Q: Are you open all year?
A: Yes! Or, at least, “mostly”. We generally close for most of the month of January, both to give us a little time to do some annual cleaning and maintenance tasks that we can’t do when customers are around, and to give us a bit of a mental break from the day to day grind of opening the store in the slow winter months.
Q: What are your hours?
A: Our hours vary throughout the year, but generally:
In the slow winter months, we close on Mondays (and in February, Tuesdays), and open from 1pm until 8pm (an hour later on Friday and Saturday nights.)
During the spring and fall (from around April 15th through Columbus Day in early October) we’re open 7 days a week, typically noon to 8:30pm (again, open an hour later on Friday and Saturday nights)
During summer vacation period (June 20-ish through Labor Day) we’re open every day at 11am. We say we close at 9:30, but that’s just a suggestion — we keep serving until the customers are all served and our cleaning tasks are done, typically closing somewhere around 10:30 or so on a busy summer night.
We ALWAYS keep our “official” hours updated on Facebook, so visit us there to get accurate hours.
Q: Where are you located?
A: Our store is in North Andover, at 1025 Osgood Street, on the shores of Lake Cochichewick and directly across the street from the Butcher Boy Plaza and the Lawrence Municipal Airport. You can find detailed directions (including a map) here.
Q: What kind of ice cream do you sell?
A: The good stuff. Homemade, rich in butterfat, our own recipes, using the best ingredients, and made right here, on site.
A: YES! Not only do we make them, they’re the best ice cream cakes you’ll find! You can read all about them on our Cakes page.
Q: Do you make ice cream cakes?
A: Well, we try to carry a wide selection of flavors, with enough variety to appeal to everyone. But we have only limited storage space for flavors, so sometimes have to sacrifice one or two of the more common flavors in favor of being able to offer some of our more unusual flavors.
But if you have a favorite that we don’t carry, or if you’ve discovered an exciting new flavor that you think would be a hot seller here, send us a feedback request, asking us if we’d consider making a batch. We frequently rotate in “test” flavors throughout the year, and sometimes those test flavors end up being so popular that they end up on the regular menu.
Q: Why don’t you carry my favorite flavor?
A: Nothing. It’s ice cream. It’s a “reward” food. Enjoy it in moderation. If you want healthy food, we’re directly across the street from the Butcher Boy Market. They sell carrots. Go buy some.
Q: What do you have that’s healthy for me?
A: Believe it or not, there’s no such thing on this big green Earth. To be legally called “Ice Cream”, it needs to contain a defined quantity of sugar. What many other places call “Sugar Free Ice Cream” is technically supposed to be sold as “Sugar Free Frozen Dessert”. In our experience, it tastes awful, and we don’t sell it.
We do sell a couple of flavors (Vanilla and Coffee) of “No Sugar Added” ice cream, that we make specifically for those customers with dietary concerns about sugar. But it does contain sugar (Lactose — natural milk sugar found in dairy products), so don’t think you can just gulp down a gallon of it without concern if you’re diabetic, or if you have other health issues that are affected by sugar intake. Consult with your doctor to be certain!
Q: Do you sell any sugar free ice cream?
Q: Who is Maggie? And why is she “Mad”?
A: Maggie is one of the owners, and she is often around the store during the day. The “MAD” part of the name is actually the initials of our three children: Mike, Amanda, and David. Mike makes most of the ice cream. David was the brainchild for our ‘Candy Store Floor’ flavor. Amanda — well, we don’t quite know what happened with her.
Q: What’s the difference between Ice Cream, Sherbet, Sorbet, Slush, and Gelato?
A: Various ice cream makers use similar terms for very different products, but there are a few basic accepted definitions.
First off, the USDA mandates that frozen dairy product (among other requirements…) MUST contain at least 10% butterfat content to be legally sold as “ice cream”. (Note that this doesn’t seem to stop the donut shop across the street from advertising “Soft Serve Ice Cream Cones”, even though they’re selling a 3.5% butterfat soft serve mix.)
That said, here’s what the terms mean here at Mad Maggie’s:
Ice Cream - Contains at least 10% butterfat content. Most of ours is made with a 16% butterfat mix.
Gelato - an upscale product containing roughly 4 to 6% butterfat, very intensely flavored, and denser than ice cream, as the goal is to whip less air into the finished product. In ice cream terms, this is a “low overrun” product.
Sherbet - Contains roughly 4 to 6% dairy product. The dairy is replaced with water, making a lighter, cleaner tasting product.
Sorbet - Contains no dairy product. When we call a product “Sorbet” here, it means it was made using real (either fresh or freshly-frozen) fruit.
Slush - In various regions of the US, this same product is known as ‘Water Ice’, ‘Italian Ice’, or simply ‘Ice’. Contains no dairy. At Mad Maggie’s, our slushes are flavored with extracts, making them a cheaper product to produce.
Notice that the only difference between Sorbet and Slush is what we use to flavor them — fresh fruit both costs more and takes more time to prepare properly. Other producers are bold enough to sell product flavored with extracts as “Sorbet”, but we don’t feel that that’s a fair thing to do.
(This leads to a common joke among ice cream vendors: What’s the difference between Slush and Sorbet? Answer: 75 cents a scoop!)
Q: How long does it take to make a batch of ice cream?
A: The preparation time to gather the ingredients together varies, depending upon the flavor being made. (Vanilla is easy. Chocolate Peanut Butter takes a while.) But once the ingredients are poured into the batch freezer, it takes between 8 and 13 minutes to turn the mixture into something resembling ice cream.
The semi-frozen (about the consistency of soft-serve) ice cream is then extruded into 2.5 gallon containers and cooled in our hardening freezer at -20F or so for at least 10 hours. This fast freezing reduces the chance that large ice crystals will form, and is part of what makes our ice cream so smooth and creamy.
After hardening, the ice cream is like a block of ice — not scoopable! So we move the ice cream into our tempering freezer to “warm it up” to scooping temperatures of around 6 degrees F. Takes about 4 hours.
A: While we don’t have any formal tour program in place, we frequently do tours for scout troops, small school groups, playgroups, or other assorted friends, and we’d be delighted to share a peek at our production process.
Just contact us by email or by speaking with us at the store, and we’ll work out a time that works for both us and for your group. Be aware that there are times when we’re just too busy with either production scheduling or customer traffic and can’t have a group of people in our back room, so please be a bit flexible in working with us to schedule a time.
Q: Do you offer tours?
Q: My daughter/son/nephew/niece is looking for a job. Are you hiring?
A: Yes! We’re always on the lookout for self-motivated, positive, outgoing workers! You can find ALL kinds of information on our jobs page!