Homemade Ice Cream/VisitingNewEngland small business partnership - Local Small Business Stories
Carry on Hayward Son
Chris Ordway, a
third generation Hayward family member, evolves Hayward's Ice Cream in
Nashua, N.H., into one of the best ice cream stands in New England.
Hayward's Ice Cream Stand, Nashua. Photo credit: Hayward's Ice Cream.
Article and photos, unless otherwise noted, by Eric Hurwitz.
created on 6/20/2018.
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Upon first sight, Hayward's Ice Cream in
Nashua, N.H., looks like many other old-fashioned ice cream stands in
New England with
its white wooden siding and low roof exterior, pleasant awning, hanging
flower baskets, lines forming outside at order windows and families
enjoying their flavors of choice on tailgates or at picnic tables on
That's where the similarities end, however.
Behind the scenes, owner Chris Ordway -- a third generation Hayward
grandson of the family that started the ice cream stand in 1940 -- --
scoops every detail of the art and science of ice cream-making through
a process far more complex than the simple concept of ice cream itself.
Ordway combines 21st century industry know-how and his own intuition
and creativity with traditional Hayward family recipes that result in
flavors that go way beyond the norm. His novel approach to creating ice
cream is as refreshing as enjoying an ice cream cone on a hot summer
day. Ordway is like the Ted Williams of ice cream -- that is, going to
great lengths to study and master his chosen craft. He might be one of
the few ".400 hitters" in the region when it comes to turning out
great ice cream. Or, as stated on the Hayward's Ice Cream web site,
Chris is the Willy Wonka of ice cream. He certainly creates ice cream
flavors that are "scrumdiddlyumptious."
"We just don't throw ingredients together," said
Ordway, in his "office," otherwise, known as the ice cream scooping
area. "We calculate everything."
Strawberry cheesecake ice cream with a strawberry and graham cracker crunch swirl from Hayward's Ice Cream in Nashua, N.H.
Ordway knows that ice cream stand, restaurant and parlor buzzword
phrases like "high butterfat content" and "fresh homemade ice cream" do
not necessarily ensure a quality product.
"Sixteen percent butterfat is very creamy with a smooth, heavy taste
and that's what can make ice cream taste so good," said Ordway. "But it
doesn't always guarantee it's good. You have to make it the right way
with the right ingredients."
Ice cream sandwiches from Hayward's Ice Cream Stand.
The ice cream looks and tastes like the prototype that America craves
in this traditional frozen treat. Small-sized cones appears more like a
with tastes that conjure up images of fresh ice cream coming straight
from the farm. While Hayward's does not have a farm on the premises,
the quality of ice cream often surpasses that kind of quality. The
presence of outstanding original and traditional homemade flavors made
in small batches, homemade waffle cones, and a caring on site owner
greatly help the cause to make Hayward's one of the best ice cream
stands in New England. Media has also confirmed what the people already
know as Hayward's has been voted "Best Ice Cream" more than any other ice cream stand in New England, according to Ordway.
"We go for the ice cream every summer," said Steve Katsos, a Hudson,
N.H., resident and the talented creator and host of The Steve Katsos
"Generous portions and delicious to boot! Finally, a line worth waiting
Hayward's Ice Cream has come a long way since its inception when
FDR was president. During World War II, ice cream flavor
selection was limited as sugar rations closed the
store from time to time until ingredients became available again. Since
then, Hayward's has become a rite of passage for ice cream lovers in
southern New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts, withstanding the
test of time against ice cream chains, grocery stores carrying
virtually full isles of ice cream, and trends like frozen yogurt
"Many businesses have come and gone around here, and trends like frozen
yogurt fizzled out," said Ordway, a long-time Nashua resident. "Let's be realistic -- ice
cream has always been meant as a treat and not a health food. After a
while, people caught on and were thinking 'Ice cream just tastes better that frozen
yogurt.' And ice cream is regulated (by the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration), meaning that it has to have a minimum butterfat
content of 10.5 percent. Frozen yogurt isn't even regulated (by the
Ordway shows a deep respect to his grandparents and parents who made
Hayward's a beloved staple in the Nashua area. You can see it in
his love for the business and elements of yesteryear that remain in the
Nostalgic sign from Hayward's Ice Cream Stand.
