Ice cream is a big deal in Boston. Short New England summers leave no room for a subpar cone or cup. The city’s residents realize this truth by committing themselves to indulge only in the most decadent, unique and local varieties. As these ice cream connoisseurs make their rounds through each neighborhood, many are finding that the best scoop in the city comes from a farm south-west of town. Crescent Ridge, a dairy in Sharon, Massachusetts brings the pastoral experience of fresh ice cream on the farm to locals who visit the Boston Public Market at Haymarket Station nestled between Boston’s North and West Ends. Boston Magazine has revealed this local secret to the masses by crowning Crescent Ridge the Hub’s ice cream king with their recognition of Crescent Ridge as Best Ice Cream in 2019.
Crescent Ridge’s ice cream has the ability to transport one to a simpler time, when local dairy farms and milk men were part of daily life. For employees and customers of Crescent Ridge, they still are. They continue to pasteurize and glass bottle local New England milk at their Sharon Farm and deliver it directly to families across the state – just as they did nearly a century ago. In addition to home delivery, the Sharon-based dairy bar, and the location at the BPM, Crescent Ridge glass bottled milk and ice cream can be found throughout greater Boston. Retailers include area Whole Foods, Stop & Shop, Big Y, Roche Brothers as well as several other independent stores and scoop shops.
Vacationers, staycationers and anyone else who decides to brighten the day of those they care about and themselves can choose from over two dozen flavors at Crescent Ridge. Some play it safe with tried and true Chocolate and Vanilla, other go for classic mash-ups like Mocha Chip or Cookies and Cream, the more adventurous go for experimental creations like decadent S’Mores® or refreshing Orange Pineapple. If you’re feeling really ambitious you can attempt their colossal Wide Mouth Sundae that features an entire 6 scoop quart of ice cream and heaps of fresh toppings.
Though Boston Magazine is the most recent to recognize Crescent Ridge’s ice cream, it is far from the first for this mainstay of the dairy industry. Their ice cream has received international acclaim with their inclusion in National Geographic Magazine’s The 10 Best of Everything, an Ultimate Guide for Travelers’ list of the 10 Best Ice Creams in The World three times and counting. Their Sharon dairy bar that overlooks grazing cattle has been featured in Food & Wine Magazine’s Best Ice Cream Spots in the U.S. as well as Men’s Journal’s 27 Best Ice Cream Shops in America.
The Crescent Ridge Story
Malby and Mildred Parrish started Crescent Ridge in 1932 when they purchased the 44-acre plot farmland on Sharon’s historic Bay Road and made it suitable to grow crops and raise cows for milk. Back then, Malby was able to make his rounds delivering fresh dairy to the community he belonged to with just one dependable 1928 Chevrolet truck. In less than 10 years, the operation had achieved enough success to justify the installation of a modern pasteurization and bottling plant. By 1953 Crescent Ridge controlled a fleet of milk trucks that served not only families in Sharon, but the neighboring towns of Canton, Stoughton, Norwood, Walpole and Westwood, Massachusetts as well.
Crescent Ridge opened their first Dairy Bar on their original plot of land in 1968. Its popularity has only grown since then, with the ice cream it serves winning the reputation of the best in New England amongst locals and seasoned travelers alike. Years later, National Geographic would name it one of The 10 Best Ice Creams in the World. This expansion and the loyal following Crescent Ridge had developed helped the brand weather the troubled economic climate of the 1970 and prosper into the 1980’s. By the early 1990’s Crescent Ridge began expanding its menu starting with fresh squeezed orange juice.
Mark Parrish became the third generation to own and operate the family business in 1998. This same year, he made significant investments into Crescent Ridge’s infrastructure by expanding their warehouse, freezer and lab space and making updates to their milk plant. Mark continues to innovate and grow the Crescent Ridge brand. Their products can now be found on the shelves of major stores like Stop & Shop, Whole Foods, Shaw’s / Star Market, Roche Bros, Big Y and others. He has teamed up with other local businesses and diversified his own operation to feature fresh seafood, grass-fed beef, pork, chicken, produce, maple syrup and other artisan products in their catalogue.
Crescent Ridge’s farm and ice cream dairy bar are located at 355 Bay Road, Sharon MA 02067. A second dairy bar location is Boston Public Market, 100 Hanover Street, Boston. For more information, call (781) 784-2740 or visit crescentridge.com.