We had such a good time tasting the flavors, but we can't keep them all to ourselves. We're even more excited to make them available to you! All through the month of June, we'll be at a variety of places where you can visit to taste our ice cream, culminating in a super fun event on the farm! For a list of tasting events, visit our website. More on our ice cream event on the farm below!
At the end of this month, we'll be hosting our first ever Sundaes on the Farm. Drop in Sunday, June 30 from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. and enjoy the farm activities, but - most importantly - try our ice cream! All our flavors will be available for tasting and we'll have pints for purchase. Visit our website or check us out on Facebook for the full event details!
After attending ice cream school, Kyle had a pretty clear idea of what he wanted to do.
The first thing on the agenda was order the ice cream machine. At school, he got to experiment with a few different kinds of ice cream machines, and the one he liked best was an Emery Thompson, which is made by one of the oldest ice cream machine manufacturers in the country. A lot of recognizable names in the ice cream industry started out on this type of machine, including Ben & Jerry's and Haagen-Daaz. (Maybe one day we'll be on their website!)
The ice cream machine is small-ish, but it can produce about 7 gallons of ice cream in about 10 minutes, so it's a pretty powerful ice-cream-makin' machine.
Once Kyle got the machine, he got right down to business making ice cream, which was (I'm not gonna lie), pretty awesome for our staff. Below are some pictures of us making our delicious strawberry and mint cookie ice cream!
To start, Kyle had to get a good recipe for both chocolate and vanilla, and that experimentation process took a week or so. We went through quite a few batches of ice cream, all of which were thoroughly tested by our staff. We offered Kyle some valuable input and we raided the freezer more than once (okay, more than twice) to make sure things were in tip-top flavor.
Since then, we've worked on developing about 10 core flavors that people really enjoy, and the fun part has been learning about all the different types of ingredients and techniques that make ice cream great. What's the best ratio of caramel to ice cream? How many walnuts should be in the mix? And how do you get a really good swirl? We'll be experimenting with more flavors as we develop our brand - and our staff will be right there with us, especially in the fall when we begin to work on the magic equation we've all been waiting for: ice cream + donuts.
We're super excited to follow up what was the best week ever here at the farm with more weeks full of ice cream flavors and tasting. Check out our next blog for all our current flavors. And don't worry, we'll be updating you with any new developments on Facebook and on our webpage!
The farm is a unique place. I mean, I don't know many places that combine a pumpkin patch and corn maze, weddings and events, donut fundraising, giant pumpkin growing, and berry patches all in one business.
And now we're adding one more thing.
For years, Kyle has had an idea of a food goods line in the back of his mind. For awhile, it was a jams and jellies, a common food product produced by places like ours. Then it was wine and craft beers. Then he entertained the idea of pies. Then cookies and cakes and the list goes on and on. But then one conversation changed his whole trajectory.
During a random chat one night, Kyle's neighbor and friend told him that he should think about a line of ice cream products. The more Kyle thought about it, the more he liked it. It seemed to fit. It was different. It sounded like a fun challenge.
But he wasn't sure where to start, so the same friend, who stays in close contact with the UW-Madison dairy science program, suggested Kyle look into Ice Cream School, and exclusive course taught once a year there.
What happened after that, well, was a lot of waiting. I mean, waiting, yes, but also a lot of work. We got distracted. Kyle finished building the barn, we grew a weddings and events business, and we started our fall season in the new space. We got busy, and so the food good lines took a backseat. Also, Kyle could not get into this class!
He tried to sign up once, it was full. And so the next time the course opened, he signed up immediately. But he still had to wait for another 8 months before the class began in January 2019. And it was when he walked in that he realized how exclusive and important this class was. He was one of 12 people in a 3-day course that ran from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. And even though Kyle drove 90 minutes to attend, he was in the minority because people had come from all over the country to attend: the Twin Cities; Virginia; Washington state; Manitoba, Canada; and Kentucky. To put it simply: this class is a really big deal.
The class, which is taught by UW professors but also by ice cream shop owners and industry manufacturers and experts, gave Kyle the opportunity to get the scoop on the ice cream that he wouldn't have gotten otherwise. He learned things at the class that he would have taken a long time to learn otherwise.
On the first day, Kyle and the gang had a crash course in the basics of ice cream and in ice cream food science. They learned then learned about the different machines and proper sanitation and cleanliness. That afternoon, they spent the entire time talking about vanilla and chocolate.
