Word to the Ice Cream Wise: Skip the Ambergris

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As you fill your life with the experience of trying the strange but real ice cream flavors being created by artisan ice cream shops, you’ll find yourself motivated to try every flavor. Marking those unique tastes off your list becomes a badge of honor, and at Harmony Valley Creamery we’re committed to your success in this endeavor. (Start with our six signature flavors!)

However, this bold undertaking comes with some risks. You might, one day, come across a flavor that makes you long for your cookies ‘n’ cream comfort zone. To protect your taste buds, allow us to warn you: skip the ambergris ice cream.

But it sounds so exotic! So flavorful!

It’s flavorful all right, but maybe not in the way you would want. This article on First We Feast offers a detailed description of ambergris:

“Ambergris forms when sperm whales cannot digest squid beaks; the beak gets stuck in the intestines where it is coated with a waxy substance and is somehow released (scientists are not sure if it passes or the whale dies). The ball of ambergris floats along the ocean surface until it’s washed ashore and collected.”

In case that’s not clear, check out this video.

Hold on a second. Why would anyone eat that?

The first documented ice cream recipe comes to us from 1665 and suggests ambergris as a go-to flavor. It was a popular fragrance and flavoring back in the old times, and who knows why the old-timey people did anything. Perhaps their taste buds weren’t as refined. If we had been there, we’d have recommended some Blue Door Butter Pecan or Doo Dah Mint ‘n’ Chip. We’re sorry, history. We were too slow, and you had to eat ambergris because of it.

Fortunately, we’re making up for it now. Even though the whale migration is beginning along California’s central coast, you will not be seeing any ambergris ice cream on our Scoop Truck. Instead, we’ll be serving our craft ice cream in risk-free flavors you know you’ll love. Contact us or visit us on Twitter to stay up-to-speed on the Scoop Truck’s whereabouts and get your non-ambergris ice cream fix.


Is Craft Ice Cream the new Craft Beer?

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craft ice cream, craft beercraft ice cream, craft beer

Unless you’ve been living on another planet for the past few years, you couldn’t have missed the rise of craft beer. They (the people who say these types of things) say millennials are driving the craft beer boom with their love for high-quality products. In the United States, there are more than 20,000 brands of beer to choose from, and chances are you could stand right there, spit that beer, and hit a craft brewery.

We’re knee-deep in ice cream and don’t have the beer know-how to claim the craft beer movement has hit its peak, but we are wondering if it’s worth building another two breweries on a block that already has three breweries.

Could it be that people might start taking their hands off the pint glasses and wrapping their fingers around a cone? Is craft ice cream the new craft beer?

Look at the evidence:

  • You can only drink so much beer (right?), but so far we have not seen the end to the amount of homemade ice cream you can consume.
  • We see the desire for high-quality, unique products across numerous industries: handmade jewelry and furniture, artisan cakes and cookies, and, of course, craft ice cream. We all like to know that what we use and consume was made for us with love and care.
  • Harmony Valley Creamery isn’t the only trend-setter. Travel+Leisure highlighted some of America’s best ice cream shops in this 2014 article, where they said these ice cream makers “…champion high-quality ingredients, freshness, and guilt-free indulgence” and “…are all about keeping it real and, of course, homemade.”

We’re with you, ice cream brothers and sisters: high-quality, fresh, and homemade.

Will craft ice cream take over craft beer? Well, no, we don’t think so. Beer has a pretty solid following. But we do believe more and more people will turn their noses up at soft serve and take the opportunity to enjoy a treat that’s a bit more thoughtful, not to mention more delicious.

If you love craft ice cream, contact us or visit us on Twitter so you always know where to find the Scoop Truck, and let your next ice cream cone be a local homemade ice cream experience.


Happy Root Beer Float Day!

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As far as the major ice cream holidays go, Root Beer Float Day has to be one of our favorites. Mark your calendars: it’s coming up on August 6! We’re so happy it falls on a weekend this year! That way, your job hopefully won’t get in the way of your Root Beer Float-making.

Now, you may still be trying to relax after celebrating Ice Cream Soda Day in June, but you need to rally and get your root beer on. Ice Cream Soda Day encompasses a wide variety of soda and ice cream flavors, and it serves as a warm-up to the main event, where we focus on the traditional root beer with vanilla ice cream.

