I first heard of Little Baby's Ice Cream when a friend of mine told me about their Earl Grey Sriracha Ice Cream that they had picked up from Green Aisle Grocery and how surprisingly delicious the combo was. No doubt, an ice cream flavor like that will turn a few heads; but it doesn't end their. The Philadelphia based mobile scoop tricycle has been popping up all over the city at trendy venues like Union Transfer and Morgan's Pier. Little Baby's scoops out their super premium "Philadelphia Style' Ice Cream that features a 16% butterfat-content dairy, sourced from Trickling Springs Creamery in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. Little Baby's offers other outlandish flavors like Peanut Butter Maple Tarragon, Pizza, and Anchovy. They also offer a variety of dairy-free options for the dairy impaired such as Coconut Tea and a Philadelphia favorite, Goldenbergs Peanut Chews Vanilla Molasses. For the last year Little Babies has created quite a reputation and a following for their 'weird ice cream'. One of the partners of Little Baby's, Pete Angevine, was kind enough to answer a few questions for Eclectik Domestic:
How did you get into making Ice Cream?
Martin and I both started independently making Ice Cream for ourselves at home because we simply love it. It was a way to occupy the creative impulses and energies we had after deciding that we didn't want to be full time musicians anymore.
What did your friends think when you told them you were going to start a 'weird ice cream' bike shop?
To be honest, I'm not too sure. I'm prone to wild ideas, but I can't imagine too many folks expected us to follow through with this one to the extent that we have. It just felt right and that's what counts.
How much has your process changed since the beginnings?
Turns out that creating homemade ice Cream is entirely different from commercial Ice Cream, even on the smallest scale. Due to pasteurization laws and equipment/facility requirements, we really had to start from square one when we decided to try to sell this stuff. Martin received some valuable knowledge while training at Penn State Creamery's Ice Cream University and Malcolm Stogo's non-dairy Ice Cream seminar.
Whats with the flavors?
Why be normal? It's a whole wide world out there. I personally see no reason to repeat anything that has been done before. Singularity is a goal for me in every aspect of life and Ice Cream is no different.
Anything new ones coming out?
Always! Red Bean Rice Crisps is on it's way as is a Pink Pistachio flavor. Once our new production facility is finally up and running (any week now), we hope to have a regular flow of new and exciting flavors.
Whats your personal all-time favorite?
Well it always was Mint Chocolate Chip. Then I went to Humprhy Slocombe in San Francisco and my entire world melted in front of my eyes. It was a game changer.
You seem to be interested in anything outside the box. How do you find inspiration for new flavors?
We are inspired by anything and everything, not just other flavors. Funny jokes, alliteration, rhymes, spreadsheets, savory food recipes, venn diagrams, creative misinterpretation, etc. We're not so interested in the box.
Do you have such creative combinations in your other culinary facets?
I don't think any of us have had any time to cook since this whole thing launched last year!
Got to ask. How do you feel about Ben & Jerry's? Inspiration or foe?
We believe in Ice Cream friendships, not Ice Cream enemies! Ben & Jerry's makes delicious, super-premium Ice Creams and have since before some of us were alive. We've learned a lot from them as far as how to run a responsible business practice and especially from their riveting book, "The Inside Scoop."
You offer non-dairy ice creams. Any particular reason?
We want our Ice Cream to be accessible to anyone and everyone regardless of any dietary restriction, whether it be because of personal health decisions, politics, or anything. We have lots of vegan friends and folks who simply don't with jive with dairy and of course we want to include them in this wild adventure with us.
Srirachi is my favorite ingredient of all time. When did you fall in love with it?
When is first landed in my mouth several years ago! I don't remember when it was but the feeling lingers on ...
You're based in Philadelphia, and are involved with the city. Is it important to you to be involved within the community?
Absolutely. Philadelphia is the city that we love and the city that we want to be associated with. We all have a deep personal interest in seeing it's success and see Little Baby's as our own way of making a contribution to its vitality and diversity. If you don't have a connection to the place that you live and the people that you live beside, what do you have? Community is so very important.
How about in terms of ingredients? Is it important for you to use local ingredients if possible?
Extremely. It is important to us to support our local economy and of course we agree that local and regional food systems are the most responsible, sustainable and friendly way to treat our environment and dwindling natural resources. We source all of our 16% butterfat content super-premium dairy from Trickling Springs Creamery in Chambersburg, PA and we couldn't be happier about it.
How did JFK become a Friday location? How about Morgan's Pier?
We, along with many other mobile food vendors, put in a proposal with the City to vend at Love Park. We were awarded a pretty favorable contract and are now there every Thursday and Friday. We are considering being there more often than that once our new production facility is running a little smoother.
Morgan's Pier is owned by the same folks who run Union Transfer, who invited us to set up on the river. It's a beautiful place and we're stoked to be there.
How about your involvement with Union Transfer? Green Aisle?
Our own Jeffrey Ziga has been involved with R5 Productions, who books Union Transfer, for many years. R5 has been supportive of us since the beginning and we really appreciate it.
Adam Erace, who writes for City Paper in addition to owning Green Aisle, was the very first press person to pick up Little Baby's, before we even officially launched last year. I had my little brother put up a place holder splash page on the internet late on a Tuesday night and somehow I was on the phone being interviewed for Meal Ticket the next day at noon. I have no idea how learned about it. They've been some of our biggest cheerleaders since then.
What do you make of the whole pop-up fad?
I don't know too much about it as a fad, to be honest. We fell into it because we were looking for a way to scoop our Ice Cream to the people with as little over-head as possible. Also, I've also loved the concept of Situationist Pranks or spectacles in public places, unexpected or unusual events that can brighten one's day, bring people together, and be a nice interruption from the banality of everyday life. I think things like pop-ups can activate our city in an exciting way and rally the people of Philadelphia to be engaged and enthusiastic about our shared space.
When will we see the store front?
Soon! We're one piece of critical equipment away from bringing in a Health Inspector to get open. This summer, to be sure.
Any thoughts of moving beyond Philadelphia?
Ten steps at a time for now, maybe we'll discuss that next year ...
What advice do you have for others interested in the mobile food movement?
If we can do it, you can do it. It's important to have a good, unique and new idea and it's even more important to be prepared to work long, grueling hours day after day, night after night. Ideas are critical and what sets you apart from everyone else, work is transformative. This requires a lot of work!