Guess what! We have a truck! And there's ice cream in it!
Like many of our farm projects, this sweet little truck did not always look like this. In December, Kyle purchased a decommissioned fiberoptic cable splicing truck. His staff at the farm? we were, well...unsure. To put it lightly. But like many of our farm projects, Kyle had a vision.
The truck was boring, drab, and a little weird looking, but it had the right features important for a mobile food truck: electricity, hook-ups, and the ability to run water.
But even though it had good bones, it couldn't stay like this. We wanted a colorful, fun, and vibrant truck.
When looking around for options for the outside of the truck, we found this great company in Dubuque called Digital Designs. After looking through their portfolio, we knew these were the guys who could bring our vision to life.
They do this thing called vehicle wrapping, which is basically covering the vehicle in large sheets of vinyl stickers. These guys were awesome. They worked with us throughout the whole design process, going back and forth through a couple of drafts (because we're a bit picky) until we reached a design we loved.
Once we reached a design concept, they worked HARD on executing the design on the truck. It took them nine days to finish the truck, working around all the weird structures and vents and jut-outs and just all-around not smooth sides of this big ugly service truck. They did an absolutely amazing job, even stopping to take photos to update us on their progress.
The staff at Digital Designs completely transformed our truck and we couldn't be more grateful for their hard work and help in turning this old service truck into our new sweet wheels! Seriously, these guys are the best!
But the outside was just the first step in getting this truck road-ready. Kyle spent the next few weeks cleaning and updating the inside, putting in a sink, painting, and finding space for the freezer. We also had to cut a hole for our service window and install that. He had to spend quite a bit of time underneath the truck to re-wire and put in a water tank, which was a pretty tricky business. Plus there was the installation of an impressive back-up camera system to make sure even staff like me can drive this thing!
And then there was the paperwork! The truck has to meet state health and safety requirements and so there was a whole process to making sure we can safely and happily serve you all ice cream from this transformed truck. Because of the pandemic, we actually had the truck inspected virtually rather than in person. Kyle had to take quite a few photos and send them all in for approval. The state will come and inspect the truck in person soon, but virtually, we got our passing grade!
More fun was deciding on uniforms - from the hats to the bow ties, we had a good time dreaming up the ice cream outfit!
About a month ago, the truck was health checked and passed, equipped with a freezer and all the things we need to serve ice cream, and wrapped up in fun colors and cones. We were ready to hit the road!
We were ready. The world wasn't. With the pandemic, a lot of our plans for the truck have been put on hold. There are no markets, not many neighborhood gatherings, and many food vendor events have been canceled or put on hold. Again, this global pandemic changed our plans. But, you know, we can roll with the punches.
Our new plan is to establish a route that covers communities in the area. We are flattered that so many of you have been driving to the farm from 30, 40, or even 60 miles away to do our curbside pickups, and we want to instead bring the ice cream to you. We are currently exploring the idea of visiting towns each month or every couple of weeks to serve cones, but also to fill pre-ordered pints. The details on this are still a bit unsure, but in the next couple of weeks, we will be announcing a new schedule and a new plan for our sweet treats! And we can't wait to see and serve you!
Also, we need to give a big shoutout to our wonderful families and to Shannon Marie Photography, who all came out to our ice cream photoshoot. Thank you for the wonderful photos and the fun afternoon!
It's been a little bit more than a month, but we are catching up with catching you up on what's been going on at the farm. Surprisingly, even with very few things happening, time has still managed to slip away from us.
These past six weeks have brought us into a brand new world at the farm, and although we're not checking our watches as much as we used to and our calendar looks pretty empty, we have been busy learning new skills, staying positive, improving our barn space, and - most importantly - eating WAY too much ice cream.
The coolest thing that we've been doing this past month or so is getting our ice cream truck ready for going on the road. We've painted, moved a thousand electrical wires, installed a water tank, made room for a cooler, problem solved a variety of issues, and filed a bunch of paperwork. We've arranged a photo shoot with the incomparable Shannon Marie Photography, installed back-up cameras, moved the truck in and out of the barn a bunch of times, and taken it out for its maiden voyages to Mineral Point and to Lancaster.
But, honestly, the best part has been making the ice cream! We've perfected our main flavors and experimented with a few others. It has been incredibly fun and quite the learning experience!
(...okay, honestly, the best part has been taste testing the ice cream. We HAD to make sure it was good!)
Because we haven't been able to hold events, the barn space has transformed into a workspace for Kyle, and the main thing he's been working on is updating our bar space. It's been something we've worked around for years, but with the extra time on his hands, Kyle custom-built shelving to fit our storage and functional needs. It still needs doors, a few paint touch ups, and a backdrop on the back wall, but it is looking amazing and we can't wait for our bartenders to try it out at our next event!
In April, we learned a completely new skill when we tried out curbside pick up for our donuts, kettle corn, and ice cream. We tried another one out on Mother's Day weekend. Both times, we were overwhelmed with people and their patience and wonderfulness as we learned the new skills needed for online ordering and social distancing pickup.
We have loved doing curbside pickup and really want to express our gratitude for our farm guests. This has been an uncertain and stressful time - for us and for everyone - and we are so appreciative of your support in helping us through. We hope that the ice cream, the donuts, and the kettle corn lifted your spirits and elevated your late-night snacking!
You can check out our time-lapse video of our pickup on Mother's Day!
Since everything started, we also said a very sad farewell to our amazing inter Caitlin, who moved back home and is currently under very strict orders to visit us whenever she finds her way back her. Caitlin was such a huge part in starting our ice cream project - if you had ice cream last summer you probably saw her smiling face as she scooped!
Although we miss Caitlin, we've also said a very happy hello to two new interns, Bridget and Caroline, both business majors at UW-Platteville. Because of the pandemic, their internship job duties have changed quite a bit, but they'll be helping us through summer and fall, working on ice cream and helping us create some new blog and social media content. They are both excited - as are we - to bring you some new things from the farm!
One thing is for sure that this new month will bring us new challenges and new things to overcome. But if the last three months have taught us anything, it's that we can adapt and move forward, no matter what the world throws at us.
Fun on the farm...in blog form!