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At Island Homemade, ice-cream dreams are coming true

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Last summer, you had to be in the Champlain Islands to enjoy a frozen pint of Island Homemade Ice Cream. Or you could truck up there with a very good cooler and hope that the über-local goods didn't melt on the way home. Nowadays, you can pick up containers of the premium Vermont product - in flavors like caramel turtle fudge, pomegranate chip and peppermint stick - at a slew of local specialty stores all over Chittenden County.

Gary Sundburg, 52, who owns the biz with wife Patty, 51, notes they've recently tripled production - not by hiring employees or buying a new building, but by making their existing processes more efficient. The logo is now printed on pint containers - fewer stickers to deal with - and the ice cream freezers can hold larger quantities. The company's success means that Gary will be able to quit his part-time job at Verizon and focus entirely on the frozen stuff.

Want a cone instead of a pint? IHIC's website lists restaurants and scoop shops that feature the Grand Isle goodies.

A new one, The Cone Artiste Ice Cream Shoppe in Colchester, is supposed to open its doors next Wednesday. Denis and Michelle Berthiaume plan to carry IHIC exclusively. In fact, the quality of the ice cream is what convinced them to open the shop. Says Denis, "Until you've tried Island Homemade Ice Cream you think Ben and Jerry's is a great ice cream. Then you realize it's just a good ice cream."

In addition to the usual "dish or cone" dichotomy, The Cone Artiste will serve customers' fave flavors sandwiched between chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin cookies. Michelle recommends the oatmeal cookies with cinnamon ice cream. Other specialties: Red Bull floats and Ice Storms, the local equivalent of McFlurrys.

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