This week we took the most amazing field trip – to Lumpy’s Ice Cream Lab in Wake Forest, NC!
Lumpy’s is run by Buck, a chef from Vermont and now ice cream expert. He planned Lumpy’s around solid business practices, with lots of food experience, and with good stewardship in mind.
I must post a disclaimer here: Normally, I would not be willing to drive over an hour to learn about ice cream. I get the science behind the basic process, and we’ve been making it over and over using different methods during our current ice cream study.
But Lumpy’s – and Buck – is unique. Not only does he sell ice cream, because anybody can do that, but he creates his very own flavors on site. From local, fresh, as organic-and-natural-as-possible.
Yes, lots of people do that, too. But Buck has over 300 flavors in his repertoire. That’s NOT common. Those flavors happen to have names as creative as the flavors, which change whenever Buck feels like making something new.
All of that reminded me of Ebenezer Bleezer, one of my favorite Jack Prelutsky poems. Which we had to read during this unit. Though Buck’s flavors sound much, much better than Bleezer’s.
He’s also mission-minded, having recently pledged to raise $5 MILLION dollars for the North Carolina Children’s Home over the next five years. That’s the kind of business I want to support.
So what happened when we ventured out to Lumpy’s?
We began inside at the main counter of the store. Buck taught us about the basic ingredients of ice cream and talked to us about the ways that he has incorporated good stewardship principles into his business. This made a big impression on my Big Helper, who has started several of her own businesses over the past few years. Buck also explained his personal work history and showed us just how hard he’s worked and how long he has prepared to be an entrepreneur.
When we got home, and I asked the kids what they learned, the first thing that my Big Helper said was, “Mr. Buck worked for 23 years to be ready to start his ice cream business. If I want to have a business, I can’t give up.”
Next we went outside to see the blast freezer, specially “imported” from Indiana and designed to be very energy efficient. The kids were excited to see just how cold 25 degrees below 0 really was!
The restaurant was filled with quirky signs like this one. It had a friendly appearance and made everyone smile each time they read a new sign – proving Lumpy’s logo to be true: you really are just a scoop away from a smile when there.
Just before our tour ended, Buck ran a batch of Ande’s Candies ice cream through his churn and gave everyone samples. It was SO GOOD that we all immediately got in line to buy more. My Little Man chose a scoop of butter pecan, and my Big Helper picked a candy-free Almond Joy flavor that was out of this world. Even the cone was homemade – and neither was happy at having to wait for the camera before being allowed to eat.
In the end, we hung out and bothered Buck for several hours. Our kids ate up the information, and we all devoured delicious ice cream. My Big Helper spent hours talking about and designing a “newspaper” around the information that she learned from Buck that morning.
Making the drive to Lumpy’s definitely proved to be worth it to us. Buck encouraged and inspired our kids just as his ice cream did to our taste buds.
Guess we’ll just have to go back – and I can’t wait to see what new flavors will be on the menu then!