If you remember your ice cream history, you know that Robert M. Green accidentally invented the ice cream soda when he ran out of either cream or ice (there are two versions of this particular history, but it doesn’t matter because the result was the ice cream soda and we’re forever grateful) when making drinks at a festival in Philadelphia back in 1874.

Interestingly enough, it was just two years later, also in Philadelphia, when pharmacist Charles Hines introduced root beer to the masses at the Centennial Exposition. Though it seems like all good things come from Philadelphia, ice cream was not, to our knowledge, invented there. Still, it found a soul mate in root beer.

The only way to improve upon the work of genius that is the Root Beer Float is to use homemade ice cream! Luckily, Harmony Valley Creamery has you covered. Use a generous scoop or two of our Mayor Freddy’s Vanilla Bean craft ice cream with your root beer for a Root Beer Float Day you’ll never forget. Contact us if you’re concerned about the ratio of ice cream to root beer (we’re going to advise you to err on the side of extra ice cream and a bigger glass), or visit us on Twitter to find out where the Harmony Ice Cream Truck will be churning.


Harmony flavors the summer by dishing out ice cream


The Harmony milk truck serves up ice cream at last year’s California Mid-State Fair. Joe Johnston jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

The Harmony milk truck serves up ice cream at last year’s California Mid-State Fair. Joe Johnston jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

It’s always the season for ice cream, but that’s especially true in summertime. So, Harmony Valley Creamery’s vintage ice cream truck is stocked with the tiny town’s trademark dessert.  Read More.


July is Ice Cream Month. Let’s Celebrate!

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ice cream conesWhile July might be known for fireworks, beaches and BBQ’s, there’s one reason in particular we at Harmony Valley Creamery are especially excited about this extraordin-dairy month.

It’s National Ice Cream Month!

President Ronald Reagan declared July as National Ice Cream Month in 1984. That’s not all though, as he also named July 16 as National Ice Cream Day. How cool is that? If there was ever an excuse to chill during the summer, this is the best one yet!

It should come as no surprise we’re celebrating with our six signature flavors all month, and we’re encouraging you to do the same. July 1st is Creative Ice Cream Flavors Day. While we like to think the reason our craft ice cream flavors are creative is that they’ve all been approved by our very own Mayor Freddy, the big cat in charge, others say it’s because of our fresh, natural California ingredients. Either way, there are plenty of ways to consider concocting your own creamy, and udderly awesome flavors with our own flavors. Perhaps an Ice Cream Soda is in order.

If that’s not your thing, you can always bust out our ice cream for some DIY ice cream sandwiches. All you need are some cookies, doughnuts, graham crackers or waffles and any (or all) of our small batch flavors, and you’ve got yourself a bea-moo-tifully delicious snack. Or you could celebrate early in the day with some ice cream for breakfast. Why not?

There’s another reason this month has us feeling peachy. Did you know that July 17th is Peach Ice Cream Day? If this flavor is one of your must haves, consider grabbing some peaches (or even some peach pie filling) and topping off our very own Mayor Freddy’s Vanilla Bean vanilla ice cream. Easy-peasy peachy keen-y.

We’re only getting started with our six signature flavors, but look for more fun flavors in the future featured out of our ice cream truck.

Let us know how you’re celebrating National Ice Cream Month on Twitter or contact us to let us know if there’s anything we can do to make this month udderly amazing.


Where’s the Ice Cream Truck Churning this Summer?

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Ice cream truck

Our 1957 DIVCO Ice Cream Truck aka “Scoop Truck”

Summer’s heating up, but we’ve got you covered: Harmony Valley Creamery‘s ice cream truck will be serving up big ol’ scoops of our udderly awesome craft ice cream on a daily basis in the town of Harmony! You can’t miss us: just look for that 1957 Divco truck. Most of these milk trucks retired before the internet was born, but ours is pursuing a second career as the Scoop Truck, and doing a fine job of it, if we do say so ourselves.

When we’re not in Harmony, you’ll find our ice cream truck roaming around San Luis Obispo County at local festivals and events. Festival-goers need an opportunity to cool down with some Blue Door Butter Pecan or Doo Dah Mint ‘n’ Chip ice cream, too, and we’re glad to help. It’s what we do best.

