Summer is officially ice cream season, and everyone screams for ice cream. I came across the Good Scoop Ice Cream Shop on Instagram (it's how anyone finds anything these days, duh). And I was so stoked that it made me want to go to Davis, CA where they're located just to go into the shop and eat all the organic ice cream! So, I reached out to the owners and talked a little bit of shop, ice cream shop to be exact. The owners are Stephen and Marnie who are brother and sister. Now I think that it's so cool that a brother and sister have the same passion, and love each other so much that they want to spend even more time together - running a business. When I opened Mimi's Cookie Bar, my brother invested some money to help me get going. I couldn't be more grateful to him, still to this day. He even moved out here and tried his hand at working in a bakery, but it just wasn't for him. Even though I wish he had stayed with all my heart, he had to stay true to what makes him happy and that was more important. So his investment was paid back and he's no longer a part of Mimi's Cookie Bar. But, he still loves eating all the sweets I make and he's still my brother. So, you could say I am a little jealous of Stephen and Marnie's partnership. Everyone wants someone who is invested in their business as much as they are, and that is what this brother/sister team has and that is rare.
So anyone that is in or around the Davis, CA area you must stop by The Good Scoop and get more than just one scoop of ice cream. They carry Tara's Organic Ice Cream and have such interesting flavors like Black Sesame, Beet Balsamic, Lavender and Butternut Curry just to name a few. Tara's Organic Ice Cream works closely with farmers to get seasonally available ingredients from local sources. And The Good Scoop does their best to honor what is in season and provide people with some unique flavor choices. On top of the crazy unique flavors, they still serve standards like Strawberry, Cookies 'N Cream and Chocolate, do not worry.
So I talked with Stephen, of the duo, and asked him some questions about his organic ice cream shop.
Mimi: How long has The Good Scoop been in business?
Stephen: We sold our first scoop of ice cream 2/27/2016, so just over a year ago.
M: I read on your website that you started this with your sister, tell me about your relationship and why you guys decided to open The Good Scoop together.
S: My sister Marnie is my business partner at The Good Scoop. Together we run the ice cream shop and divide up tasks. We have always worked well together and it has been great working together. Of course, there have been challenges but it has been working out great thus far.
We have always talked about starting a business together and we thought ice cream would be something that was fun and would make people happy. It was time for a new challenge, we had both been working in different fields and felt like we wanted to try something new.
M: How many employees do you have?
S: Our employees vary seasonally but now in the busy season, we have about 8 part-time employees.
M: Do you and your sister both actively work in your business?
S: Marnie and I both actively work in the business. Most times when a customer comes into our shop they see one of the two of us. Marnie manages to day-to-day operations of the shop including the employees. My focus is more on the business aspects and keeping everything moving along. There always seems to be something that comes up and my job is to deal with that. I also spend time in the shop, scooping ice cream, organizing, and doing other various tasks. Most days I am spending at least some time in the shop.
M: What has been one of the challenges with opening either a small business, an ice cream shop or an ice cream shop that focuses on organic ice cream only, or all three?
S: One of the major challenges for The Good Scoop has been getting people to understand how our product is different from the competitors. Our ice cream is made in small batches using local seasonally available ingredients and the raw materials that go into the ice cream cost slightly more than their conventional equivalents. This results in our ice cream costing slightly more than traditional ice creams.
Our ice cream is denser than most, meaning there is less air added into the ice cream when it is being produced. As a result, our ice cream melts much more slowly than other products and has a dense texture. Our scoops are about the size of a golf ball and some people are used to seeing larger scoops but in reality, they are getting more ice cream in one of our “smaller” scoops. That has taken a little time to explain to people but most people are receptive.
The trick for us has been to get people to try our ice cream, often time people come in and they are slightly confused or unsure of some of our stranger flavors. We here things like “cardamom ice cream?” or “Chinese five spice ice cream, really?” Most people genuinely enjoy our ice cream when they give it a chance and try the unique flavors. When we have flavors like bay laurel caramel, and it typically goes quickly.
M: Why did you want to open an organic ice cream shop?
S: Davis is a community steeped in agricultural history, organic and local made products are typically understood and well received. We wanted to offer our customers, and the community of Davis, the best possible ice cream made with the highest quality ingredients.
