News & Views
Photo of Sandwich Village by Joe Janis
What is your name and the name of your business?
My name is Ashley Benes and I am the owner of Papa Beans Ice Cream.
How did you get to Sandwich, NH?
I grew up in the Lakes Region and my first time I can remember being in Sandwich was at the age of four going to the Sandwich Fair. This is where I experienced my first pony ride and my love for horses.
When I was in my early 30s I taught lessons and volunteered for the local Mt Washington Valley Pony Club that was fortunate enough to use the fairgrounds for their practices. Around that same time, 2011 or 2012 I believe, I helped organize a 5K Turkey trot based out of the Sandwich fairgrounds as a fundraiser for the Pony Club. My father is an active member of the White Mountain Milers running club and I had dabbled in some races by this time in my life and was hooked. I went on to attend a 5k turkey trot from the Beach to Bar, Christmas Jingle Bell Run put on by a yoga studio, Booty Farm 5k, and the Old Home week triathlon.
I remember thinking this is the kind of community I want to live in. When Brad and I started dating a few years back our first official date was hiking Mt. Israel and eating ice cream afterwards. As life partners and residents of Sandwich we find it important to enjoy the nature and beauty in our area as often as we can and our busy lives allow.
Tell us about your business. What do you make, do, or offer as a service?
I make small batches of homemade ice cream using local New Hampshire diary and source ingredients locally when ever possible to stir in the ice cream. We are located inside Young Maple Ridge Sugarhouse. You can purchase pints, half pints, ice cream sandwiches and ice cream cakes or pies. One of the most popular flavors is the Maple Bourbon Ice cream that is flavored from Maple Bourbon aged syrup made by Brad right in the Sugarhouse.
How did your business get started?
In the late 1980s my father’s construction business was taking a hit due to the economy. My parents decided to take a chance and open a homemade ice cream business they called Bobby Sue’s, located in West Ossipee where M & V’s gas station is located now.
At the age of 7, I knew that my ice cream tasting passion would continue. My favorite flavor then was peach with rainbow sprinkles. After a successful couple of years my parents sold the business and my father went back to construction. My father has opened a couple other homemade scoop shops in Conway area over the years and acquired a few nicknames: “Scoop Man” and “Papa Beans.”
Since a young age I have always dreamed of owning my own small food business and had been brainstorming this idea for several years. I have a BS in Business Management from PSU and was working as Assistant Utility Manager for a water company the last 8 years and knew I was ready for a career change. My father had given me his ice cream machine and Brad offered to share his kitchen space at his sugarhouse. I began the process of filling all the requirements for a new business and inspections needed before making the big jump of leaving my office job.
What is the most fun/satisfying aspect of your work?
Have you ever seen someone eat ice cream who is not smiling? The ice cream is not always the first thing guests look at when they arrive at Young Maple Ridge Sugarhouse. Often they are surprised by the assortment of maple syrup choices in glass & plastic bottles. Then they see the Maple Candy, Maple Sugar, Maple Cream, and Maple Bourbon Syrup.
What gets most of the attention is Brad’s evaporator, the 40-gallon barrels, stacked syrup drums, and the wooden bourbon barrel filled with syrup that is aging before being bottled. We love seeing people’s reactions to the sugaring process and the assortment of flavors of ice cream we have made. The ice cream sandwiches are a huge hit and many are thrilled to see our unique flavors.
What is the hardest?
The hardest part is not eating all the profits. Starting a business with unstable and rising product costs has posed a huge challenge for me especially in figuring out my own costs and pricing. I have attended many farmers markets and estimating what items to bring or have on hand has been difficult. Having the support of family, friends and community has allowed starting this business a little less hard. Brad and his parents, Rae & Bob Streeter, are always available and willing to step in and help. My father is even finally sharing some of his secrets of success.
What are your goals and hopes for the future?
I hope to have a successful sustainable business that allows connections with other small business and community. Anyone local that has ingredients that would pair well with our ice cream please reach out.
What else can you tell us about yourself, your business, and your life in Sandwich?
