This Joint Was Hopping!

Recently we wrote about the acquisition of The Hop ice cream shop in Asheville, North Carolina. You can read that story here . Just two weeks later offspring Brokenbeat and his wife held a big party to celebrate the grand opening under new owners/management in addition to celebrating the 30th anniversary of making the best home made ice cream in Asheville. The Financier and I drove over there to help out in these festivities of our jointly owned business venture with them. Out front in the shopping plaza where the shop is located are three large metal planters filled with lantanas and coleus for summer color. The shopping center plants and maintains these and will put together a winter planting soon, probably with pansies and other interesting combinations. Isn’t that gorgeous? Onward and inside to the ice cream. We arrived early on friday, the day of the big shindig to help out in the preparations. This was a post in the making so we began with a shot of the tubs of ice cream waiting to be dipped for customers. Yummy.
Fellow Tennessee blogger and good friend, (thanks to blogging!),
Gail of Clay and Limestone wanted a photo of her favorite flavor, Mint Chocolate Chip. Freshly made and as yet untouched by a scooper, it looks good enough to eat!
Still warm from the maker just to the right, waffle cones are ready to be served. This is how many are kept on hand, to always insure freshness and tastiness, they are made on demand. More expensive than the packaged sugar cones, these are still a very popular item. Delicioso!
We were lucky to be able to witness the making of a fresh batch of ice cream while there. Here is the cream, packaged in two and one half gallon bags and frozen.
Here is Mrs. Brokenbeat trying to spiffy up the place since there is a woman with a camera in there, not a normal part of the ice cream making routine. Don’t fret Mrs. B, that’s what mother in laws are for! We do love our Mrs. B. dearly, she is the greatest!
Only the best ingredients go into the making of this delightful confection. See, right on the label, made from the finest vanilla beans. The bag of crushed beans is next to the box, ready to be added to the cream.
This is the machine that makes the ice cream, a major piece of equipment and vital asset to the business. It holds the two and one half gallons of cream, plus the added ingredients and whips air into them while freezing them to make the ice cream light and fluffy. There is a big sharp churner inside rotating everything while freezing it. This is much like the smaller ice cream makers you can buy to make your own at home, only so much faster and better.
This batch was Mocha Oreo, she added the cookie bits as the cream came down the hopper. The two tubs together hold five gallons of ice cream and will go into the larger freezer to harden before being put into the counter out front for public consumption.

In addition to ice cream and pastries, an espresso machine fills the needs of caffeine afficionados. There is a demand for strong coffee with the cold ice cream, the yin to the yang. Lady in black top and camera is reflected in the shiny steel facade, along with the bright orange booths and the mural on the wall. Black is good at hiding spills and drips, just for your information.

And to top it all off, as if there were not enough reasons to visit this wonderful place, they offer wireless internet access. I set up shop with my laptop in the corner under Marily Monroe, trying not to be in the way of the decorating and general hub bub as preparations were made for the big party that began at 5 PM. I had to be able keep up with the picking madness going on at Blotanical in addition to replying to comments on the latest post and doing some reading. Did someone say addictive?

Before the evening festivities started, a trip to one of the big nurseries in Asheville was on the agenda. The last time we tried to go here, Mother’s Day, it was closed. Today it was open and ready for a quick browsing. Although the last thing the Faire Garden needs is yet more plants, there is a new design plan being applied to the existing beds. More will be written about that in a seperate post, but it can be said that the guru we are following is Piet Oudolf. Let’s see if there is anything here that we cannot live without.

Here on the cart being pushed by the ever helpful Financier are the selections made this trip. From the left in the blue pot is Liatris spicata ‘Floristan White’, half price, three pots of Salvia nemorosa ‘Blauhugel (Blue Hill)’, half price, Helenium ‘Coppelia’, full price and Aster frikartii ‘Monch’, full price for a total of just over forty dollars with tax. Not bad. There is a place for each of these back home, honest.

Back at The Hop last minute preparations are under way by Brokenbeat, seen here putting up a poster and wife sitting to his left in the pink top writing on a dry erase board the many activities planned for the night. In the background is the band warming up, led by good friend and former neighbor of Brokenbeat’s, Ryan.

There was a balloon master, see him in the far left of the photo wearing a balloon hat, that was very popular with the kiddies, along with a face painter. Vendors had displays set up and those that donated prizes for a free raffle were acknowledged. The early crowds were heavy on the younger set. Ice Cream shops in general are youth oriented and this one had many smaller customers. All ages were represented though and the night was a big hit.

The band played, the ice cream was enjoyed, the night was perfect in every way. The owners and staff were exhausted but happy. They are young, still in their twenties and have the energy and creativity to make this business a big success. We are proud of their efforts and will add our wisdom gained with age to make this endeavor profitable in every way. This was an excellent beginning.

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28 Responses to This Joint Was Hopping!

