Goodbye Ben & Jerry, Hello Blue Pig
Summer is officially here now that the Memorial Day weekend has passed and June has arrived. In my book, that means ice cream season is here.Enjoying ice cream in summer makes complete sense, don’t you think?
Due to modern technology and 24/7 supermarkets, we live in a world where we can eat ice cream 12 months out of the year. Sadly, it doesn’t mean that all of that ice cream is truly delicious or special. While we may get sucked into fancy marketing campaigns, often times what is in the package is cheap, highly processed pseudo ice cream tainted with pesticides, artificial flavors and colors. The industrial food system has taken away food’s season and its special times. At times, I’ve been a sucker for Ben & Jerry’s. I love their playful fonts, their graphic design and funny flavors. but the grim reality is that they were bought out by Unilever in 2000. They are no longer a small company using real ingredients that your grandma would have put into ice cream. It’s time to say goodbye to Ben & Jerry, no matter how much I like those kitschy cows.
I always tell my clients and students that you can undo the damage done by the food industry by shopping at the farmer’s market and by buying from small local vendors that use seasonal ingredients. And yes, that works for ice cream too. I was fortunate to find a nearby “microcreamery”. The Blue Pig in Croton on Hudson has re-opened and long time Croton resident, Lisa Moir, is the new owner. Her ice cream is made with locally sourced milk/cream from the nearby Hudson Valley Fresh dairy co-op. You won’t find High Fructose Corn Syrup, guar gum, mono and diglycerides, artificial colors or flavors in her ice cream. Lisa is looking to source fruits, berries, and maple syrup from local farmers. She even made a vanilla toffee ice cream loaded with artisan toffee made by my friend and former Slow Food Westchester co-leader, Michele Kim.
This weekend, I visited and sampled her banana walnut ice cream. It was out of this world. Lisa roasted bananas and walnuts for optimal flavor, no chemical flavorings needed. Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey flavor contains: Guar Gum, Natural Flavors, Soya Lecithin & Carrageenan. You won’t find these ingredients in Blue Pig ice cream!
Taking a trip to a place like the Blue Pig makes eating ice cream special again. I feel good about supporting a local business, I feel good about the ingredients, all of which I can pronounce. Bye bye Ben and Jerry, hello Blue Pig!The Blue Pig is located at 121 Maple St Croton On Hudson, NY 10520 (914) 271-3850
PS: If you don’t live nearby, find your own version of the Blue Pig close to your community. Small, local, real ingredients. Don’t fuss about the calories or fat grams, look to see if you can understand the ingredients without needing a degree in chemistry. Ice cream should consist of milk, cream, sugar, eggs, and ingredients that provide flavor – NOT “natural flavors” or artificial flavors. Life is too short to eat crappy ice cream! Make sure your ice cream is of high quality and do your best to support local / regional food artisans, not giant conglomerates. Keep your money and your ice cream local!