From 1940 to 1964, founders Charles P. and Fredericka Hayward
owned and managed Hayward's Ice Cream. Daughter Trudy and then
husband Mike Ordway assumed day-to-day responsibilities
in 1964. Mike Ordway and his wife Linda, purchased Hayward's Ice Cream
from Charles P. and Fredericka Hayward in 1977. In 1996, Chris -- son
to Mike and Trudy -- purchased Hayward's Ice Cream from Mike to proudly
continue the local legacy. Chris' son, Skyler,
17, works at Hayward's when time permits
and has shown interest in helping continue the tradition. Ordway's
wife, Denise and daughter Paige, 13, do not work at the ice cream
stand, but offer full support of Chris' work of love and creative vision. About 70
employees work at Hayward's during peak season, including many local high school students.
Ordway sources from local New England dairies as a quality
foundation to his products,
but also realizes that an exact, multi-stage process yields the best
tasting ice cream. Hayward's starts with two Emery Thompson Batch
freezers where employees blend an exact amount of cream, add
ingredients and flavorings, and continue with hand-adding ingredients.
While the ice cream freezes, Hayward's staff gathers the ingredients by
hand. Then, when the ice cream attains and retains the correct
temperature, the mix gets handcrafted together in reusable three gallon
tubs. It's all done in a spotless basement, probably the size of a
finished lower level in, say, a modest Cape-style home. This
is quite a remarkable feat as Hayward's makes 32,000 gallons of ice
cream during its ice cream season from March
Here is a visual "101" from Hayward's on the ice cream making
A closer look at a Batch Freezer.
Ordway cannot not reveal the proprietary temperature stages and the
time spent properly forming in each step, but said that the three stages utilizing
blasting, holding and dipping freezers respectively result in final
that possess optimal taste.
The blasting freezer pushes cold air at high velocity across the ice
cream to freeze the product as quickly as possible. The holding freezer
keeps the ice cream at a desired temperature to keep it from becoming
perishable -- most importantly, helping to avoid changes in texture,
flavor and formation of ice crystals. The dipping freezers are located
in the front of the store where staff scoops the ice cream and serves
Many other ice cream makers miss the critical holding freezer step,
according to Ordway.
"They'll make ice cream and throw it right into the dipping freezer,"
said Ordway, 48. "There has to be multiple stages of freezing at the
temperatures. If the ice cream is at the wrong temperature, you will
see ice crystals or a product that doesn't taste as good as it should.
With sorbet, if it is too cold, it will numb the taste buds. Too much
citric acid and cold temperatures can result in a taste that feels like
it is burning the tongue. It's not just about making it fresh. The
process has to be exactly right."
Of course, making the ice cream fresh and using a three freezer process
makes Hayward's Ice Cream all that much better. For a small stand,
Hayward's produces, during peak season, as much ice cream as some of
the larger ice cream stands in New England selling about 140,000 cones
a year. They not only offer ice cream in cones
(including an outstanding waffle version)
and cups, but also homemade sherbet, sorbet, soft serve, ice cream
frozen yogurt, no-sugar-added ice cream and half gallons to go.
shakes and sundaes also serve as customer favorites at Hayward's.
Sundaes from Hayward's Ice Cream Stand. Photo credit: Hayward's Ice Cream.
Ordway has created an astonishing 100 flavors with 60 regularly
appearing on the menu (some are seasonal like pumpkin in the fall). He
comes up with many of the ice
cream recipes on his own like the Chocolate Tsunami with chocolate ice
brownie fudge swirl; Coconut Almond with real coconut puree; the Polar
Cave with fudge ripple and caramel-filled truffle; and the Kangamangus
(the famous New Hampshire scenic byway known for its spectacular
foliage - misspelled here on purpose as that is the way kids and adults
often pronounce it) with
vanilla ice cream, caramel swirl and chocolate covered pretzels.
And of course, there are the old standbys like chocolate, vanilla (the
most popular flavor with an incredible full-bodied, natural taste) and
A sample menu of ice cream flavors from Hayward's Ice Cream
Stand. Source: Hayward's Ice Cream web site
Hayward's also offers a appealing comforts food menu with steamed hot
as one of the most popular items. The hot dogs take on many forms with
accompaniments like cheese, chili, kraut, Reuben, slaw, mac and cheese,
cheddar. The hot dogs, of course, share that American comfort
foods spotlight with ice cream, so the combination of this meal and
makes for a wonderful summertime lunch or dinner combo.
