Super premium ice cream is made in small batches by hand using the highest quality, all natural ingredients that deliver a distinct, creamy, delicious flavor. Walpole Creamery in Walpole, NH executes this type of carefully crafted treat for you and your taste buds. The deep care and attention to detail extend into their sourcing by using super local ingredients whenever possible, such as milk from Crescent Farm, also in Walpole. This ice cream dream started in 2006 and to this day has a commitment to quality you do not see or taste often in our fast-paced world.
The mornings at Walpole Creamery start at about 6am when Brian and Bobby arrive at Crescent Farm in Walpole, NH to pick up fresh milk. Crescent Farm raises and grazes close to 300 Jersey cows and just recently signed on to be the exclusive provider of milk for Walpole Creamery. Crescent Farm has delicious milk and each week Walpole Creamery picks up hundreds of gallons to be turned into delicious super premium ice cream. Processing milk into ice cream runs 5 days a week, year-round, and in a day they can hand-craft 1,500 pints for their wholesale accounts. Rob, part owner of Walpole Creamery, proudly shares that when sourcing ingredients they are always seeking to grow deep relationships and ensure that everyone within their supply chain is paid fairly and treated well. As an example, they pay a premium for their milk, which means Crescent Farm receives two or three times what they would receive on the milk commodity market. The Creamery also sources its maple syrup and rhubarb from Walpole farms.
The amazing quality of Walpole Creamery ice cream has a tremendous amount to do with Plant Manager Bobby’s proprietary base mix blend, which is used as the foundation for all their flavors. Not only does it use that local Jersey milk, it also contains real cane sugar (not corn syrup!) and, with its added extra cream, has a 16-18% milk fat content range—only ice cream labeled as “super premium” has milk fat content that high. Other ice cream makers use pre-made base mixes and add in their own flavorings, which are also sometimes pre-packaged. Remarkably, Walpole actually makes their ice cream from start to finish in-house (or “from cow to cone”, as it says on their pints), cooking the raw milk from Crescent Farm with the other ingredients to simultaneously pasteurize, homogenize, and fully integrate those delectable flavors. As you can imagine, that basic ice cream recipe is simply exquisite, and lucky for us, they sell it as a flavor all its own, called Sweet Cream. Many years ago, Bobby even won “Best Base Mix” when he attended Penn State University’s prestigious week-long Ice Cream School intensive. They still utilize Penn State as a resource today.
As Bobby says, it would be much easier to use packaged flavors, but the caliber they are seeking can only be achieved with great ingredients, like real fruit for their Strawberry flavor, or one of the finest vanilla extracts in the world, for their Tahitian Vanilla Bean. In their Double Dutch Chocolate, they use real chocolate that gets melted right into the base mix, instead of chocolate syrup like many other companies do…in other words, they’re making heavenly hot chocolate and turning it into ice cream, where other brands are just making milkshakes.
Creating the Sweet Cream ice cream base is just the beginning. The process continues by curing the base overnight, and then in manually moving batches into sanitized metal buckets ready to be placed in the churning machine to be prepared for pinting. In the churning process, air is added to the ice cream, which they call “overrun” in the ice cream industry. Most ice creams have an overrun of 50% or more while Walpole Creamery has only 30%.
Once the ice cream has properly moved through churning, they again move the ice cream by hand to a machine that assists in the pinting process. Once filled, the pints are covered, sealed in cases, and blast frozen at a minimum of -10 degrees. They deliver direct to small stores like our Co-op, but rely on two different distributors to get their product across New England including Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, and beyond. There are also two Walpole Creamery scoop shops in Walpole and Keene, where you can try all 24 delicious flavors.
Food safety is extremely important to the folks at Walpole Creamery and to the success of their business. Due to processing both milk and water, they are constantly executing sample tests to ensure they meet all standards necessary for production. Furthermore, their process requires deep attention to detail including frequent sanitization of equipment and the plant, as well as following a strict temperature monitoring system. Due to their commitment to safety and quality they often receive a score of 100 from the health inspector. Bobby said he takes deep pride in this side of his work, and has a goal of zero accidents and zero product loss. When the Vermont Non-GMO law was put in effect, all of the Walpole Creamery ice creams already met that standard. Now that a new Federal law is close to being passed, they aspire to meet the national standard.
Walpole Creamery is a veteran-owned business, as Rob was in the Navy for over 30 years, and other employees served in the military as well. They employ over 20 people and hope to continue their local hiring as they grow. Speaking of growth, due to demand for their product they are beginning to outgrow their facility. Thus when Rob attended Experience NH in Washington, DC, an event put on by Senator Jeanne Shaheen, he explored options for State or Federal funding, which could allow them to automate some of their processes and open a new facility, increasing production and decreasing costs.
We are proud to stock Walpole Creamery ice cream here at the Co-op. It supports local jobs, farms, and great people. Grab a pint next time you stop in, and come enjoy a free bowl of their ice cream at our annual Ice Cream Social on Saturday, July 28th, from 12-3 pm.
By Jon Megas-Russell