Davis already has some great frozen treats but all the other ice creams, gelatos, and yogurts in town are made in factories or local businesses receive a pre-made mix and simply mix it in their ice cream machines. We explored this route and could have gone that direction but we wanted to offer something different. Our ice cream is not made in a factory by large machines, our ice cream is made by hand, by people we know by name and that is part of what make our ice cream so special.
M: Why is organic important to you?
S: Organic is important to me for a variety of reasons. I know that organic is not perfect and is not the answer to all of our questions but it is a huge step in the right direction. I have a background in ecological design and restoration and caring for the planet and the environment is one of my core values. When I decided to start my own business it was the obvious choice for me to focus on organic and natural products. All of our paper goods, including ice cream cups and spoons, are compostable. We offer our guests samples of ice cream on real metal spoons to cut down on waste. Leading by example has always been important to me, and this was a great opportunity to showcase my values.
We decided to focus on the organic market because it matches with our personal values and we want to support farmers that use best management practices. There are many choices for ice cream but being able to offer handcrafted ice cream that is not mixed from a pre-made base is what helps us to offer such amazing fresh flavors.
M: What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Can you even pick just one?
S: My favorite ice cream flavor is constantly changing depending on the time of year and what flavors we have at any given time. I do have a couple of flavors that always seem to be on the top of my list, those include Lemon Meringue Pie, Cookies 'N Cream, and Geranium.
M: Do you eat ice cream every day?
S: Let’s just say I eat a “little” ice cream every day :)
M: Do you do anything to stay fit, being that you own an ice cream shop?
S: I care for my 20-month-old son during the day and work in the ice cream shop at night. Chasing after a toddler, I have found, provides me with all the physical activity that I can handle in a given day. In my house, there are at least two of us who sleep like a baby each night.
So since we're in the middle of summer and it's ice cream season everywhere, I thought I'd share an Ice Cream Cake recipe! I made this Mud Pie Ice Cream Cake for Delaney's birthday last week. And let me just say it was devoured by our friends, who are also my usual taste testing crew. So, this is approved and ready for any summer party. Or if you can't get to Mimi's Cookie Bar or The Good Scoop for a cup of organic ice cream, you can whip this up at home and still eat some of the best organic ice cream ever.
Mud Pie Ice Cream Cake | Makes 6" Ice Cream Cake (serves 6-8)
- 1 pint organic Coffee Ice Cream (I used Straus Organic Creamery)
- 1 pint organic Cookies 'N Cream Ice Cream (I used Straus Organic Creamery)
- ½ stick organic butter, softened
- 35 g. organic powdered sugar, sifted
- ¾ tsp. organic vanilla extract
- 10 g. organic Dutch cocoa, sifted
- 53 g. organic flour
- ¼ stick organic butter, softened
- 28 g. organic sugar
- ½ cup organic heavy whipping cream
- ¼ tsp. organic vanilla extract
- 8 g. organic sugar
- 4 g. organic Dutch cocoa
Line the bottom and sides of two 6" cake pans. Let ice cream soften a little at room temperature, then dump the ice cream into each cake pan and spread evenly. Put back in the freezer and freeze overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, add the ½ stick butter, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Mix on low until all ingredients are combined.
Then add the flour and powdered sugar, mix on low until combined.
On a cookie sheet with parchment paper, form cookie dough balls into 2" disks and space at least 1" apart.
Bake for 13 minutes.
Once the cookies have cooled, add the cookies and the remaining ¼ stick butter and sugar into a food processor. Pulse until everything is a fine crumb.
Line the bottom of a 6" cake pan and press the cookie crust into the bottom so it's even.
Bake for 5-6 minutes.
Place the cookie crust in the freezer until frozen.
Place the cookie layer on a plate or cake stand, then add the Cookies 'N Cream layer, and last add the Coffee Ice Cream layer. Place the cake back in the freezer.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, add the heavy whipping cream, cocoa, sugar and vanilla extract. Whisk on low until and gradually speed up to high until you are whisking at full speed. Whisk until you have a stiff whipped cream.
Put in a piping bag with decorating tip #864 and pipe dollops on top of the ice cream cake.
Store in the freezer until ready to serve.