Customers are happily forking over between $11 and $12 for a litre of this premium, made-in-Manitoba ice cream
This spring the Anola-area dairy producer launched Cornell Creme, a premium ice cream made from the milk of the 120 cows that she and husband William Dyck milk.
The rich (19-per-cent butterfat) ice cream began flying off store shelves after articles appeared in the Winnipeg Free Press and her local paper, The Clipper.
”From there my phone didn’t stop ringing,” she said. “Word of mouth got out and social media is big, too. I got a lot of email requests from stores requesting to carry my product. That really made it easy for me, so I’m thankful for that.”
It all began with the gift of an ice-cream maker a year ago.
“I started making ice cream at home,” said Dyck. “It was the best thing we’d ever tasted. My family just loved it.”
A chef she knew also gave it a rave review, and that prompted Dyck to call the Dairy Farmers of Manitoba (to arrange to buy some of their milk back from the milk pool), the Food Development Centre, and ultimately the University of Manitoba’s dairy pilot plant, a facility licensed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. She spent the winter working on recipes and a production process for a pure ingredient ice cream made with cream, eggs, milk, and sugar. She spent considerable time figuring out what natural flavourings to give it.
“My biggest challenge in all of this was just developing the quality of the ice cream that I wanted, ” she said. “That took us a few runs. ”
She’s started with five flavours: Natural Vanilla Bean, Raspberry White Chocolate, Lemon Meringue, Velvety Chocolate Truffle and a Malty Ale Pail. She plans to add Black Sesame Seed, Strawberry and Cream, and Blueberry Lavender Dream.
“And I have many more flavours in mind,” said Dyck, who has been running Cornell Dairy — started by William’s father Cornlieus —with her husband since 2000.
Dairy Farmers of Manitoba would like to see more processing of milk, said general manager Brent Achtemichuk.
“It just takes someone with a passion like this to do it,” he said. “It’s very exciting to have producers who want to showcase their milk in this form of product.”
The growing interest in local food has been a big factor in her success, added Dyck.
“Food trends are changing rapidly,” she said. “Urban people don’t really know what we do. So I thought it would be nice to bring them back to our farm and show them were their food is coming from.”
Cornell Dairy will be among farms opening their gates to visitors on Open Farm Day Sept. 15.
Her biggest challenge at the moment is keeping up with demand, Dyck said.
Currently she’s producing about 200 litres of ice cream weekly and want to reach 1,000 litres by midsummer. Higher production levels would also bring down production costs for her ice cream, which costs about $6 a litre to produce and retails for $11 to $12.
“We produce about 100,000 litres of milk a month, so I’m very small scale,” she said. “I just wanted to test the market first and see how people would respond to the ice cream. And so far it’s been overwhelming.”
For more info and to find retailers carrying Cornell Creme ice cream see www.cornellcreme.com