FARMINGTON — Erika Johnson, granddaughter of Sandy River Farms owners L. Herbert “Bussie” and Brenda York, makes the frozen custard ice cream sold by the farm. She recently purchased an ice cream shack that will offer new ways to sell that ice cream.

Dipping ice cream will soon be added at Sandy River Farms in Farmington. Erika Johnson at left and her sister Mariah stand in front of the ice cream shack that will be open at their farm store later this spring. (Livermore Falls Advertiser photo by Pam Harnden)

“Erika got a loan to buy the shack, so she’ll feel like she’s part of the farm. She’s the backbone of the farm,” her mother Trudy Johnson said.

Trudy said they have met their goal for hard serve. Their next goal is to make a soft serve base using their milk and their own recipe. They are still working out the final recipe.

Erika and Trudy recently attended a soft serve ice cream school in New Hampshire last week.

The new ice cream shack will be parked at their farm store. Hard and soft serve flavors will be available. Banana splits, sundaes and milk shakes will be sold too. Erika has found a canister that will allow her to make whipped cream from their farm’s cream.

It will be open Saturdays and Sundays from 12 – 9 p.m. Other days it will probably be open from 3 – 9 p.m. Erika said she is still negotiating the hours.


“We hope to open the first of May,” Trudy said.

She said the shack is portable and will be set up at the Fiddlehead Festival, Farmington Summer Fest, events in Kingfield and other places where the farm is a vendor.

Trudy said her husband Erik found the shack online. It has an interesting history.

Gardiner resident William Latvis wanted to contribute something to his community that would be meaningful. He partnered with Gardiner Area High School teacher Kristy McNaughton to teach students what they would need to know to start a business.

Soft serve and hard serve frozen yogurt plus sundaes, banana splits and milkshakes will be available from Sandy River Farms’ new ice cream shack later this spring. (Livermore Falls Advertiser photo by Pam Harnden)

Latvis said the booth was made by a man in Cumberland who used it as a lemonade stand he took to fairs.

“I found it online. The kids showed an interest in it,” he said.


Latvis purchased the booth and equipment needed for an ice cream stand. The students developed a business plan. Last summer the students sold ice cream from the “Cat Shack” in Gardiner’s Waterfront Park.

Latvis said the primary intent was to teach the class at Gardiner High School. McNaughton had other courses and no time to teach it this year.

“The students covered the costs of product, labor and their operating costs last year. Four or five students wanted to come back and run it.

“Sandy River Farms is an excellent choice. I’m glad they decided to do it,” he said.

Erika said two people can work inside the shack at a time. Her younger sister Mariah plans to help.

All equipment plus supplies came with the shack. It has a computer system and generator.


“He (Latvis) gave us everything. Most of the stuff we’ll need is right there,” she said.

Sandy River Farms’ frozen yogurt is all natural. It has no chemicals. Egg yolks are used to stabilize the product so it is as real and natural as it can be, Trudy said.

“It costs a lot more to make,” she said. “It’s a different product than that sold at Gifford’s, other places. It’s similar to what is found at a stand in New Gloucester.”

Erika said, “It has twice the fat content of other ice creams. It’s richer, creamier, more flavorful.”

She said it takes her close to six hours to make four or five flavors. The flavors are chosen based on current inventory. She can make one batch in 30 minutes in the machine she uses. One can in the machine will make 25 pints, 18 quarts, and 10 to 12 half gallons.

She has been using round packaging but will be switching to square boxes for scooping. Whatever flavors are available in the store, at least eight daily, will be available for scooping in the shack. There will also be a flavor of the month.


For more information call Erika at 778-1143, Trudy at 778-1141 or email

Promising developments   

Trudy said the farm is back up to milking 30 cows daily.

Erika said farm sales are growing every month.

“We’re in with the hospital. We’re very thankful. We’re almost using all of our milk. We’re on the curve, asking if we should add a few more cows. It’s a nice feeling. We’re not dumping a lot of milk as we were in the beginning,” Trudy said.

She said the Maine Dept. of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry provided their farm information to someone looking to purchase product.


“The woman near Wells owns three ice cream stands. We’ll make the base for her. She’ll make the frozen custard there. It’s about 200 gallons a week. It’s a great account,” Trudy said. “We want to thank all our customers, the stores. We’ve grown a lot.”




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