Right around the time someone realized there was nowhere in Marion that sold soft serve ice cream, Jeff Methvin, owner of Methvin’s Prairie Oak Alpaca Farm Store, installed an ice cream machine in his small shop on Main St. across from Central Park.
Unlike other machines in town, his can deliver eight flavors, which can be rotated to include 30 additional flavors.
“We did a lot of research before settling on this machine,” he said. “It’s great quality ice cream that may not be the best for you, but it tastes good and isn’t gritty or icy.”
Currently his flavor list includes blue raspberry, butter pecan (the best seller), banana, strawberry, root beer, cotton candy, cheesecake, and of course chocolate and vanilla.
“I’m thinking when I run out of one I’ll replace it with tropical orange, something summery,” he said.
In the fall he plans to replace flavors with tastes like mocha and caramel.
What makes the machine special is it infuses different flavors utilizing vanilla as the base. Different flavors can be used to create new ones, such as mixing chocolate, strawberry, and banana to create a banana split.
Customers can mix all eight flavors into one cake cone, waffle cone, or cup, but Methvin said the best mixes include four or fewer flavors.
“The flavor is in the middle of the ice cream and on the swirls on the edges,” he said.
While ice cream is the draw, Methvin has found that if people sample his homemade hot fudge, they don’t tend to leave the store without it.
“It’s not our best seller, but the people who order it love it and get it every time,” he said. “It’s just a good recipe.”
The recipe isn’t a family secret, but the secret is that it’s made an old-fashioned way.
“I’ve tweaked it a bit, but it was one I got off the Internet after searching for old-fashioned hot fudge,” Methvin said.
He said the addition of the ice cream machine has done wonders bringing people into his store. Between 40 to 50 people visit daily for a tasty treat.
The small shop contains a table outside and seating for a few who want to sit inside. Plans are to increase outdoor seating.
Other places around the county that serve ice cream include Sonic and Wendy’s in Hillsboro, Auntie Em’s Café in Florence, and Wagon Wheel Express and Casey’s in Marion.