Review: Stensland Family Farms


Shop brings new meaning to family business, flaunts farm fresh flavors


Fresh, farm-to-table and family are all descriptions that come to mind when visiting Sioux Falls’ newest ice cream shop, Stensland Family Farms on West 41st Street. Oh, and add #Idreamofdairy to that list, because an ice cream shop owned by dairy farmers wouldn’t be possible without a few pasteurized power naps.

Situated between Fuddrucker’s and Fiero Pizza, the store is the latest version of a dairy business that has been in the Stensland family for four generations. Beginning more than 100 years ago when the Iowa farmland was first homesteaded by Tobias Stensland, the operation has now grown to include 250 cows, a creamery and, this fall, a Sioux Falls storefront.

Over 15 different ice cream flavors populate the store’s menu, custom creations ranging from flavors like the classic Strawberry Fields to the more colorful Razmataz. Though a single scoop cone will set you back about $5, the fresh, wholesome flavor is worth the price. And with nary another hard-serve ice cream place in town, a couple extra bucks probably won’t turn away too many customers.

In addition to their barrels of ice cream, Stensland Family Farms also serves up more custom creations in the form of ice cream floats and cold press floats, a la carte sundaes and malts. The cold press float, featuring coffee from The Breaks Coffee Roasting Co. (another local favorite), two scoops of coffee ice cream and chocolate drizzle was a sweet and satisfying substitute for a typical latte.  

But where the store really shines is in its service. Family isn’t just part of the name, it’s a promise on how to treat each customer who walks through the door. And once that door is open, “family-oriented” nearly bursts from every wall.

Though the design of the shop is purposefully minimalist—featuring neutral brown tables and gray walls with pops of aqua blue décor—touches like the cow drawings done by the owners’ grandkids and black-and-white photos of the Stensland farm make everything feel personal. It’s like visiting grandma’s house (if your grandma just so happened to be a five-star ice cream-maker on the side).

Other dairy products like milk and cheese curds can be purchased at the store, along with pints of the shop’s most popular flavors. The Breaks coffee beans are also for sale, as is Stensland Family Farms gear like t-shirts, postcards and even onesies (featuring one of the grandkids’ cow drawings, naturally).

Though the shop is new to town, and not as well-known as say, a Coldstone franchise, the family-oriented and locally-owned aspects work in the favor of Stensland Family Farms.

This didn’t feel like just another quick ice cream run to satisfy a late-night craving (although the store is open until 9 p.m. six days a week). Instead, every aspect of the experience, from the ordering process where the server walked through all the flavors and offered samples, to the checkout during which the owner explained how the ice cream is made, was unflinchingly personal. That’s not something you see every day in our world of online ordering, I-need-to-have-it-now fast food consumption.

The Stensland Family Farm ice cream shop has undeniable heart. Enough to keep any ice cream lover’s dreams filled with dairy, frozen or not.

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