There are some idyllic visions of New England ice cream stands. Most of them have been swallowed up as Baskin Robbins move into many communities sharing spaces with Dunkin Donuts stores. When you drive around this area in the winter, you often see boarded up roadside shacks that come to life in April before fading back away in September. I didn’t eat much beforehand, so I opted for two scoops in a sugar cone: Maine Wild Blueberry on top, Indian Pudding on the bottom.
When you turn into the driveway, you see the farmland where the cows graze. It’s these same cows that make the milk that becomes this ice cream. It really does feel as though you’ve entered an ice cream Valhalla. Sometimes during the year, there is an auxiliary farm stand adjacent (just raspberries on a single table this day). When they’re starting with a cream that’s this high a quality and sell fresh fruits and veggies, odds are good that they won’t be skimping on other ingredients.
Rota Spring opened up only a few year’s ago. No one would have thought that a town the size of Sterling needed more ice cream; they already had the Sterling Ice Cream Bar and Meola’s both within two miles of this locale. Yet, in a classic example of “build it, they will come,” in less than five years, this has been noticed by many as the best ice cream in Worcester County. Anyone I know who spends any time in the North Central Mass area, I have brought to this place. Every one has made it the most regular part of their diet.
Two scoops are a treat, but I’m hungry. Most people are a bit agape at the size of this small, but it is really a medium since there are 2 scoops. The size of the scoop here dwarfs every other shoppe so far, and the price is simultaneously cheapest of all. The Maine Wild Blueberry is on top so I must address it first. This is not merely a vanilla ice cream with bits of blueberries and maybe a swirl of flavor folded in, this is a full-fledged blueberry ice cream with the cream and fruit integrated together and then pieces of fruit added for good measure. For as great as this is, it is grossly overshadowed by the Indian Pudding.
Rota Spring’s Indian Pudding ice cream is my favorite ice cream flavor. Molasses and cornmeal with cinnamon and nutmeg and some other undecipherable spices. There is a thick texture that is highlighted by the bits of cornmeal that pepper every nibble. It’s a bold flavor concept that revels in the subtlety of each bite. It’s tough to convince neophytes that this is really that special merely with words, and that this is not merely a novelty flavor that hearkens back to classic New England flavors. This is a magical ice cream that redefines what you think is even possible with ice cream, without even having to venture into the territory of the savory. We don’t rate ice cream’s on a point scale, but now we have a benchmark that others can strive for.
As a farm stand, you order ice cream outside and sit out there as well. In the summer they have a large tent set up adjacent to the shack, so rain is rarely an issue. There are always a batch of picnic tables that sit at the edge of a bluff right next to the grazing fields. In back there’s a family of goats, and I watched a kid feeding as I ate my ice cream. Rota Springs has been the last stand to close every year sticking it out until the second weekend in November and is the first to open back up in March. You can stock up on quarts to make it through the winter.
Cone – kiddie $2.43 small $3.10 large $4.05
Sundae – 1scoop $3.81 2scoop $4.52 3scoop $5.24
Frappe $4.05 extra thick $4.52
Rota Spring Farm
Open from March to mid-November
Open daily from 11:30a-9:30p