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 110-year-old dairy in Orrville, Ohio, has been sourcing raw cream and grass-grazed milk and pasteurizing it for us for the past couple of years. They work with small family farms within 200 miles of our kitchen. Two are Berg Farms and Eichorn Dairy Farm in Richland County. The dairy cattle on both farms are milked twice a day and freely spend the balance of their waking hours grazing lush Northeast Ohio pastures.
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 use Ndali Estate’s incredible vanilla to make Ndali Estate Vanilla, a voluptuous vanilla ice cream like no other.
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, groundbreaking coffee bars, and award-winning baristas. We could not be more proud to work with them to make Intelligentsia Black Cat Espresso ice cream.
The Columbus, Ohio, micro-distillery’s OYO vodka and whiskey are made with 100% soft red winter wheat grown in Ohio. (Oyo—“Oh-WHY-Oh”—is the American Indian name for the Ohio Valley.) Middle West’s oak barrel-aged whiskey is the one-of-a-kind spirit we use in Whiskey & Pecans ice cream and their Bourbon Whiskey, Michelone Reserve is the backbone of Middle West Whiskey Eggnog.
The main ingredient in our frozen yogurts is naturally tangy, organic yogurt from Seven Stars Farm in Pennsylvania. Blended with grass-grazed Ohio milk and exquisite fruits from around the world, Seven Stars’ super-creamy, incredibly fresh-tasting, grass-grazed yogurt makes our yogurts as flavorful as any ice cream on our menu.
Our friends at Yazoo in Nashville make beer the way we make ice cream: from scratch, by hand, and from the ground up. Their mellow, smoky, high-octane Yazoo Sue porter is the fuel for our Yazoo Sue With Rosemary Bar Nuts, the very popular, two-fisted flavor your old man might make in his garage.
One of our most popular flavors each summer is Backyard Mint, which we make with fresh, organic peppermint grown, hand-weeded, and hand-picked for us by registered nurse Val Jorgensen at her certified-organic Jorgensen Farms. Val’s mint—a variety known as “Robert Mitchum”—is sweet, cool, and refreshing, and it’s literally grown in backyard beds surrounding Val’s farmhouse just outside Columbus’ city limits.
Columbus’ Krema Nut Company, one of the longest-running nut companies in North America, supplies almonds (Brown Butter Almond Brittle), pecans (Whiskey & Pecans), and most everything else that calls for 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, headed up by Jean Mackenzie, churns out the naturally tangy goat cheese we use in Goat Cheese With Roasted Red Cherries. With a strong, fresh flavor and clean finish, Mackenzie’s goat 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.