Last summer, I bemoaned to the lack of local, organic ice cream in Seattle -- though perhaps my dream of ice cream made exclusively from>"/>
Last summer, I bemoaned to the lack of local, organic ice cream in Seattle -- though perhaps my dream of ice cream made exclusively from the milk of grass-fed dairy cows was too much to wish for (so far, at least). But someone was listening to my locavorian pangs, as the local ice cream business seems to be booming.
This weekend two small-scale, local ice cream makers make dual appearances at the Ballard Farmers Market: Empire Ice Cream (which was there last summer) and a newbie, Whidbey Island Ice Cream.
Empire Ice Cream makes delicious, ultra-rich dairy concoctions, with oftentimes-unusual flavors, using locally sourced ingredients. (Last season's pumpkin spice was amazing.) Tempting flavors available this weekend include rhubarb and sweet cicely sorbet --cicely is a leafy green herb better known as chervil, possessing a delicate anise flavor-- as well as old standbys like brown sugar ice cream. I'm especially curious about the lemon verbena flavor. Using fruits and herbs as they come into season, the flavors will rotate, though if you'd like a preview of what will be available for the upcoming weekend, check their site.
I have yet to sample Whidbey Island Ice Cream, the newest vendor at the Ballard Farmers Market. Run by Mike Rudd and Mary Stoll, the pair crafts such confections as loganberry ice cream and ice cream bars. Mike Rudd provides a little more background, via email:
We use a high butter-fat base, made from the milk of hormone-fee and antibiotic-free cows (the best we could find), we also use many local products, and natural ingredients in our ice cream.
Our bar flavor line varies with the seasons, but we normally have: Vanilla, Now this is CHOCOLATE, Chocolate- Chardonnay, Strawberry, Mocha Mousse (with local Mukilteo Coffee), Pistachio and White Coffee (a wonderful smoky coffee flavor). Some times you will find Peanut Butter, Root Beer, or Raspberry Dream or our wonderful natural Mint, as well as others in the cart...it just depends on what we feel like making that week. We have even been known to make wonderful Blackberry and Lingonberry Ice Cream Bars...waiting now for fresh berries.
The bars are all hand dipped in Guittard Dark Chocolate (again the finest we could find), double wrapped and frozen.
I'm getting up early on Sunday to sample these sweet wares. I'm plotting a taste test, ice cream against ice cream -- though it doesn't look like it will be a vanilla against vanilla contest at all. Berry against berry, perhaps, fruit against fruit, maybe? Though I'm hoping for chocolate, too.
The Ballard Farmers Market opens at 10 a.m. on Sunday, and runs until 3 p.m. Arrive early if you want a nibble of the most popular flavors.