It was here that Kyle learned about all the different types of vanillas - they are made in all different parts of the world, such as Tahiti and Madagascar. They got to try them out, learned how the varieties make subtle differences in taste and texture, and experiment with these vanilla flavors. Not only did Kyle realize just how complex the seemingly simple vanilla flavor can be, but "imitation vanilla is forever ruined for me," he says.
The next two days were focused on using fruits and adding other ingredients to ice cream. They were asked a lot of questions that Kyle had never thought about. Like: What is the correct amount of ripple for an ice cream (the correct amount of butterscotch or chocolate sauce)? What is an inclusion (a horrible word for brownie bits and chocolate chips)? How does adding these things change flavor and texture?
Kyle left the class with a good sense of how he wanted to start his own ice cream business, and he was super excited to begin. Unfortunately, after the class, there was a whole other bout of waiting that needed to take place, which we'll cover in our next blog. We can't wait to share how we chose our ingredients, let you in on our experimentation and development (believe me, as a seven-month pregnant woman, I have had A LOT of fun with our experimentation process), and give you the details on our flavors and where you can find us during the month of June.
We hope you have as much fun as we are having with our new addition to our crazy world: small-batch, super premium ice cream!
Can I just wax poetic about loaded baked potatoes for a minute?
Okay, you said no, but I'm going to do it anyway. Sorry.
There's no food that says sweet summer nights to me more than a loaded baked potato in a cardboard boat. Grab it from a food truck and then dish up your toppings at the condiment station. Eat it with a spork (or eventually your fingers because the spork would always break) while walking through the lights and the noise and the carnival color. Just pure deliciousness in the simplest of forms.
Now, baked potatoes are saying sweet fall days because they are making their debut at the farm this season. And I am so excited because I didn't think fall could get better...but it did. Good hearty potatoes with good hearty toppings. I'll be first in line to get mine!
This is just your average premium-selected, dry-rubbed-in-a-special-blend-of-herbs-and-spices, and slow-smoked-for-eight-hours brisket sandwich that you can find pretty much everywhere.
That's a lie. This brisket is pretty special, and you can get it here on the farm this fall season. You don't even need the sauces. They're really just for show.
They are locally sourced. They are hand cut, hand breaded, and then hand deep-fried (just kidding...we do that last step with a tongs).
And then they are served up to you new this fall season: chicken strips!
Sure these are for kids. But more importantly, YES, it's socially acceptable to order off the kid's menu here at the farm.
For a lot of this off-season, Kyle and his food crew have been experimenting in the kitchen. The fruits of that labor are four delicious food and drink options that are new for fall season! And we're going to be featuring them right here on the blog. AND if you pop on over to our Facebook page, you could win a free meal or two...or in this case, a free drink!
Kyle's been making fresh-squeezed lemonade for Night on the Square and a lot of other events off the farm, but this year we're offering it during fall season. It'll be available in the Snack Shack, reopening this fall season in the comeback story of the year (for us at least...more on that in a few weeks). Chat with Judy or me (cause I'll be there on weekends sucking on lemon rinds and stealing donuts) while you watch us make this refreshing and delicious drink! And enjoy!
In the last year, we've been busy...building the venue of your dreams!
Vesperman Farms is very excited to announce that in 2016, we will be booking weddings and events in our new barn! Finished just before the fall season last year, the new barn has all the rustic charm you're looking for, with updated facilities (including permanent restrooms and a chef's kitchen) and a beautiful farm backdrop for your special day! To learn more about booking your wedding, visit our wedding or events sites. But before you do, check out the rest of this post and our photo galleries to learn all that's new with Vesperman Farms!
The barn began taking shape last June. We broke ground on June 8. Every day, it inched closer to reality!
Plumbing and wiring were especially intricate, but the awesome bathrooms and kitchen were worth the work!
We held our first event on September 13 for the hospital. We opened five days later for the fall season. There was a lot more work to be done, but everyone had a great time in the barn!
We've been busy this winter finishing the inside, insulating and wiring the place for lights and sound! We have a ways more to go--check back with us next month for the finished space! We're so excited to show it to you, we'll be posting photos the second after the last decoration is hung!
From the drawing board to the real deal, we're excited for you to host your events here at Vesperman Farms!
Fun on the farm...in blog form!