July 2, 2021


Talk about brand loyalty—that hardly covers the love my family has for Athens’ own Mayfield ice cream. Locally owned by the Mayfield family, the dairy bought milk from area farmers—from Jersey cows exclusively.  I’m not sure if they had an official monopoly in the county, but I never saw dairy products from any of their competitors at the grocery stores.  Of course, Athens had locally owned grocery stores also.  I’m sure the Harrods and Guffeys and Weeks were all friends of the Mayfields and wouldn’t have considered any other dairy products.  And why would they?  We all knew Mayfield’s was the best.

I took this photo one July afternoon a few years ago when I drove to Athens for the day.  For lunch, I stopped by Mayfield’s and ordered this big serving of peach ice cream!  This was always our favorite summertime flavor but it now is apparently only distributed in large cartons for ice cream stores.  Not to be deprived, I ate my fill for lunch.

Just their plain vanilla or chocolate ice cream was perfect.  We also loved the Neapolitan, strawberry, and butter pecan flavors.  The sherbet was also delicious—rainbow, lime, pineapple or lemon flavors. And by late November, their perfect pink peppermint ice cream appeared just in time for Christmas desserts.  

They published recipe books and seasonal recipes in the Daily Post Athenian.  One of my favorites is their Peppermint-Chocolate Dessert (recipe from 1989 newspaper). I always make it over the holidays.  Unfortunately, their peppermint ice cream now uses spearmint—and that’s not the flavor I love with the chocolate sauce.  So I just buy Mayfield’s vanilla ice cream and crush up some King Leo’s peppermint sticks to create my own traditional peppermint ice cream.  Note that the fudge sauce must have a “Hunk of butter” added!

Mother’s cousin Howard Bales was the longtime marketing director for Mayfield’s and oversaw their expansion into other states.  He would pack half gallons in dry ice to send with us back to South Carolina and kept telling me one day Mayfield’s would get over the mountain!  It finally did!  Now only Publix stores and a few smaller stores in Nashville carry Mayfield’s.  

When I see their yellow cartons or delivery trucks, I always smile.  Home town deliciousness!

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