Steamed hot dogs from Hayward's. Hayward's Ice
Cream Stand, Nashua. Photo credit: Hayward's Ice Cream.
Hayward's also serves lobster, chicken, tuna and eggs rolls,
sandwiches, melts and plates. I recently tried a tuna melt and it was
as good as the best of what is offered at a quality diner -- lots of
tuna, nicely seasoned, plenty of cheese and perfectly grilled.
Tuna melt from Hayward's Ice Cream.
Like many other classic New England ice cream stands, Hayward's doesn't
just draw people in on ice cream and food alone although it could given
the extraordinary quality. On a hot summer night, as an example,
there's something so magical about standing in line
with a community of ice cream lovers. The big sky, ambient lights under
the order windows at night, and the chance to cool off with something
tasty is the stuff summer memories are made of, as well as winter reflections
that wistfully focus on spring someday returning.
cream stands are essentially happy places -- a timeless icon that
reflects a simpler time and place and as an oasis that takes us away from a
Happy place: Hayward's Ice Cream Stand. Photo
credit: Hayward's Ice Cream.
It just seems, though, that Hayward's Ice Cream is a happier place than
many other ice cream stands. Located away from the congested commercial
strip area of the Daniel Webster Highway, Hayward's Ice
Cream resides at the beginning of a modest, pleasant Nashua
not too far away from an impressive, ever-improving downtown district.
Although the neighborhood has changed with some of the older residents
no longer living there, many families can be found walking to the ice
cream stand from their homes. Rivier College is located across
the street -- many faculty and students can be found taking the short
walk to enjoy a cone. It's not only an ideal ice cream destination for
locals and those living in the Manchester, N.H. to Burlington, Mass.,
corridor, but also vacationers returning from famous destinations like the White Mountains of New
Hampshire or Lakes Region.
Ordway takes the same kind of pride in
the look and feel of his business that he does in ice cream making. The
landscaping looks like something out of a magazine on the alternatingly
shaded and sunny grounds. More 20
picnic tables with umbrellas are in good shape and spaciously laid out
with a few covered
swings and bistro tables adding nice touches.
Picnic area at Hayward's Ice Cream Stand.
"Customers spend money here and I spend some of that money on
landscaping and making everything look nice," said Ordway. "It is out
of respect to the customers who come here. It is all part of the
customer service, listening to them, and giving back. I like putting
money back into the business to beautify it."
Hayward's Ice Cream Stand is well maintained.
Hayward's also features a playground for the kids but consistent with
Ordway's innovative ways, this play area isn't like others. Several
years ago, Ordway had a delivery truck that eventually gave out due to
engine failure. Instead of scrapping the vehicle, he transformed it
an attraction for kids to explore. Slides come out of the truck for
Former delivery truck becomes part of the playground for kids at
Hayward's Ice Cream.
Hayward's also offers farm fresh vegetables from Lavoie's Farm in
Hollis, N.H., every day in late July until October. They also sell, annually, more than 2,000 premium Christmas trees during the
Christmas holiday season, as well as decorated and undecorated wreaths
and kissing balls, roping, tree stands and other accessories.
Ordway knows his small business recipe for success falls into the "If
it ain't broke, don't fix it" category, so Hayward's Ice Cream is not
available for mass distribution at locals markets and ice cream stands.
Ordway said he will "never compromise the quality of the ice cream
through expansion," but did feel comfortable in rcently opening
a second Hayward's Ice Cream at 360 Daniel Webster Highway in
Merrimack, N.H. That location is open year-round and features an order-at-the-window setting like
the Nashua location, but also a dine-in section and drive through
Few things say "summer' like ice cream and Hayward's Ice Cream Stand
certainly does the frozen treat justice during the prime season, as
well as spring and fall. While Ordway has the science down pat with
proper use of machines, it is ultimately his talents that create the
magnificent ice cream. After all, machines don't make great ice cream.
Mouthwatering homemade ice cream from Hayward's. Photo
credit: Hayward's Ice Cream.
"We keep improving upon the ice cream and adding flavors, and
it's just a great feeling seeing our customers enjoying our ice cream,"
Cream is located at 7 Daniel Webster Highway, Nashua, NH.
Web site: http://www.haywardsicecream.com. Facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/HaywardsIceCream. Twitter page: http://www.twitter.com/HaywardsIC
That wonderfully familiar sign on the Daniel Webster Highway.
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