It takes a community of people to build ice cream from the ground up: growers, makers, producers, suppliers, customers. We call it the fellowship model—combining values from the good food world with tools from the 21st century. We’ve always worked with a lot of people to make ice cream the way we want to make it, and these relationships have enabled us to do what no other ice cream company has done before. We believe we get higher quality ingredients when we know the people we’re buying from, so we buy direct whenever we can. Making ice cream this way requires more work and skill than traditional ice creams made with flavorings and colorings, but we think it’s worth it.
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Dairy is the foundation of everything we do, so we use the best we can find. Smith’s, the century-old dairy in Orrville, Ohio, has been sourcing raw cream and grass-grazed milk and pasteurizing it for us for years. They work with small family farms within 200 miles of our kitchen, including Berg Farms, where the dairy cattle are milked twice a day and freely spend the balance of their waking hours grazing lush Northeast Ohio pastures.
If you want to know how we get our buttermilk frozen yogurts (BFYs) so impossibly creamy, here’s the answer: Arps Dairy. Located in Defiance, Ohio, Arps Dairy uses milk from family farms located within 30 miles of their creamery. We’ve partnered with the 82-year-old dairy to develop a naturally tart, medium-bodied yogurt that they make just for us. Blended with grass-grazed Ohio milk and exquisite fruits from around the world, their super-creamy, incredibly fresh-tasting yogurt makes our yogurts as flavorful as any ice cream on our menu. We also source Arps fresh cultured buttermilk, which lends crazy body and a bit of sourness to our BFYs.
Bean-to-bar guru Shawn Askinosie supplies us with some of the best chocolate we have ever tasted. We’ve used his Direct Trade, single-origin chocolate in a variety of flavors over the years, including the chocolate morsels in Green Mint Chip. He makes his own cocoa butter (using the fat in the cocoa liquor he also makes), and shares the profits with the men and women who cultivate and harvest the beans. At Askinosie, based in Missouri, social responsibility is woven into everything they do. They are committed to fairness, sustainability, minimal environmental impact, and community enhancement.
Lulu Sturdy’s Fair Trade-and organic- certified farm in Africa grows what we consider some of the finest vanilla on earth. The beans are rich, full-flavored, and exude a heady scent with notes of jasmine and honey. We used Ndali Estate’s incredible vanilla to make Ndali Estate Vanilla, a voluptuous vanilla ice cream like no other.
Jeni first met fourth-generation farmer Mike Hirsch at a farmers market in Columbus. Every week, she’d browse his tables filled with berries, apples, and pumpkins, and churn his bounty into fresh flavors. More than two decades later, Mike is still growing unique produce just for us on his more than 125-year-old family farm in Chillicothe, Ohio. He grows the wonderful, ruby berries for Strawberry Buttermilk ice cream, the buttercup pumpkins for Pumpkin 5-Spice ice cream, vine-ripened blackberries for brambleberry jam, and sweet potatoes for Sweet Potatoes with Torched Marshmallows.
Intelligentsia Coffee buyers source and develop naturally sweet coffees from some of the best producers in the world. The company, founded in 1995 and based in Chicago, is recognized as an industry pioneer for its creation of the Direct Trade purchasing model (which enables them to truly partner with our growers), groundbreaking coffee bars, and award-winning baristas. We could not be more proud to work with them to make Coffee with Cream & Sugar ice cream.
Our longtime friends Ryan Lang and Brady Konya of Middle West Spirits hand-select barrels of whiskey and bourbon just for us to fold into ice cream. One of the first craft distillers in the country, Middle West in Columbus, Ohio, makes products that are unlike anything else. Their spirits pay homage to the agronomy of Ohio, using only ingredients grown in the state. This includes food-grade corn, wheat, and pumpernickel rye, among other grains to create spirits with flavor profiles distinct to the surrounding terroir. To make Middle West Whiskey & Pecans ice cream, we reach for their signature whiskey distilled with single-origin, soft red winter wheat and barrel-aged to perfection in white American oak cooperage. And we spike recurring holiday favorite, Boozy Eggnog, with Middle West’s wheated bourbon whiskey.
There’s nothing like the fragrance, flavor, and texture of fresh, in-season, tree-ripened Georgia peaches. Thanks to Stephen and Jessica Rose, owner-operators of The Peach Truck, we were able to get our hands on some of that wonderful bounty to make beautiful peach ice creams every year, including Sweet Cream Biscuits & Peach Jam and Peach Buttermilk, which made its debut during the summer of 2018. Stephen and Jessica source peaches from Pearson Farm—experts in their field who have been growing peaches on the same land since 1885.
Columbus’ Krema Nut Company, one of the longest-running nut companies in North America, supplies us with pistachio butter (Pistachio & Honey), pecans (Whiskey & Pecans), and other nuts. Krema, whose staff expertly roasts quality nuts and grinds them into butters, has worked hard for its stellar national reputation. We’ve worked with Krema from the earliest days of Jeni’s, back when Jeni herself made her first batch of Bangkok Peanut (originally “Thai Chili”).
Northeast Ohio’s Mackenzie Creamery, run by Jean Mackenzie and her son, Rob DeMuch, churns out the naturally tangy goat cheese we use in Goat Cheese With Red Cherries. It’s an ice cream that’s all about showcasing this amazing goat cheese that turns light and ethereal, like a featherlight cheesecake, when mixed with grass-grazed milk and sugar. Mackenzie’s cheese is made in small batches with 100% hormone-free rBST milk. Simply put, it’s some of the best goat cheese we’ve ever tasted.