Being an ice cream eater, I must stay active and where else to do that than Sandwich. I am an avid runner, hiker, and in recent years gravel bike rider. I am a proud dog mom of Simon (14.5) and Chuck (2.5) and enjoy spending time in the woods with them and Brad.
Sandwich offers so much for such a small town because of the compassionate people that choose to live here. I truly appreciate and value being able to eat while listening to local musicians at The Foothills and The Corner House, shop at the numerous farm stands on my way home, take a yoga class, and still be able to explore quiet trails and nature.
Papa Beans Ice Cream
301 Wing Road, Sandwich NH
Text and photos by Trish Bushmich
After a very hot and busy summer, we are happy to welcome the next season here at Chapman Sanctuary and Visny Woods. Green foliage is quickly changing to the glorious colors of autumn, and the air is suddenly cool and dry and blustery. What a perfect time to hit the trails at CSVW.
New Benches: Take an extra-long moment to breathe deep the fresh air and take in the sights and scents of fall in New Hampshire. CSVW has installed two lovely benches for its members and visitors to sit and enjoy the views. Located on either side of the entrance to Trail 13, the benches at the top of the field look down over the pollinator garden, birdhouses and all the way to sparkling Teacup Lake. Give yourself a refreshing treat during this extra-gorgeous time of year. Get outside in nature at Chapman Sanctuary and Visny Woods. THANK YOU for signing in at the Visitor’s Kiosk.
Established in 1955, Chapman Sanctuary and Visny Woods (CSVW) operates as a not-for-profit nature, bird, and wildlife sanctuary in Center Sandwich, NH. It is a place for children, families, and adults to connect with nature and explore wildlife in their natural habitat across more than 225 acres of woodland trails, meadows and streams, of which CSVW owns 114 acres.
CVSW is open to the public year-round from dawn to dusk free of charge and depends on individual donations and grants for financial support. Located at 740 Mt. Israel Road in Sandwich.
The Mill, by Wendy Ketchum
July 9th through July 26th. Local artist, Wendy Ketchum, has created an intriguing series of woodcut monoprints based on 19th century New England textile mills. Her exhibit will open at Patricia Ladd Carega Gallery on July 9.
The series was inspired by her love of history, 19th century photographs and the “many long rows of massive brick buildings” that dot the New England landscape. Her meticulous technique combines with her subject matter in a series of poignant pictures relating to the history of the “Mill Girls.” The work is inspired by old photographs of mill workers, as well as actual patterns made from fabrics created at the mills.
Join us for a reception to meet the artist on Saturday, July 9th from 5 to 7 pm. Ketchum will also host a “conversation” about the “Mill Girls” and their place in our history on Saturday, July 16 at 9:30 am.
Ketchum’s artist statement best describes The Mill, a project that has taken her several years to complete: “In the years between 1830 and 1860 tens of thousands of young single women were recruited to leave their family farms in northern New England to seek social and economic independence through employment in the textile mills. Despite the yoke of corporate paternalism, millwork put a new kind of power into women’s hands economically, providing them with the highest wages offered to female employees anywhere in the US at the time.
Coming from farms where time was dependent on the seasons, the “mill girls,” as they were called, were faced with the tyranny of the bell and clock tower dictating every minute of their working day. The cotton that fed the mills was grown and processed by slave labor in the American South, and a portion of it was woven by mill girls into coarse cloth to clothe those very slaves creating a closed circle of labor. Many of the mill girls became ardent abolitionists, in addition to becoming labor reform activists fighting for better working conditions through walkouts, mass rallies, strikes, and the creation of one of the first labor reform leagues in the country.
The exhibit will be on view through July 26th. The gallery is located at 69 Maple Street in Center Sandwich. Gallery hours are from 10 to 5 Tuesday through Saturday. Sunday and Monday, if the door is open, come on in. www.patricialaddcaregagallery.com, 603 284-7728
News & Views
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Meet Our Members
Please enjoy the Sandwich Business Group's 2021 project called Meet Our Members. Read interviews with fascinating people who live here and run businesses, organizations, and engage in other creative pursuits.
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