Do you love things sugar and sweet, everything nice? If so, then you and your family should consider a stop at the Ultimate Ice Cream Company’s storefront location along Asheville’s historic Charlotte St. This ice cream shop has several special things going for it, things that set it far apart from the more corporate ice cream chains, both in terms of taste and in service.
To understand what makes Ultimate Ice Cream Company so special, one must first look at their owners. Despite having tons of wholesale accounts and churning out tens upon tens of thousands of gallons of ice cream every year, this Asheville company has been proudly owned and operated by the same husband and wife duo for over 15 years. That duo is Kevin and Lucia Barnes, both of whom had fulfilling careers as social workers when they met and understood just how kindred their spirits were. Together, they wanted to create something that might offer another way to serve their community, a way to bring happiness, love, joy, and appreciation. It was think-taking ideas for this that the two came up with the idea that would later grow into the Ultimate Ice Cream Company.
The Ultimate Ice Cream Company started with a creamery. The Barnes had a vision of supporting and patronizing other local businesses and part of how they started doing so was sourcing the milk for their ice cream from only small local dairy farmers. All the milk used to make the ice cream sold at their Charlotte St. storefront comes from local dairy cows that were raised free of synthetic growth hormones, their milk produced without antibiotics. This milk comes to the creamery within 24 hours of the cows’ milking, resulting in some of the freshest-made ice creams you will ever chance to eat — very likely the freshest.
To reach the Charlotte St. location and try this ultra-fresh ice cream from the Ultimate Ice Cream Company, simply head north on Charlotte St. from the interstate exit, and you will see the store within a small brick building on your right just after the Clyde St. intersection. The building generally boasts a mix of outdoor seating and on one side, you will see a large mural of a heron. The interior has a sort of industrial feel with exposed metal ceilings, interior brick walls, and a black and white color scheme. You will step up to a long countertop to order your desired flavors and how you want your scoops served.
And boy, do you have a lot of options when it comes to flavors.
The Ultimate Ice Cream Company has created and served over 400 unique flavors of ice cream!
That’s pretty incredible, but thankfully for those of us who would be overwhelmed with such a selection, not all of these (or anywhere close) are offered for sale at the same time. The reason they have had so many varieties is that just as with their milk, the Ultimate Ice Cream Company sources most of their ingredients locally. This means a lot of delicious seasonal flavors like Organic Caramel and Apple Butter Swirl. Tasty flavors you can expect to see all of the time include Salted Caramel, Fresh Strawberry, and a wonderfully boozy Spiked Apple Cider Sorbet.
One last thing, remember that bit about the owners wanting to do something more for the community? If you are passionate about patronizing local businesses and neighborly shops, then you will love the extra work Ultimate Ice Cream Company does. Every year, they create a new Flavor of the Year in support of a local non-profit. The group also drops in on special community events, such as Brother Wolf Adoption Days and Habitat for Humanity home buildings, to give out free ice cream treats n what they call, “Random Acts of Ice Cream”.
If you are really hankering for a certain flavor, make sure to call before you arrive. This is because while their menu might say that certain flavors are always flavors, the nature of creating fresh ice cream with local ingredients means that won’t always be the case. They are known to run out of the popular ice cream flavors often during busy days (think peak spring and summer).