Beals Ice Cream is celebrating their 35th season. Sydney Richelieu / The Forecaster

It’s a hot summer day on the Maine coast. The sun is shining, the air is salty and sweet, and the ocean is calling for visitors. It’s quintessential summer, but it’s missing one thing: ice cream.

Everyone’s favorite sweet summer treat is best when it’s homemade – just ask Olivia Grover Toots Ice Cream, which has two locations in North Yarmouth.

Toots opened in 1998, when Martha Grover Lambert purchased an old railroad car and renovated it into an ice cream shop. At first, Toots sold a popular name brand ice cream. Then, in 2002, her daughter, Sandra Grover, took an ice cream making class, and everything changed.

Toots has been making its own ice cream ever since in small batches with flavors like Pig Pen (coffee ice cream with Oreos), Coconut Willy (coconut base with homemade needhams), and Strawberry Rhubarb Swirl. It uses milk from its own goats and dairy products from a Windham farm in its recipes, and churns out at least 5,000 gallons a year, Olivia Grover said.

Ice cream making is a meticulous process in order to avoid cross contamination. At Toots, dairy products are the first to be mixed, and they begin with vanilla-based flavors followed by any flavors with nuts. Anything added to the ice cream, like cookies or candy bits, gets swirled into the ice cream after it leaves the batch freezers.

Ice cream cookie sandwiches are a must-have at Toots Ice Cream in North Yarmouth. Contributed / Olivia Grover

New flavors come on a whim, Grover said.


“If we find something at the store or see something we like by the looks of it, we’ll buy it, bring it to the shop, and see how we can incorporate it into a base flavor to make a new one,” she said.

Discovering new flavors is one of the best parts of making – and eating – Toots ice cream.

“Seeing people enjoy what we make is the best,” Grover said. “I love being able to come up with new things for them to enjoy.”

The Beals Ice Cream crew looks forward to seeing new and returning customers this summer. Sydney Richelieu / The Forecaster

The Malia family of Gorham also knows what it’s like to please its customers with its homemade creations. In 1988, the family purchased Beals Ice Cream and its recipe rights from original owner Roy Beal. Since then, they’ve been making small batches of over 100 flavors of ice cream using their exclusive ice cream base mix and selling them at shops in Gorham, East Deering and Portland’s Old Port.

Like Toots, Beals creates old-fashioned ice cream in small batch machines at their Gorham location. The flavor list grows every year, with flavors from original vanilla to Oreodough (cookies and cream with cookie dough), and Banana Cream Pie.

“Everything is made by hand,” owner Chris Malia said. “On average, we make about 200 gallons of ice cream a day, which is about 65 tubs.”


When, asked how much of its small batch ice cream Beals will sell this summer, Malia laughed.

“Oh, that’s crazy!” she said. “I honestly couldn’t tell you.”

This summer, Beals is celebrating their 35th year in business, and the staff is looking forward to welcoming old and new faces to each of their stores.

“People always tell us we’re a sign of spring,” Malia said. “When Beals opens, it gets people psyched up.”

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