Everywhere we went in Eugene, folks mentioned Red Wagon Creamery. "It's the best ice cream in Oregon," more than a few people said. "It's the best ice cream in the West," said others. We tried to get a scoop at the Lane County farmers' market, but Red Wagon was away at an event for March of Dimes. Their little mobile shop next to The Party Cart was closed as well. Determined to follow an ice cream tip (and always willing to try a beer sampler), we tracked down Red Wagon Creamery's ice cream at Falling Sky Brewery on Oak Alley, and we're glad we did.
Our conclusion: this ice cream is easily in the running with super-popular and buzzed-about Salt and Straw in Portland. The sweet corn with honey butter scoop was remarkably corn-flavored, just like sweet fresh corn drizzled with honey and cream. It's the perfect kernel-y, vivid, end-of-summer flavor that we were craving, with plenty of butter on top. Even though we'd been eating all day, we couldn't stop shoveling this stuff into our mouths; it made us wonder why people don't always offer sweet corn ice cream alongside strawberry and mint chip. (Though we also hear that Red Wagon has a killer mint chip.)
We also tried the salted caramel, which arrived a little melted when we ordered it (ours seemed to be the last scoop of the day; it was removed from the menu board after our bowl was served.) Regardless, it was full of dark caramel flavor and a hint of smoke from a generous sprinkle of crunchy smoked salt. We were prepared to be unimpressed—isn't everyone doing salted caramel these days?—but this stuff was pretty darn delicious, rich, silky, complex and caramelly with a flash of salt crunches through each sweet-savory bite.
You can generally find Red Wagon Ice Creams at their cart at 28th and Friendly in Eugene, at the Lane County and Springfield farmers markets, and at Falling Sky, though they also deliver to Eugene and Springfield residents every Tuesday evening. For ever-changing cart locations, it's best to follow their Facebook page.
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