By Bruce Stambaugh
When Dan and Anna Bowman crank up their ice cream machine each year in June, it doesn’t take long for a line to form. Their ice cream is that good.
The Bowman’s operate under the business name of D and B Burgers, Fredericksburg, Ohio. Don’t let the name deceive you. They serve up lots more than tasty burgers. Their menu includes offerings for breakfast and lunch, and of course, fresh and delicious soft serve ice cream.
When asked what the secret was to their yummy ice cream, Dan didn’t hesitate to answer, though what he said may come as a surprise. His modest answer reflected his daily demeanor.
“We use the same commercial ice cream mix as several others in the area,” Dan said. “Fresh and clean is a very good combination for good tasting ice cream.” By that he meant that he keeps the soft serve ice cream machine cleaned on a regular basis.
“You can’t keep ice cream mix in too long,” Dan said. “You can only go about two days before you have to sanitize the machine.”
Dan said that if the ice cream sits in the well of the machine too long it gets gritty and sour. To ensure freshness, he even cleans off the dispenser to eliminate any chance of anything less than fresh being dispensed.
To keep it clean, he and Anna completely take the machine apart to clean, a process that takes an hour. The machine gets thoroughly cleaned with the manufacturer’s recommended cleanser, rinsed, dried, and reassembled.
Dan and Anna sell three flavors of soft serve ice cream, chocolate, vanilla and twist. They serve their ice cream in cake cones, cups and sundaes.
“The raspberry sundae is the favorite of customers,” Dan said. Of course, the topping is homemade by Anna.
Again, they said there is no secret to that success. Freshness makes the difference here, too.
“I just add a little sugar to the berries and turn on the blender,” she said. They offer red, black and purple raspberry.
Dan said there are four or five ice cream mixes that he could choose from in the area.
“I use a mix from a local dairy for consistency and freshness there, too,” Dan said. He buys the mix through the Country Mart in Mt. Hope, Ohio. The mix is a liquid that is poured into the vat of the tabletop ice cream galvanized machine.
“We have people tell us that our ice cream tastes better than others,” said Anna. “But we use a commercial mix just like the others.”
Dan said censors on the machine tell him when the ice cream is getting low.
“That’s why we never run out of ice cream,” Dan said. “It only takes about five to 10 minutes before the ice cream is ready to be served.”
Dan said they average about 25 gallons of ice cream per day during the peek time of June to October. Dan and Anna’s stand, which he affectionately refers to as the wiener wagon, can be found at the Mt. Hope Auction during special events like horse sales. They also do some special sales and auctions.
The best chance to catch Dan and Anna is at the Farmers Produce Market on State Route 241 a mile west of Mt. Hope June through October when ice cream is served beginning at 10 a.m. The stand, however, opens around 8 a.m. when buyers and sellers start to arrive. D and B Burgers serves breakfast and lunch sandwiches, side dishes, donuts, cookies, candy and hot and cold drinks.
The produce market is affiliated with the Mt. Hope Auction, and Dan and Anna provide food there February to November. During the summer months, the auction runs four days a week, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
“We are very thankful to Steve and Jim Mullet for allowing us to operate at their sales,” Dan said. “My business would not be without the Mullets.”
D and B Burgers operation has been operating for 13 years. They now use two food wagons. One is stationed at the produce market most of the year.
© Bruce Stambaugh 2013