A lot goes into making each of Kimball Farm’s locations run smoothly, and we’re thankful for the team that makes it happen day-after-day, year-after-year.
We sat down with Donna Gatto, General Manager of our Jaffrey NH location, to look back on her time with Kimball’s and talk about what makes Jaffrey so special to her.
How long have you worked at Kimball Farm?
I’ve been at Kimball Farm in Jaffrey in various roles for 17 years now. I can’t believe how the time has flown by!
Tell us a little bit about the history of the Jaffrey location.
Kimball Farm has been making homemade ice cream since 1939, but the Jaffrey location came later. They acquired this spot in 1995, and it started out as an ice cream stand and Grill & Seafood Shack. The Country Store opened in 2005.
One thing many people probably don’t know is that the intertwined “S’s” and “R’s” on our dining room benches are a nod to this location’s past and the business that previously operated here: Silver Ranch!
What do you love most about your job?
The customers first-and-foremost—they drive everything we do. Our entire staff works as a close-knit team to create enjoyable experiences for our guests. I love seeing the familiar faces who come back season-after-season. We’ve even had guests who’ve flown in on private planes to satisfy cravings for a Seafood Combo or Kimball Special! Sure, we’re serving up ice cream and seafood but as I see it I’m a steward of long-standing traditions that I hope will continue for generations to come.
Sounds like the employees play a big role in keeping the customers coming back. What do you think makes Kimball’s employees special?
They are outgoing, positive, smile easily (and a lot!), and are able to connect with our guests. It’s a fast-paced environment, so being able to do these things under that pressure is truly a unique skill. Our employees often say that Kimball’s is not just a fun place to visit, but a fun place to work, too!
What do customers love to buy in the Country Store?
There’s such a wide variety of items in the store. Some of our most popular are unique greeting cards, locally-sourced arts and crafts, and local gourmet foods like honey and maple syrup. And of course Kimball Farm attire!
2020 and 2021 were obviously challenging years for all of us. How has 2022 been different so far?
We’re starting to see a shift back to pre-pandemic business. We’ve hired more employees and are able to allow guests to enjoy more of our outside space as well as dining room area. The supply chain continues to be a challenge for the entire industry, but our vendors are wonderful in supplying us with hard-to-find items or quickly offering replacements.
Do you make the ice cream?
I don’t! We receive weekly deliveries of homemade ice cream from our flagship location in Westford, MA. They produce all of the ice cream for each of the 4 Kimball Farm locations. I’m friends with Jill Curran, our Director of Ice Cream Operations in Westford, who is in charge of ice cream production. People can learn more about Jill and our ice cream here!
Speaking of ice cream—do you have a favorite flavor? And what about the Grill… are you a seafood-lover?
Yes to both! My absolute favorite ice cream flavor is Coconut Almond Chip. And when I’m in the mood for seafood I go for the “Pick Two Seafood Combo” with fried whole belly clams and scallops. So good!
Check out our full list of ice cream flavors here, the Jaffrey Grill menu here, and don’t forget to say hi to Donna next time you’re in Jaffrey!
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