Wherever we go, I like to find the places where the locals like to hang out, visit, dine. Often, the best places aren't in the guide books. Here at home, one such hidden treasure is Mapleview Farm.
Miles off the main road, Mapleview Farm is 400 acres of peaceful beauty. Mapleview Farm originated in Maine in the 1800's in an early settlement. The Nutter family imported their first two Holstein cows from the Netherlands and the farm was born. In 1963, the family decided that the climate in North Carolina was suitable for double-cropping so moved their calves, farm families and equipment 1000 miles to settle here where they could grow corn in the Spring and barley in the Fall.
Now owned and operated by a 5th generation of Nutter's and with the offspring of those original two Holsteins, the herd feeds on grass and a custom grain mix that is produced on the farm. "Green" systems are in place so that water and waste are handled in an environmentally responsible way as conservation is a top priority. The grain is ground on the farm and the milking parlor and bottling facility are also on site.
Because the family holds this farm and their land so dear, they've given a conservation easement to a local conservancy, guaranteeing that this land will always retain it's rural views, natural areas, excellent soil and be preserved as an agricultural area forever.
Beyond the beauty of the area though, a very special draw for the locals is the country store that the Nutter family opened up on the farm in 2001. Inside, you can purchase all varieties of milk and cream from their cows, along with butter, cheese, local honey and their fantastic ice cream. The herd is hormone and antibiotic free so the products produced here are a healthy choice.
On weekends you'll see dozens of cyclists wheeling their way down the country roads to get to the country store, and you'll see people on horseback riding up, tying up their horses and stopping in for a treat.
What makes this ice cream so special? Well Muffin Nutter convinced her father that this was something wonderful to offer to the area so the two of them went off to Penn State to learn all about producing the sweet treat. Today, all the ice cream is hand-crafted in small batches using high-quality ingredients, fresh cream from the farm and as many local ingredients as possible. There are 12 permanent flavors and usually another dozen or so flavors that change depending on the growing season including pecans, local honey, berries, pumpkin, etc.
And on a lovely evening, you can take your place at any one of the comfortable rocking chairs along the front porch, relax and watch the sunset. Stay as long as you want, enjoy the company of friends and family...and of course, the ice cream!