#118 of 86 Asheville Things To Do

Mills River Creamery

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Mills River Creamery: Handed Down From Generation to Generation
Staff Score:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Normally, when we need a gallon of milk, we run into a cookie-cutter chain store, big box store, or quick in-and-out market. And that's what makes an afternoon spent at an honest-to-goodness dairy farm so unique. We cannot recommend Mill River Creamery highly enough.

- The SmokyMountains.com Local Expert Team

We were so impressed by Mills River Creamery. Just 30 minutes south of Asheville in Mills Rivers, this is a third-generation operation is run by a family with deep roots and an even deeper affection for the area. There’s no chasing a brass ring or trying to impress a board of directors. All of that energy is directed toward making their creamery the best it can be and churning out the freshest possible produce.

If you’ve ever visited a place and suddenly realized that you felt more relaxed than usual, you will understand our reaction to Mills River. Even the origin of the creamery is simple. There were no corporate take-overs; simply one generation passing the operation down to the next.

There’s an awful lot to like about the way these third-generation farmers do business. All milk processed comes from cows that have been raised on the farm. They grow their own hay and corn locally, and when they do need to purchase other products for the animals, they make sure anything they buy is non-GMO. The animals at Mills River Creamery are never given growth hormones, and only receive antibiotics if a veterinarian says it is necessary. In other words, this is food you can serve your family, knowing it’s the healthiest dairy on the market.

There is no way to try everything the creamery has to offer, so we recommend beginning with the ice cream shop. We were surprised to find that they offer 20 ice cream flavors. That seems like a lot for a family-owned operation. We were also surprised to find that they had sugar-free options, as that’s not something so easy to find. The 1950s-inspired decor will put you right in the mood for some old-fashioned ice cream treats.

Here are some things we enjoyed at Mills River:

Banana Split
If you’ve ever taken a bite of a banana split from a drive-through window at a national chain ice cream shop and said, “Wow, this is good,” you’re in for a real treat. Imagine that same long dish with a banana cut in half, and three scoops of the freshest ice cream you have even put in your mouth. It’s that good.

Chocolate and Caramel Sundae
Once dubbed “heaven” by a sundae snob, the chocolate and caramel sundae is not to be missed.  It features, one scoop of fresh vanilla ice cream, covered with chocolate and caramel sauce, sprinkled with peanuts, and topped with a maraschino cherry.

Roasted Garlic Pepper Cheese
There’s no need to describe the ingredients because the name says it all. What we found surprising about this cheese was just how smooth it is. We can imagine serving it as an appetizer or simply enjoying it with a glass of wine.

Tomato Herb Cheese
Fresh milk, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, herbs, and cilantro blend together to create a cheese that defies description. Each bite presents a different primary note, making it one of the most interesting cheeses we’ve tried in a while.

Raw Milk
Cold raw milk was a pleasure, and there’s no better place to enjoy it than at creamery run by raw milk experts.

Any visit to Mills River Creamery will be spent learning new things about the dairy products you buy every week. Most importantly, it will serve as a good reminder of how gratifying it can be to put down roots.