With temperatures reaching near 100 degrees with humidity during these hot summer days, a nice cold and tasty treat can always be counted on. When visiting Franklin County, one doesn’t have to look far to find the birthplace of Homestead Creamery, which creates some of the most popular ice cream and milk around.

Founded in 2001, Homestead Creamery in Wirtz has been treating the citizens of Franklin County for 20 years and has also been serving vendors outside county lines. One of the most noticeable food chains that carry Homestead Creamery products is Kroger, which has become a popular selection in their dairy aisle. Their products are also served in Wegmans and Whole Foods in parts of North Carolina and near Richmond.

The Homestead Farm Market is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

Heather Williams, who is the farm market manager and has been with Homestead Creamery for a little over two years, said the local creamery at first only served dairy, milk and ice cream.

“That’s how it first started,” she said.

She added that it grew from dairy and ice cream into the farm market store and opened a deli a few years ago. The deli serves hot sandwiches, with the hot panini being a popular choice. The meat served is from Boar’s Head, and the panini bread is sourced through US Foods. For cold sandwiches, they use Boone’s Country Store bread.

“We do fairly well with our deli each day,” she said.

Williams noted that they feature produce, ice cream, dairy, gifts and knickknacks, which are different each season. They try to keep all the products locally through their farmers and vendors to keep everything in the community to support local agriculture and farms around the county.

The most popular section in the market, according to Williams, is the ice cream section, which has 22 flavors that they continually keep in stock. When someone pulls into the parking lot, they can almost expect to see a family sitting at an outside table or under a shaded deck on one of the rocking chairs or bench area enjoying their ice cream. They have hand-dipped ice cream and also carry ice cream by the quart.

“Between those two, we do much business,” she said.

Williams said the top choices are butter pecan, lemon crunch, black raspberry, moose tracks, peach, strawberry, and chocolate. She also mentioned that they have been extremely busy serving ice cream this summer coming out of the pandemic with fewer restrictions than last year.

The milk selections also are extremely popular and offer a rich taste in any flavor one chooses. Williams said chocolate milk is the most popular flavor choice, and the popular choice for white milk is whole milk, followed by 2 percent milk.

No matter if it’s at the market or at one of the vendors, a large selection of people look for their products. She has seen lots of social media comments and received calls from customers expressing their concern if a store has ran out of their products, wanting to know when they will get them back in stock. All of this just shows how popular Homestead Creamery has become and how it’s become a destination that families can enjoy spending time together.

“Over the years, we have been fortunate enough to gain a very loyal client base between our locals and even our vacationers that are coming back this year,” Williams said. “It’s been great to see all the new faces. It’s just a local destination for a family to come and hangout and enjoy good products.”

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