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Local NC Businesses Feed Ice Cream Frenzy

The Hop ice cream shop in Asheville makes hundreds of flavors, many of them with vegan ingredients so more people can experience their products. (The Hop)
The Hop ice cream shop in Asheville makes hundreds of flavors, many of them with vegan ingredients so more people can experience their products. (The Hop)
July 7, 2016

ASHEVILLE, N.C. - "You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream" is more than just a song for a growing number of North Carolina businesses - it's a mantra. July is National Ice Cream Month and local, boutique ice cream shops are growing in popularity - including The Hop in Asheville. Open since 1978, the ice cream shop has expanded to two locations and recently completed a new production facility. Owner Greg Garrison explains how he approaches his business.

"There are really no limits," he said. "There are no boundaries. There's nobody telling us, 'No, you can't do that,' and so why not explore all these different things and make something better than the synthesized ice cream of the '80s and '90s."

In addition to traditional flavors, The Hop creates unique recipes using local fruits, honey and even beer. Garrison also works with his wife to use ingredients to make ice cream without dairy, or other common food allergens.

The freedom to think out of the box with flavors and ingredients that comes from being a small business also is rewarding for Garrison, when he encounters people who get to enjoy an American tradition that otherwise wouldn't be available to them.

"That is the reason why we're doing what we're doing, is to create that moment for that family, or that person," he added. "For somebody to come up and say I haven't had a milk shake in 25 years because I can't have dairy, because I'm allergic animal protein. It's the reason to do things, and to pay as much attention to it as we do."

According to Food Allergy Research and Education Incorporated, up to 15 million Americans have food allergies, with milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, fish and shellfish accounting for 90 percent of them.

Stephanie Carson/Shaine Smith, Public News Service - NC