Backcountry Chef – Campground Cherry Ice Cream

Don’t just treat yourself, do-it-yourself!

Traveling Utah’s north country during the harvest season epitomizes just how many food-motivated outdoors people I know like to explore: stocking up the cooler to bring the tastes of a region back home. The Bear River Heritage Area—loosely anchored over the shared Utah-Idaho border and centered in Logan—is home to dozens of family orchards, dairies and artisan food producers. Whether heading to camp looking for fresh treats or stopping through on the way back home, you’ll find an abundant harvest of locally grown produce.
Though the region’s bounty shines from June through October, there are still hidden food gems to be found the rest of the year. A handful of roadside farms preserve their harvest year-round for purchase on site or in local shops in Logan and Brigham City in the form of fruit jams, preserves or pie-ready frozen fruit.
Our favorite road-side pit stop on old Highway 89, is Woodyatt Cherry Farms (7630 S. Highway 89, Willard, 801-721-0130). They only sell tart Montmorency cherries, all grown and packed on site. “We’re open every day,” owner Dan Woodyatt says, “even Christmas. We just leave the ‘open’ sign out and people can help themselves if we’re not here,” leaving their payment in the locked drop-box. In large refrigerators, you’ll find fresh-squeezed cherry juice and 1 ½ pound bags of tart dried Montmorency cherries ($15), perfect for granola-topping or trail snacks. They also stock case freezers full of fresh-frozen cherries (with sugar or without) in 4-pound containers ($20) and larger sizes (prices vary).


Campground Cherry Ice Cream

Techniques for making ice cream without a power source are as varied as the crank tank my grandparents used decades ago, freezer bag strategies or the old ‘coffee can’ method. Recently, our family used a ball-shaped plastic container specifically designed for the task, which does the double-duty of keeping the camp crew entertained while making delicious soft-serve ice cream. Add fresh fruit right before serving. This recipe makes one pint. Serves 4.
1 pint heavy cream
(or a combination of cream
and half-and-half)
1 ½ teaspoons real vanilla extract
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup chopped cherries

When ready to make, add all ingredients to the ice cream mixing vessel of choice. Follow manufacturer’s directions. When ice cream is set but still soft, stir in ½ cup chopped fresh cherries (or thawed cherries) or other fresh fruit. Return mixture to ice cream maker for another 4-5 minutes to combing and chill. Serve immediately.

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