If you venture around Knoxville, Tennessee for more than a few days you will likely hear the name Cruze Farm come up at some point. A local favorite, the family owned farm is best known by locals for their farmer’s market stand, and most recently their Milk Bar pop-up shop.
The farm, located in East Tennessee, is home to Jersey cows the family milk on the daily. The Cruze family began by pasteurizing hormone-free whole milk, but have since created several other products using their Jersey milk. Knoxville’s obsession with Cruze Farm began when Colleen Cruze, also known as Cruze Farm Girl, started her ventures at the Market Square Famer’s Market several years ago and quickly became a regular favorite.
Cruze Farm is not your typical local farm business, it embodies Knoxville’s atmosphere and people in every way: that familiar southern charm and family heritage mixed with a unique, different and artistic feel.
On Saturday mornings you can find many of the Market Square Farmer’s Market goers in line for a fresh made buttermilk biscuit topped with a choice of savory meats or sweet jams from the Cruze Farm food truck. Delicious hot dogs with unique toppings like corn relish and cilantro are also a hit with the lunch crowd. Of course a dairy farm food truck has some creamy beverages, but instead of simply offering milk by the bottle, they offer a variety of unique milk flavors such as Chai and coffee milk. Their milks and ice creams also make appearances in well known establishments across the state of Tennessee, from Knoxville’s Whole Foods Market to the famous kitchens of Husk and Adele in Nashville.
Milk, biscuits, and hot dogs are not the only things that have followers in long lines at their food truck. A rotating selection of hand churned ice cream flavors are popular in shakes or atop cones. The homemade ice cream flavors listed on a blackboard, which often have chalk lines through them as they run out of stock, range from popular classics like birthday cake to the more unique blends like buttermilk lime cardamom.
The popularity of the ice cream led to Cruze Farm Girl’s summer venture, the Milk Bar. The small pop-up shop was located on Union Avenue in Downtown Knoxville in a converted store front for the summer months. It often brought lines that lasted well over 30 minutes and hugged the street sidewalks outside of the door. The hours varied each day, as did the flavor selection. One thing was certain though, the store was a direct reflection of the unique brand that Cruze Farm Girl has so thoughtfully created. From the fresh flowers to the red gingham, the pop-up was a larger expansion of the food truck that so many love.
My personal favorite Cruze Farm ice cream flavor is always a dead tie between the pumpkin (available in the fall only) and the brownie fudge ripple. Nothing says “I’m still lingering in summer, but I’m ready to take on fall” like the pumpkin ice cream, which tastes identical to your favorite pumpkin pie filling (minus the dry store-bought crust that no one really likes). But at the same time, nothing solves my non-stop sweet tooth like the wonderfully rich brownie fudge ripple. What a dilemma… So what did they do? Oh they invented the “Dolly Parton” of course, a side by side extra large ice cream cone fittingly named after the queen of East Tennessee. This amazing invention allows you to enjoy both flavors without one melting on the other, and gives you a good laugh when reading the menu. If you think a heaping side by side double scoop of ice cream is too much, well I think Dolly herself would tell you that “You Better Get to Livin’.”
The pop-up was only for the short summer months, but Cruze Farm Girl hopes to open again in a new location next summer. Something tells me this will not be the last exciting project by Cruze Farm Girl. In the mean time, the delicious scoops, biscuits, and other treats can be found at the Market Square Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings and around East Tennessee at events such as the Tennessee Valley Fair.
To keep up with Cruze Farm’s latest locations and retailers visit: