in Rhode Island.   

"As we would say in Britain, I'm chuffed."  Seeing my look of puzzlement, Sue, originally from England, obligingly offered a translation.  "I'm pleased and proud.  During these 80 hour weeks of 90 degree temperatures in the kitchen, the validation feels good."

Visit Sweet Berry Farm to try some of Rhode Island's best ice cream for yourself!  Susanna's Ice Cream is available in the freezer case at the Farm's Market, which is open daily from 8am-7pm.  

Mark Soares July 22, 2012 at 11:29 AM
Disappointed with Susanna's Ice Cream - Sweet berry Farms directed me to a freezer case when I asked for Susanna's Ice Cream. The pre-measured 8 oz container was crystallized. Not what I was expecting for $5.49. I have been to many different places for Ice cream in the area and will never go back to this one. Better choice: Daily Scoop in Bristol, RI.
candy September 05, 2013 at 07:34 PM
I can't believe noone has responded to the comment from Mark. I had the pleasure of tasting this wonderful ice cream/sorbet at a friend's house the other night. I.am.hooked. I went back today and bought 3 small containers of awesomeness. 3 different flavors. I'm not so sure on the mojito flavor. But the lemon-basil is outstanding!! The ginger was delicious! I made my daughter a ginger "milkshake" and threw a couple strawberries in there. She loved it!! Amazing! I am Suzanna's new fan!! Yummy!
candy September 05, 2013 at 07:35 PM
Also..I got a amaller cup of the toasted coconut..also super yummy!


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