MARIANNA, Fla. (WJHG) - The Eade family owns a 500-acre dairy farm in Marianna, which is home to 300 cows. For years they sold what’s called commodity milk and also made and sold wholesale ice cream.
They've recently branched out and in so doing, captured the attention of Senator Marco Rubio.
In January 2018 the Eades opened Southern Craft Creamery, an ice cream/coffee shop in downtown Marianna.
“We have always wanted to have a value-added product that we made with our milk to kind of ground us in the community,” said owner Dale Eade. “It truly is, you know, hands-on from farm to consumer.”
The quaint ice cream shop is loaded with southern charm not to mention several flavors of handmade ice cream.
“Eleven or 12 of those are kind of our signature flavors we are going to keep on hand all the time," said Eade. "Everything else rotates seasonally.”
Some those flavors include mango lime chile, candied bacon, and strawberry balsamic.
“As small as we are, we're able to do very small batches,” said Eade.
But as small as their operation may seem, they were recently blindsided by a big announcement.
“As Chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, it's my pleasure to honor Southern Craft Creamery as the Senate Small Business of the Week,” said Senator Rubio via video on March 26.
“Who knew?" said Eade with a hardy chuckle. “It [the announcement] made us feel very good. It made us feel like we're on the right track, you know, we're doing for our community what we wanted to do and it was a total shock to us.”
Eade and his wife Cindy have been making and selling their ice cream wholesale since 2012, but say they've enjoyed venturing into the retail side.
“It's [the scoop shop] been very good," said Eade. "We've benefited from our local community and have enjoyed getting to know people on a different level than we can if we're milking cows every day.”
Southern Craft Creamery produces about 300 gallons of ice cream a week.
“The only thing ever frozen in ice cream is water," said Eade. "So managing water when you're freezing ice cream is the key.”
The Eades deliver their creamy delights from Pensacola to Orlando.
“The biggest area, though, of concentration is from Panama City to Destin along the beach,” said Eade.
And they don’t ever lose sight of who helps bring home the bacon, or the milk in this case.
“We love our cows," said Eade. "Caring for them is really the only reason we do what we do. It’s certainly not for monetary gain. There's not a whole lot of money to be made in the dairy business.”
But what they may lack in in terms of breaking the bank, they surely make up for with spirit.
“Passion is something that has to exist in whatever you do, and we're passionate about making high-quality ice cream and presenting it in a way that makes people happy," Eade said.
Which indeed makes us all want to scream… for ice cream.