  1. Gail says:

    My dear friend,

    The Hop is calling my name. Ice cream is the perfect food. Ahhh. Chocolate Chip Mint (thank you for the photo and link) Frances, the place looks and sounds wonderful. Next time we are in or near Asheville we will be there! I have already told friends who frequent the area…I have a large group of river paddling acquaintances! Thanks for the tour of ice cream making; I am hungry for ice cream right this minute; of course, you know it’s perfect for any meal.


  2. PGL says:

    What a great looking Ice Cream Shop. I love the big metal containers of Lantanas out front. Looks like you got some great deals at the Nursery too.

  3. Dave says:

    Wow! It sounds like they are off to a great start with their new business. The shop looks like a good one and the ice cream looks great! The flowers outside are perfect. I plan to get out to Asheville in the next couple years for a vacation so we’ll put their shop on the to-see and to-eat list. 😉

  4. tina says:

    Best of luck to all of you with your new endeavor! That icecream looked great and mint chocolate chip is my favorite too! Can’t wait to see the new design plans for Faire Garden!

  5. Rose says:

    How wonderful that you are sharing this venture with your family, Frances. Looks like their grand opening was quite a success. I see I have even more in common with Gail and Tina–mint chocolate chip has always been my favorite, too!
    Asheville has been on my destination wish list for a long time–seeing the Biltmore, of course! If I ever get there–make that WHEN I get there–I’ll be sure to stop in for some coffee and ice cream ( I like the yin and yang, too):)

  6. Frances, says:

    Hi Gail, thanks and my pleasure to link to you. Thanks too for your friendship. Ice cream is the perfect meal, breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper, snacks, etc. For dinner that night in fact I had a brownie fudge sundae with real whipped cream and a cherry on top!

    Hi PGL, thanks. Those containers are typical of Asheville, it is such an artsy city, with lots of public plantings too. Usually that is one of the more expensive nurseries so finding some sale items that I actually wanted was a bonus.

    Hi Dave, thanks. You and your family will love Asheville, it is very child oriented, especially The Hop!

    Hi Tina, thanks. I will pass along the votes for the mint choc chip to the managers, but they probably already know that is a customer favorite. The Mocha Oreo is number one, they said.

    Hi Rose, thanks. Be sure and give yourself lots of time to partake in Asheville, as many times as we have been, we haven’t even scratched the surface of things to do. We haven’t even been to the Arboretum yet!

  7. Carol says:

    Why, Frances, do I suddenly have a craving for good hand-dipped ice cream. And what could go better with blogging than some ice cream?

    And yes, I do believe you’ll find a place for all your new plants, really, I do. It might take awhile, but you’ll find a little opening or two someplace!

    Wishing you great success in your new partnerhip at The Hop! If ever I’m in Asheville, I’ll stop in and tell ’em Frances sent me.

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  8. Nancy J. Bond says: all looks so decadent! Best of luck to the new owners!

  9. Kathryn/ says:

    Hi, Frances! I remember The Hop on Merrimon! I lived in Grove Park for two years, down the street from Grove Park Inn, so that was very close! I wish your family had been the owners while I was there! That would have been very fun (not to mention I would probably have been sitting there with you for the grand opening!) I wish them every success!

  10. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Frances, I told a customer that came into the shop where I work about your ice cream shop. She mentioned that they were going to the Asheville for a long weekend. Maybe she was at the party. I hope to see her soon to see if she found the shop. Good luck to the younguns with their enterprise.

  11. Frances, says:

    Hi Carol, thanks so much, and I do hope you get to Asheville some time, it is a fantastic place in an unbelievably beautiful setting in the mountains with tons of stuff for everyone to enjoy. I appreciate your confidence in my being able to find a spot for the new plants, you were right, they are nestled in and watered well.

    Hi Nancy J., you hit the nail on the head. No use eating ice cream unless it is decandent. Thanks for your good wishes.

    Oh Kathryn, how fun that would have been. I would have loved to be sitting with you during that fun time, and do hope to meet you some day anyway. The ice cream shop has moved down the road from the original location with the drive thru window, they lost their lease there. Grove Park is a lovely area, lucky you to live there. We do love Asheville and are happy to have the offspring there to visit.

    Hi Lisa, oh thank you, thank you for doing that. I hope your customer did come and liked what they saw and ate. I will be waiting to hear from you if they did come, that is so exciting. Another plus for blogging1

  12. garden girl says:

    Such a lovely, warm post Frances. Best wishes on the new joint busines venture. What a happy kind of business to own. It looks destined for success.

    Ice cream is a basic food group, which I diligently strive to enjoy on a daily basis, even in the winter.

  13. Siria says:

    Hi Frances! I LOVE ice cream and you have made me hungry for ice cream so I am running to my freezer for the mint chip I have in there. Of course, it will not be as delicious as the one at the Hop, but it is all I have at the moment. I will definitely go and visit the Hop the next time I am in town and I will be trying that Mocha Oreo that looked so yummy! :)))

    I am looking forward to seeing your new garden plans.

