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This 1966 Chattanooga Free Press photo shows a 57-cent half gallon of McDonald Farm Ice Cream. Photo contributed by ChattanoogaHistory.com.

This 1966 newspaper archive photo shows a half-gallon of McDonald Farm Cherry Garden-flavored ice cream priced at 57 cents.

The historic McDonald Farm in Sale Creek, Tennessee, has been in the news recently. Hamilton County leaders have said they are scouting the family owned property as a possible industrial park.

At one point in the 20th century, the 2,100-acre farm also operated a creamery in Sale Creek, which produced ice cream, milk, butter and cheese. The dairy goods were distributed to the McDonald family's Home Stores, a grocery chain which at its peak had 70 locations, according to newspaper archives.

This photo is part of the Chattanooga Free Press photo collection at ChattanoogaHistory.com, a website curated by history buff Sam Hall and devoted to archiving historical photos of the Chattanooga area.

For decades, the Chattanooga Free Press was operated by members of the same McDonald family who own the Sale Creek farm. The morning Chattanooga Times and the afternoon Chattanooga Free Press were purchased and consolidated by WEHCO Media in the late 1990s.

More Info

Launched by history enthusiast Sam Hall in 2014, ChattanoogaHistory.com is maintained to present historical images in the highest resolution available.

If you have photo negatives, glass plate negatives, or original non‐digital prints taken in the Chattanooga area, contact Sam Hall for information on how they may qualify to be digitized and preserved at no charge.

 

 

A history of the McDonald Farm published on the property's web site notes: "James McDonald settled the area now encompassing McDonald Farm in 1821, and eight generations since then have enjoyed the bucolic setting straddling Sale Creek at the upper end of Hamilton County in East Tennessee."

The ice cream shown in the photo was sold throughout East Tennessee, according to the McDonald Farm website. Although the exact recipe for Cherry Garden is unknown, the photo on the box suggests that cherries, coconut and pineapple were among the ingredients.

A search of mid-20th century newspaper archives shows that Cherry Garden was a common ice cream flavor of the period. References to Cherry Garden peaked just prior to 1950, according to digital records.

A Home Stores advertisement in the Chattanooga Times in 1959 noted McDonald Farm ice cream on sale for 39 cents per half gallon. The ad also heralded a new "aluminum carton" which promised to keep ice cream colder while out of the freezer.

In 2011, the owners opened McDonald Farm to fall public tours, but those have been put on hold in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Follow the "Remember When, Chattanooga?" public group on Facebook.

Contact Mark Kennedy at mkennedy@timesfreepress.com.

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