Local Heart, Global Soul

October 24, 2009

Hey Ben & Jerry: Jamaican Me Crazy with your Half Baked Karamel Sutra…

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

We are Touring the original Ben & Jerry’s factory in Waterbury in the north of Vermont USA. Our kids are a little too young to appreciate the finer points of ice-cream production:  they are just itching to get to the finished product, while I’m enjoying the Tour a lot.

There’s a video show of the whole history and evolution of the company and I get out the camera and grab some stills. I learn that there is a lot more to the Ben & Jerry’s than I thought, and I’m liking very much their style of business, from the treatment of their staff (every staff member gets a free ration of ice-cream  weekly as part of the job) The young man who’s showing us around tells us that when the ice creams are being changed from one flavour to another on the line there is always an initial first batch of ice-cream where the amounts if the “goodies” that are going into it are too few or too much… these mishap samples are shared out amongst staff .

Small mercies that my daughter hadn’t been listening properly to the man, she would have been constantly begging me to give up my job and come and work here just so that she could get ice-cream that’s been rejected for having too many chocolate bits in it !

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Luckily for me she was distracted, playing with her little brother making dry finger trails on the glass of the factory viewing wall as they tried to emulate the path that the pots of ice-cream on the conveyor belt below were taking. The conveyor belts are moving swiftly so the kids have no hope in keeping up.  Still, it keep them busy for a bit, and more importantly, quiet as the rest of the group are listening to the information from our guide.

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

I like very much the fact that all milk is tested for animal growth hormones before it arrives here because the company has a strict policy that bans the use of hormones in their milk, I like that even though this is now an International conglomerate that’s now owned by the Dutch giant Unilever, that much of the family feel of the business has been retained. .. maybe that’s specific to this small town in Vermont?

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Did you know that if there is a Ben&Jerry’s Scoop Shop by you, that all around the World they have an annual Free Cone Day?

Yep.. a fee ice-cream cone, just to say “Thanks for being a customer”. We are told that ¨Mother’s Day¨ was to be the Day.. but I’m not completely certain if it will be exactly the same day  for us back in the Netherlands.

There is a scoop shop in Scheveningen if I remember correctly so I will have to ask next time I am in the vacinity. Hmmm I’ve just looked on the Wiki website and they mention that Free Cone Day sometimes co-incides with Earth Day… I’ll definitely have to do some detective work to find out when it will be in a Scoop Shop close to us.  It’s  at the beach:  a solid  but do-able hike from our place and it would be a nice surprise for our kids at the end.

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

I was also impressed at just how much this company invests in the local community, education and good causes… philanthropy being very high on Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield’s agenda, and also their commitment to environmental issues … the conveniences here are just one example of these thoughts put into practice and so is their Eco-Pint packaging.  Chocolate and nut ingredients in several flavours are all “Fair Trade” too which means that small farmer in developing countries are paid a decent price for what they grow and not undercut as large conglomerates are often apt to do.

One thing that I learned via Wiki is ” They renamed a flavor, Yes Pecan, in reference to Barack Obama’s winning the presidency.They also decided in January of 2009 to donate all proceeds made on the sale of that flavor to the Common Cause Education Fund.”

Who you voted for  is not the issue… rather  the idea that a company would take an idea like this and give an entire years  proceeds away to charity  is a nicely different attitude that you don’t see too much these days. OK, yes some other companies do also many charitable works and corporate sponsorship, but I particularly like how this ties into all the other things they do as well.

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

I definitely like their way of thinking and doing business.

Cherry Garcia, Chubby Hubby, Mission to Marzipan, Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road, Banana’s on the Rum, Chocolate Therapy, Chunky Monkey, Half Baked and Karamel Sutra  are some of the excellently  imaginative names given to their flavours…

At the factory there is also a little ” Flavour Graveyard” for  flavours that have been discontinued, some of these… “Bohemian Raspberry , Minter Wonderland, Pulp Addiction, Monkey Wrench, Double Trouble, From Russia with Buzz, Phish Sticks , Karamel Sutra, and Fossil Fuel”  are just a few of the flavours that are now immortal.

Their collection of antique ice-cream scoops is also impressive…

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Our Flavour of the Day in the tasting room was:Mint Chocolate Chunk and it got lip licking slurps of approval all round.

After the Tour we go outside to the area where you can order your icecream.. I don’t know where to start, the board of flavours is so big! I solve the problem by getting three tubs, each tub holds three scoops, each scoop a different flavor.. so three tubs, with a total of nine flavours. I have Four spoons and I take these back to a very eagerly waiting Kiwidutch family and we indulge in a very unusual ” It’s  Ice-cream for Dinner !!!”

We all agree that this dinner might just be one of  the most unusual dinners we have ever had… but with raw veggies the rest of the day we feel fine in delighting in our guilty pleasure.

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

So we raise our spoons and salute you Ben and Jerry ! … not bad for a couple of guys who took a University  ice-cream making course by correspondence ! Bravo !

1281 Waterbury Stowe Rd Route 100
Waterbury, Vermont 05676
802-882-1240
http://www.benjerry.com

1 Comment »

  1. […] skip straight to dessert . Nice try kid, but we have done that one once in your lifetime already https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2009/10/24/ben-and-jerrys-jamacian-me-crazy/  and it wasa once in a lifetime occasion so forget any repeats before you reach adulthood. […]

    Pingback by Throwing in a Sweetener to get Motivated… and LOVING IT!!! « Local Heart, Global Soul — October 18, 2011 @ 1:08 am | Reply


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