Cows is an ice cream manufacturer and chain of ice cream parlors based in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada. Cows was founded in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island in 1983, and has since expanded into cheddar cheese, and cow-themed merchandise. Cows was named "Canada's best ice cream" in a survey of readers of Reader's Digest and named the world's top place to get ice cream by Tauck World Discovery.
The first Cows opened in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island in 1983. In 2006, Cows began producing cheese, including their principal product, Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar. Cows was voted as "Canada's best ice cream" in a Reader's Digest opinion poll, and in 2008 was listed as number 1 in the "World's Top Ten Places for Ice Cream" by Tauck World Discovery. Cows has 12 stores located across Canada (Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario) and Beijing.
The original "Cows T-shirt" design was created by a PEI graphic artist Marc Gallant in 1987. He went on creating several "whimsical cow themed designs" for 7 years until his death in 1994. Shortly after, Cows President Scott Linkletter hired Graphic Designer Shawn Mader to continue the line. From 1994 to present day, Shawn has created over 150 unique Cow designs, adorning everything from the Cows classic 100% cotton T-shirt to calendars, mugs, pens, etc.
In 2007 Cows announced that they would be building a new 25,000 square feet (2,300 m2) corporate office in Charlottetown, paid for by a loan from the government of Prince Edward Island. The new Cows facility would be modeled after the Vermont-based Ben & Jerry's headquarters, and would serve as both a centralized production facility for all Cows ice cream and shirts. The new headquarters will also act as a tourist attraction where visitors can watch the ice cream and clothing being produced. In 2008 the plan for the facility had grown to 32,000 square feet (3,000 m2) integrating a production area for cheese.
Cows only uses milk from Prince Edward Island cows. The cheese and butter is gluten free although not certified gluten free.
Cows produce over 32 varieties of "super premium" ice cream, including"Gooey Mooey", "Wowie Cowie" and "Moo Crunch".
In 2006 Cows expanded their brand to cheddar cheese. The expansion came after Cows owner Scott Linkletter took a trip to the Orkney Islands in Northern Scotland. Linkletter was taken by the local cheese and partnered with a local cheese maker who would give him the recipe which would in turn be the foundation for Cows "signature cheese", Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar. While developing the recipe for Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar, Linletter and Prince Edward Island cheese maker Armand Bernard created a second cheese, PEI Cheddar.
Cows makes Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar in 10 kilograms (22 lb) wheels, and ages it for 12 months. Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar gets the "clothbound" name from the "traditional cheddar-making technique", of wrapping it in cheese cloth, a method that originated in Somerset, England (the town of Cheddar, where Cheddar cheese gets its name from is in the county of Somerset). The name Avonlea comes from link between Prince Edward Island and Anne of Green Gables. Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar won its category's second prize at the 2008 Chicago conference of the American Cheese Society.
In March 2014 Cows placed first in two categories at the 2014 World Championship Cheese Contest in Madison, Wisconsin. Its Appletree Smoked Cheddar scored 99.30 in Class 59, Open Class: Smoked Hard Cheeses and its Extra Old Cheddar scored 98.50 in Class 4, Cheddar, Aged One to Two Years. Cows' Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar placed sixth in Class 7, Bandaged Cheddar, Sharp to Aged. http://wccc.myentries.org/contest/results?event=57&submit=Submit+Search
Cows markets their product on "cow-themed merchandise", which are parodies of movies, such as "Dairy Potter/Cowy Potter and the Udder of the Phoenix" (Harry Potter) and television series' such as "Trailer Park Cows" (Trailer Park Boys)
Cows have clothing available for men, women, youth, and kids. Including pajamas, t-shirts, sweaters and infant wear. There is other merchandise available including calendars, key chains, and mugs.
Cows sells unsalted, sea salted and cultured butter. The sea slated butter contains 84% butter fat, higher then the 80% butterfat in typical butters.
The butter is made by churning the cream slow and for an extended period in traditional churns which results in a silkier texture and creamier taste.
A self guided tour at the Cavendish location is available next to the retail store. How the ice cream, cheese and shirts are made can be observed. The tour explains the history behind Cows creamery and its products.