Small Bites: The Hop Ice Cream Cafe

Hop to it: The Hop Ice Cream Cafe now makes a few ice cream flavors from local goat’s milk. Photo by Greg Garrison

The Hop Ice Cream Cafe recently debuted a new line of ice cream made with goat’s milk from local HeatherLane Farms in Woodfin. The goats are raised on pastures located less than 10 miles away from The Hop’s Merrimon Avenue spot, says Ashley Garrison, who owns the ice cream shop with her husband, Greg Garrison. Ashley develops all of the recipes that the cafe uses, often employing experimentation that’s earned her the nickname “Ice Cream Ninja.”

HeatherLane Farms makes fudge with some of their goat’s milk — traditional chocolate, raspberry-chocolate and white chocolate — which Ashley will incorporate into her ice cream. “Her fudge is fantastic,” she says.

The cafe offers two flavors at a time using the goat’s-milk base, one traditional and one a bit more experimental. The goat-milk base, says Ashley, supports herbal and savory flavors well. One particular combination she’s considered includes oranges and fennel. “I think it will be amazing with the goat’s milk, because it already has a bit of a tanginess to it.” She’s also tried adding some of the white-chocolate goat fudge to a white-chocolate goat’s milk base.

It should come as no surprise that Ashevilleans seem quite receptive to the concept of ice cream made with goat’s milk, which is both healthy and easily sourced from local farms. “I’ve had people ask us about it off and on,” she says. “Especially people that have a low lactose tolerance. Goat’s milk is both lower in lactose and lower in fat than cow’s milk. You get the same creamy texture but not as many calories. It’s been very appealing to people — people are really excited.” For more information, visit

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