FENWICK ISLAND – The connections of a popular Delaware creamery are bringing farm fresh sweet treats to Fenwick Island.
Located in the Village of Fenwick shopping center along Coastal Highway, Vanderwende’s serves handcrafted ice cream, homemade waffle cones, sundaes, floats and more.
Morgan Vanderwende, who operates the Fenwick Island location with her husband, Cody, said Vanderwende’s uses premium ingredients and milk from the family’s own dairy farm to produce the shop’s ice cream.
“We’ve put a lot of hard work and dedication into it …,” she said. “I think our product speaks for itself.”
William and Ellen Vanderwende, Cody Vanderwende’s grandparents, purchased a dairy farm in 1954 and started with six cows and $35. Today, the farm boasts more than 4,000 acres and 225 Holstein cows, which are milked twice a day.
In 2012, however, the second generation of Vanderwendes ventured into the ice cream business and began making homemade ice cream on their farm in Bridgeville, Del.
“For years, my mother-in-law kept nagging my father-in-law about opening an ice cream shop because the farm was right on Route 404, which is a busy beach road,” Vanderwende said. “He finally gave in … He said, ‘I don’t know anything about ice cream, I just know about farming. But let’s give it a whirl.’”
What started as a simple wish soon turned into a full-fledged business. Since opening in July of 2012, the ice cream shop has grown to include four stores, two ice cream trucks and roughly 25 wholesale accounts with local businesses. Vanderwende’s has also been recognized by several national publications as the state’s best ice cream shop.
“Business has taken off,” Vanderwende said, “and ever since then we haven’t looked back.”
Vanderwende’s – a three-generation business – continues to operate from its original location in Bridgeville. But all ice cream made for wholesale is produced from its store in Greenwood, Del.
There, Vanderwende’s churns out eight tubs of ice cream in 10 minutes and between 700 and 800 2.5-gallon tubs of ice cream a week.
“All in all, we are probably putting out about 1,000 2.5-gallon tubs of ice cream a week,” she said.
Vanderwende’s also has ice cream shops in Dewey Beach and, most recently, Fenwick Island. The newest location replaces HaHa’s frozen yogurt.
“We are happy to be a part of the Village,” Vanderwende said. “They’ve got some new stores coming this year, so I feel like we can all grow together.”
Vanderwende said the new shop also provides an opportunity to serve residents and visitors in the coastal communities of southern Delaware and Maryland.
“My brother-in-law and sister-in-law own the one in Dewey, and it was a big hit,” she said. “I grew up here in Fenwick during the summer time, so I have strong ties to Fenwick. When my husband and I started thinking about opening our own store, I always said Fenwick would be my choice.”
Vanderwende’s at Fenwick Island serves 28 flavors of ice cream – including peanut butter fudge crunch, lemon chiffon and banana fudge nut – in cones, cups and homemade waffle cones. The shop also offers a selection of sugar-free flavors, milkshakes, sundaes and floats.
“I personally think we have the best ice cream,” she said. “You are really getting your money’s worth. You get big portions at decent prices, and the staff is super friendly.”
Vanderwende’s at Fenwick Island is now open daily from noon to 11 p.m.
For more information, visit the store’s Facebook page or vanderwendefarmcreamery.com.