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145. Organic Certification | Organic Hand Churned Ice Cream | Em’s Ice Cream | Andrew Silverman | Denver, CO
22nd June 2016 • GREEN Organic Garden Podcast • Jackie Marie Beyer
00:00:00 00:49:56

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When I went to Paris, I sat next to this guy on the plane who had a food tuck in Denver and when I was looking him up I found Em’s Ice Cream Organic Ice Cream Company in Denver Colorado and here to talk to us today is Andrew Silverman!

Hi! Hello!

I think we are all interested in anything that has to do with healthy living and any kind of green jobs that help take care of our planet and we alike to eat healthy food and see the connection between the food that we eat and how it is grown. And So I am excited to read: 

Em’s Ice Cream is a certified organic ice cream company and we’re based right in Denver. We make everything from scratch right down to the chocolate chips in our Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. We try to work with local vendors and farmers whenever possible, and 1% of our profits go to the Food Bank of the Rockies.

Em’s Ice Cream is made using premium organic milk, organic cream, organic eggs, and organic cane sugar. We do not use any stabilizers, GMO’s, or food coloring. Our ice cream is gluten free and batch churned to ensure consistent and superior quality.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m from Maine! I grew up in a relatively small town in Maine where ag was still an important component of the local economy. That’s where my love for ice cream came from! I grew up down the road from a dairy farm. They didn’t make a ton of flavors but what they did make they made fresh almost every day. They used their own milk and cream! The eggs came from their chickens. It was just phenomenal! That was what I had for ice cream as a kid, and that’s what I judge all ice cream by ever since! 

So how long have you been in Denver?

I’ve been in Denver for just about 2 1/2 years. I was in Salt Lake for a few years in the wintertime and fishing in Alaska in the Summertime.

Em’s ice cream… So your wife is Emily!

So, I was fishing, working on a commercial fishing salmon boat for a few summers.

That’s some dangerous work. 

It’s not very conducive to being married cause your out on a boat for years, most boats are named after wives or daughter’s. So I said if I can’t pursue this I’ll start an ice cream business named after you. So if I can’t get my boat, I’ll name my truck after you and then I’ll at least have a truck! So it’s named after my wife Emily!

My wife and I when we want to treat ourselves in the evening, our go to has been let’s go out and get some ice cream. There’s a couple of good places in Salt Lake City. There’s actually one place that is called Hatch Family Chocolates SLC

Hatch’s that has this delicious frozen hot chocolate!

We used to do that. When we got to Denver people said, there’s tons of great ice cream here. It was ok, but as I said before, I had a really high bar that was set when I was a kid in Maine. So that’s what everything was judged against and I was always disappointed. Nobody’s seemed to match that quality. The other thing, I kind of discovered most of the ice cream in the west using an American ice cream recipe which is:

  • milk
  • sugar some kind of sweetener 
  • binder like guar gum, locust gum…

It has a more icy grainy consistency, doesn’t have the same fat content, I don’t think it holds a flavor as well.

What I grew up with is a French creme anglaise basemore of a custard style

  • milk
  • cream
  • egg yolks 
  • sugar

has a higher fat content, it has a more creamy velvety mouth feel

that’s the style ice cream we produce, which sort of sets us aside from all the other ice cream in the Denver area at the very least but broader then that. 

Nice,  Are you gonna package it then 

Probably not, wholesale is really tough, the volume you need.

the cloves to make make $ and be competitive

more fo an undertaking then we’re willing to do… I also feel like out of necessity your size, just because you are producing

we produce small batch

about 20 gallons at a time

time and effort and we can be very detailed oriented with everything that we’re doing and if we were producing 2000 gallons it would be impossible to meet that same level of quality.

They just opened a hand churned ice cream place in winter. 

Ice creams a tough sell in the winter. We’re mobile exclusively so wehen people say we eat outside, we 

We run April -Through October

Right now we have 22 flavors

not all of them are always available. Our trucks and carts hold between 7-12 flavors all the time…

Em's Ice Cream Flavors

Staple Flavors:

  • Salty carmel 
  • burnt brown sugar
  • high molasses
  • chocolate
  • strawberry
  • vanilla
  • cookies and cream
  • mint chocolate chip
  • pumpkin
  • western slope
  • peaches

Salty carmel – we make a salty carmel first

Burnt brown sugar, It’s my personal favorite…. we use a brown sugar with a  high molasses content , take it just past caramelization brings out all those bittersweet smokey notes… it tastes like  the top of cream brule, or a perfectly roasted marshmallow whatever your reference is. 