  14. lola says:

    OMG Frances, boy, do you know how to hurt a person. Put those pics up on blog & make a person drool all over their It looks just divine. I love ice cream. I surely would partake if I was ever in Asheville. What a great city. Best of luck to you & yours on this great adventure.
    I love the flowers in their containers at the mall. Good combo.
    I know the plants you purchased had a home when you made your choice.

  15. DP Nguyen says:

    Frances–You’ve made me want to go to the Hop and get mint chocolate chip (also my fav ice cream) in a waffle cone. I am so hungry for it right now, and baskin robbins just won’t quench my yearning!

  16. Frances, says:

    Hi Linda, thanks so much. I agree, ice cream is a happy thing, even in the winter. A glorious business to engage in.

    Hi Siria, thanks. I hope you enjoy the mocha oreo, it is their best seller so it must be good. I have not tried all the flavors, but that should be an aim for quality control purposes. ;->

    Hi Lola, did I ever mention that I love your name? Thanks and sorry for the drooling, they make some great stain removers now, but wearing black is the best. The new plants are happily planted and the new design is being worked on as I write this. Thanks for your loyal support.

    Hi DP, thanks. You and Cam would enjoy Asheville, there is tons of stuff to do, it is very tourist oriented. If and when you do go, be sure and stop by for a cone in your fave flavor!

  17. Phillip says:

    Frances, you’ve managed to combine my 3 favorite things in the world in one post – ice cream, chocolate and plants! Those containers are absolutely beautiful. I would like to know what they will plant for the winter display. I planned the planting schemes for our downtown pots and need to start thinking about a fall and winter display. Pansies are about the only thing I can think of!

  18. Wurzerl says:

    Hi Frances!
    I’ m here to collect my portion of ice-cream!!! I would prefer the vanilla because I love the Orchid plant vanilla also. Your post is so great, thank you.
    Have a lot of good times at this place! Wurzerl

  19. Frances, says:

    Hi Phillip, we share more than gardening in common it seems! You should see those planters in person, they are nearly chin height on me and at least four feet wide. Last year they had pansies, ornamental kale, a grass of some kind and maybe variegated ivy. I have an ivy with lots of yellow variegation in my large concrete pot on the front porch that looks good all year with no care except watering and a little pruning. That is great that you do the plantings, I'm sure they are wonderful. I'll let you know when they replant these.

    Hi Wurzerl, so nice to see you. Thanks and you ice cream will be sent to you shortly! ;-> Or better not, it might melt in transit. I love good quality vanilla also and the plant too!

  20. Skeeter says:

    Yum! My vote goes for Mint Chocolate Chip also! As a child the tongue preferred Butter Pecan but as an adult, MCC is the way to go! The fresh made waffle cones to accompany also…

    Good luck on this venture to all involved. Looks like a fun place to call work…

  21. Frances, says:

    Hi Skeeter, thanks for the support once again. I am astounded at the popularity of the mint choc chip. It is not what I would ever choose, just goes to show I don’t know anything about the tastes of the populace. Lucky I am not in charge of the flavors!

  22. says:

    This is over the top exciting news! I’m up in Asheville quite often–so you can bet I’ll be going to The Hop. What a great name. Looks like your family will make a real go of it. I can see it being a favorite among families and young people looking for a nice evening together. This is the most grand news! I get to know someone who owns The Hop. Makes me feel special. We will have to meet there sometime!

  23. Frances, says:

    Hi Anna, (you are Anna, right?), I am so glad you will be able to go there for real and try some ice cream. Hope it is to your liking. We will be going over there frequently and it would be great to meet there sometime. Hooray, a customer!

  24. Kathleen says:

    Mint Chocolate Chip isn’t my favorite but I love ice cream so I’m sure there are many flavors in that adorable shop I would be insanely happy to eat. I hope it works out well for them. I’m sure it was scary, in these economic times, to start a new venture but you’re right, they are young and energetic. The perfect combination. btw, I love the planters out front too. Very eye catching.

  25. lola says:

    Thanks Frances, I’m glad you do. It is a bit unusual. Mom named me after the first successful woman that she knew. I think the lady owned the local radio station. Mostly that was unheard of back then. Women have come a long way.

  26. Frances, says:

    Hi Kathleen, thanks for your support. Scary is the word, especially when they are so young and have no experience owning a business. Mrs. Brokenbeat has been managing it for five years and is very competent, but there are still many things they do not know anything about. Enter The Financier!

    Hi Lola, Glad to hear about your mom admiring a strong woman. We sure have come a long way, I am old enough to remember things being quite different. I had to wear a dress to school, no pants, my entire school life, even college! Unbelievable, isn’t it?

  27. lola says:

    Sure is Frances. Hopefully for the better.

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