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The Chief will open April 18 in Goshen

Even as the cold rain and snow fell this week, the stockpile of ice cream started to form at The Chief.

The first will be sold on April 18, when the historic stand opens for the season at 4 p.m.

“Hopefully the weather is cooperative,” said owner Vanessa Steffen, who was making preparations at the stand this week with her husband, Randy, and son Nate.

Randy and Jesse started making vanilla ice cream at 4 p.m. Wednesday and quickly moved into making butter pecan and other flavors. The stand at 504 W. Lincoln Ave., Goshen, sells 65 to 70 gallons a day during the height of summer, Randy said.

When it opens, 17 or 18 flavors will be available. Some of the new flavors developed in recent years will be back, including:

  • Coffee Break, cafe mocha ice cream with dark chocolate covered espresso beans
  • Muddy Sneakers, french vanilla ice cream with chocolate covered caramel pieces
  • Ant Farm, toasted coconut ice cream with chocolate covered toasted coconut

The rich milk mix goes into a machine that was built in 1961 and produces an ice cream with about 13 percent butterfat. “That just means it’s 87 percent fat free,” Nate said.

Prices will be a nickel higher this year than last because of a rise in food prices, Vanessa said.

Hours will be from noon to 9:30 p.m. Monday to Saturday and from 2 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Labor Day. During the fall, pints will be available on First Fridays and in December, Christmas trees and holiday flavors will be sold.

Due to a writer’s error, we had Nate’s name wrong in this column, calling him Jesse. We’re sorry and hope he still makes ice cream for us.

Marshall V. King is food columnist for Flavor 574 and community editor for The Elkhart Truth. You can reach him at 574-296-5805,, and on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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