Treat mom to a moment she’ll cherish with FREE
luscious Farmer’s Daughters’ ice cream cones on Mother’s Day.
The cherry on top of these sumptuous sweets is the delight of enjoying them together in a serene country setting.
“It’s a ‘Thank you.’ People have been coming here for 50 years and they’re still coming.
We’re saying, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you’ – it’s because of you we’re here,” said owner Annette Osher.
FOR THE FAMILY
Eddie Winslow was a family man. The father of eight children, in 1969 he acquired a piece of the Hanahan’s farmland next to his home along Route 29 in Schuylerville and built The Farmer’s Daughters’ Drive In.
“He had a vision,” said Osher.
A cautious and sensible man, he carried a gun to deter would-be criminals and added on a dining room, which included a small window in the corner so he could keep an eye on his house while he was at work. He also built up a hill alongside the ice cream shop to help stop the winds that whipped through this part of the area.
Cows with wings flying around the red and white exterior humorously hints at this history in a poster that still hangs on the wall inside the dining room today.
FOR THE KIDS
Winslow’s daughter, Glenda Clausen and her husband Tom, ran Farmer’s Daughters’ for 30 years until 2006. Having no children of her own, the girls that she hired each season to work at the shop became her extended family.
“The girls and guys that worked here were like her children. She took care of a lot of kids in this area and they love her for it,” said Osher.
The Clausen’s sold to a developer who was ready to flip the business quickly. When Osher saw the business was for sale, she knew it would be the perfect place for her to raise her own family, which included three sons, who were ages 14, 10, and 2 years-old at the time.
“I demanded, ‘I need to meet with you’, I said. ‘I’m not playing. I want to buy this place in 30 days. It will be a great place for my kids,’ I told him,” recalls Osher.
After just a month, The Starting Gate, a bar Osher owned since she was in her 20’s, was destroyed when a fire broke out in the building next door.
“My bar was totaled. It was a very sad thing because I was there since I was young,” said Osher.
Instead, she focused on Farmer’s Daughters’.
“It’s been my favorite place to be since I bought it,” she said.
Since she’s owned Farmer’s Daughters’, Osher has tried to keep everything much the same as its’ always been.
Renovating the original ice cream machine, adding new equipment, attending to electrical issues, adding neon lighting, new flags, awnings and new flavors have been some of the changes she’s made.
On the counter, a modern POS system sits alongside the traditional cash registers, and the shop now takes bank and credit cards – even when the power goes out.
Osher’s mission, however, is to keep the feeling of visiting Farmer’s Daughters’ the same.
“I didn’t change it – I just added – and the community took to me. This is a happy place. There’s something different here. There are smiles, hugs and kisses in this place,” said Osher.
One local couple had their first date at Farmer’s Daughters’, got engaged there, and then handed out shop gift certificates as wedding favors.
Farmer’s Daughter holds a special place in the hearts of many.
“People have tears in their eyes and they tell me, ‘I come here just to remember all the good times I had’,” said Osher.
People bring her boxes of cow décor to decorate the dining room. Farmer’s Daughters’ sponsors a local little league team every year, hosts annual ice cream giveaways and community fundraisers. Osher even takes a mobile ice cream cart across the street to Schuyler Park so families can enjoy a treat while watching their kids out on the fields.
Hiring 30 people each season, Osher prepares kids as young as 14 years old for successful futures.
“I love to start them off. Farmer’s Daughters’ is always here for them. They come and go, but they’re around and when they come back, they bring flowers,” she said.
Farmer’s Daughters’ has endured many challenges over the years.
Storms create all sorts of problems. In addition to causing power outages, two years ago, a storm tore off their iconic ice cream cone from the roof. Traffic accidents have happened out front involving shop employees. Osher missed opening day one year because she was donating 61 percent of her liver to her brother, Harvey.
“There’s bad things in this world, but here is good times and comfort food. That’s what Farmer’s Daughters’ is,” said Osher.
A few local vendors will deliver to their location, and local retailers and farms provide Farmer’s Daughters’ their goods.
All the ice cream is handmade using only Crowley milk products. New flavors like Unicorn (made with edible sparkles and invented by general manager Jonelle Reich) join delectable soft serve favorites like orange twist, vanilla chocolate twist, or creamy black raspberry and coffee twist.
Big chunks of fruit and whole nuts dance in the hard ice cream flavors and interesting items including brown sugary wet walnut topping titillate the taste buds.
Farmer’s Daughters’ food is made-to-order and the portions are plentiful.
Buttery fried dough is mounded with powder sugar. Michigan meat sauce makes hot dogs memorable. French fries are done up in a handful of different ways.
Specialty dietary restrictions are accommodated with peanut-free protocols, Udi’s gluten-free rolls, gluten-free cones, and vegan options like the almond-milk swirl.
A SETTING TO SAVOR
Osher greets a smiling couple at their car as we talk.
“The owner’s great. We absolutely love her. The staff is great too and they cook the food just the way we want it. The ice cream is phenomenal. When we come here it’s just like we’re visiting our family,” said Lorraine and Richard Laramie.
Around back, Saratoga resident Carrie Benson enjoyed the Almond Joy flavor with Kaylee Burton, 12, as they took in the view and sun at a table overlooking the green cornfield beyond.
Children run up and then roll down the hill or sit in a row of classic toy cars under the covered pavilion. It’s a scene similar to the way it’s always been here.
“That’s why I like this place. Coming out here, it’s like I came home,” said Osher.
Farmer’s Daughers’ Drive In, 882 Route 29, Schuylerville will be giving away FREE cones on Mother’s Day, May 12, from 1 to 5 p.m. For more information, find them on Facebook or go to farmersdaughtersdrivein.com.