Chocolate, strawberry, and  vanilla we almost always have those. 

Cookies and cream, was one of my favorites,  I was always disappointed as a kid when there was too much ice cream and not enough cookie and we negate that problem

we make an organic cookie into a fine grain it turn it almost to dust and then we put big chunks of cookie on top of that… 

put that in the base first

Dagoba Mint Chocolate

Our mint chocolate chip – always a favorite. We do make our own chips, we use a Dagoba Chocolate

69% dark chocolate which melts down, add a bit of canola oil which changes the melting temp so they even when frozen helps them remain maleable so you don’t get that chalky sensation

Our mint chocolate chip is always  white not green some kids who havent been exposed to that so they give you the quizzical looks

That’s the best kind anyway.

It’s always funny when adults say, “Why isn’t it green?” 

“And we say why would it be green?” and they say

“Because fo the mint…”

And we explain that’s not how it works…. that green is a color it does not have a flavor.

Is that twelve?

Em’s Ice Cream Some Seasonal Flavors

  • Pumpkin
  • Western Slope Palisades Peach
  • Balsamic Fig Compote
  • Raw Ginger
  • Balsamic Strawberry

We do a pumpkin in the fall.

There’s a Western Slope Palisades Peaches. That’s a popular one. We only do that once a year, usually the second week in august

a new flavor ever year. 

balsamic fig compote that we swirled through sweet cream, that’s very good. some of the other flavors… We do a ginger which was my favorite

raw ginger

blanch it first, that takes out bitterness

sweet notes of ginger

We’ve done an earl gray in the past

strawberry balsamic on occasion.

I lose my recording here. I think I probably asked Andrew where does he get his flavors and ideas from?

A lot of it is kind of my experience with other ice creams in the past, some flavors are ideas that i had or someone did it better somewhere and I was like oh that’s fantastic!

something I will say, we don’t do crazy  like Sriracha  lime or anything like that

A novelty flavor is fun! It’s nothing that you go back for again and again, we’re trying to build a foundation right now so we focus on flavors that have universal appeal, or that have a classic base, or a modified more modern palate, try to cover all our bases.

I would begin by saying, if you’re familiar with the expression, a boat is a whole you throw money too, the same could be said about a truck!

Trucks are extremely expensive both to build and maintain

it’s not an easy business by any means. 

Em's Ice Cream Cart

We actually started with carts’, little ice cream carts, they were a lot les expensive to purchase so we could test out proof of concept first before we went out and invested a bunch!

Em's Ice Cream Truck

Food Trucks Basics

We are scooping ice cream, so the singular piece is a cold plate freezer

self contained

Amazing piece of technology, they have cold plates lined what heavy insulation, so you plug them in and they will hold 0º for 12 hours with a 90º ambient temperatures. So our trucks are extremely simple compared to someone doing a full food truck build out

  • heat cookers
  • grilling ovens
  • cooling racks etc

not the best example to judge how a food truck

Truck are a lot of work, but you have to keep them busy!

it doesn’t matter how good your food is, you HAVE TO KEEP THEM BUSY and be working them every day. Your trucks have to be busy!!!

So I probably said where do you go?

Farmer’s Markets turned out not to be  a big hit for us, pre breakfast is a hard sell!

we don’t drive around, those trucks sell a prepackaged product and we have a hard scooped dipped ice-cream, our set up is more involved, so we’d have to get out and go in back and get our cones etc out and try to hand dip things….

Em's Ice Cream Truck with Kids

Places to Find Em’s Ice Cream Food Truck

We go to a lot of

  • arts festivals
  • outdoor movie nights
  • outdoor theater events
  • school events
  • end of school graduations
  • spring events
  • back to school
  • fall things
  • family friendly community activities
  • Downtown Denver – Civic Center Eats

Civic Center Eats

that’s where we have done the best! So in Denver there are a couple of weekly food truck events, where between 10-20 local trucks


Civic Center Eats at the Civic center park big draw for everyone that works downtown Denver and for tourists as well.

So where do you make your products?

So we actually used to make our own base in house, we just got to the point that we couldn’t do it, the economics weren’t working, so we found a dairy out of northern California, so they now make our recipe and they do the whole thing.

Em’s Ice Cream Recipe

  • milk




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