There are three things you need to do right now to get ready for an ice cream-filled summer:

  1. Follow us on Twitter. That’s where you’ll get the latest scoop on the ice cream truck’s whereabouts.
  2. Come find us. We’ll be the ones with the udderly awesome craft ice cream.
  3. Decide what flavor you want. Or don’t. “One of each, please” is a totally acceptable order.

Summer isn’t summer without a little local ice cream. Oh, who are we kidding? It’s not summer unless you have a lot of ice cream, and we’ll be making our craft ice cream flavors small batch by small batch just as quickly as we can to make sure everyone can enjoy a dreamy ice creamy summer along with us.


Celebrate National Ice Cream Soda Day!

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Thanksgiving focuses on turkey. Independence Day is all about those fireworks. Ice cream isn’t nearly well-represented enough in the major national holidays. Luckily, National Ice Cream Soda Day helps us make up for it.

Mark your calendars! On June 20, you need to celebrate this ice-creamy day with an ice cream soda of your own. It’s pretty easy:

  • Step One: Poor a little carbonated beverage in a cup.
  • Step Two: Scoop ice cream into cup.
  • Step Three: Top off with carbonated beverage.
  • Step Four: Eat like it’s a holiday! Because it is.

The brilliance of the ice cream soda has been around since 1874, if you can believe it. Robert M. Green, fountain drink vendor and soon-to-be ice cream hero, ran out of cream (or ice, depending on the version of the story you’re reading) for one of the drinks he was offering in Philadelphia, so he had to use ice cream instead. And there the ice cream soda appeared.

The Root Beer Float is, perhaps, the most famous of the ice cream sodas, but don’t let your creativity stop with vanilla ice cream. Celebrate the day with Harmony Valley Creamery! Pick up a pint of our  craft ice cream and make your own celebratory concoction.

We’re thinking maybe a couple of scoops of School’s Out Strawberry with a lemon-lime soda. Or three scoops of Harmony Chapel Chocolate with a cherry cola. However you combine it, you can’t go wrong with craft ice cream in your ice cream soda.

ice cream sodas

From all of us at Harmony Valley Creamery, we wish you a very happy and delicious National Ice Cream Soda Day.


Dairy Farming In Harmony, CA

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Harmony Valley Creamery Association. Orestes Fabio Degottardi fifth from the right. Photo Courtesy of Paul Hammerschmidt

What do you get when antiquity and artisanry get together? (Okay, okay, “artisanry” isn’t a word but the answer is the same nonetheless.) You get Harmony. For a town that covers only one block and has long boasted a road sign proclaiming a population of 18, Harmony, California is something rather special. Once a thriving dairy mecca and home to a quirky artisan culture, this town has a history and a future worth knowing about.

Harmony’s History of Dairy Farming

Settlers of Swiss-Italian decent made this region their home in the 19th century. The town was founded in 1869 and what is now called Harmony was simply a settlement of several dairy ranches and a creamery. But the creamery was something extraordinarily special! Harmony Valley Dairy Co-Op began in 1901 and employed several people (and cows) to craft and create unbelievably delicious cheese, milk, and butter. The area local William Randolph Hearst (newspaper publisher and renown politician) and his Hollywood friends were known to stop by the itty-bitty town for a taste of their distinct dairy.

The thriving creamery that began in 1901 and had once churned out over 2,000 pounds of cheese per day had its end in 1955. Since then the town has had its ups and downs, sometimes being more desolate than inhabited, but has somehow always remained its quirky, odd self, opening its arms to creative, artistic, history-loving souls.

A Future Inspired By A Past

We at Harmony Valley Creamery have a vision for the future that resembles the charm of its past.  We hope to bring the history that made Harmony so unique back to life again. A micro-dairy would certainly be a progressive move as no dairy farming exists in San Luis Obispo County today. While these plans are still to come and haven’t happened yet, we are hopeful in rejuvenating this historic little central coast town and its neighboring area.

Our future is rooted in our past. We are excited to share our passion and love of the area into a celebration of dairy farming in Harmony, California. Next time you are traveling along the central coast on Highway 1, we hope you will stop by and celebrate the past with us, too!