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Local Organic Ice Cream and Non-Dairy Desserts

Local Organic Ice Cream and Non-Dairy Desserts

I had dinner with a friend last night who is vegan. I’m always impressed and slightly in awe of those who can maintain such a strict diet. I asked him how he does it and he replied with one word, “Practice.” A nice sentiment for just about anything that takes diligence, effort and continual dedication. I often toy with going vegan and my husband all but begs me not to (I’m a picky enough eater as it is).

And so it was that I thought of my friend today, while standing in front of the clear glass freezer doors at Whole Foods looking for a small, family-owned dairy that produces its own ice cream. Turns out that isn’t such a big challenge, at least here in the Bay Area. I was also moved to consider buying an ice cream maker (I left mine in Costa Rica) so that I could make my own. I opted for the easy way out and bought some Mint Chocolate Chip from Strauss Family Creamery. If you already have an ice cream maker, here is the recipe I love:

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2 quarts half-and-half cream
1/2 pint heavy cream
1 1/2 cups white sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 pinch salt

Follow the instructions for your ice cream maker. If you don’t have those, as I recall, you mix the creams and vanilla, add the sugar and salt, stir until dissolved and pour into the frozen ice cream maker bowl.
If you are uber industrious, and have oodles of time on your hands, check out this utterly delectable ice cream without an ice cream maker recipe from David Lebovitz.
Or, if you are ready for your ice cream right now, like I was at 4:37 p.m. this afternoon, check out these brands that are doing a great job at sustainable, local, organic ice creams:
Straus - Tomales Bay, CA. All certified organic ingredients, kosher, non-GMO, no hormones, no antibiotics. Certified organic since 1994, Strauss was the first certified organic dairy west of the Mississippi River.
Tara’s – Berkeley, CA. She has flavors like Cardamom, Garam Masala and Sage (they have regular flavors too). Tara’s also offers ice cream cakes and is CCOF organic certified – in order to be organic certified no hormones or antibiotics are allowed. Tara’s practices sustainability throughout their retail establishments and offices, even using stainless steel tasting spoons.

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Three Twins – San Rafael, CA. They are a member of 1% For the Planet (that means they donate 1% of profits), they purchase carbon offsets and use all compostable serving dishes. Oh, and of course, their ice cream is certified organic.

For those of you who don’t do dairy, here are some non-dairy frozen dessert alternatives:

Nature’s Flavors – Orange, CA. An interesting concept – it’s a powder you add to water. It’s kosher, vegan, gluten-free and certified organic under NOP guidelines. It’s ingredients are, “Organic Cane Sugar, Organic Dextrose, Organic Rice Powder, Organic Stabilizer, Citric Acid, Organic Flavors”.

NadaMoo – Austin, TX. Made from coconut milk, certified organic, kosher, fair trade certified, certified gluten free. Although I haven’t had NadaMoo, I can attest to coconut milk “ice cream”. It’s delicious and though you would know the difference, it’s worth a try.

Tempt – Portland, OR. Ahh, an ice cream alternative made with my favorite milk alternative – hemp milk. All ingredients besides hemp are organic.

Julie’s – Eugene, OR. Organic coconut milk and agave based non-dairy desserts.

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Why is organic ice cream better for you and for the environment, you ask? Ice cream made from organic dairy products keeps the harmful antibiotics, hormones and chemicals given to non-organic dairy cows out of your system and out of the larger ecological system. Aside from that, non-organic dairy cows are mistreated. They are artificially inseminated, so they are continually pregnant and giving milk – cows, like any other mammal, only produce milk when nursing. Their calves are taken from them at birth and never allowed to nurse. Whether we think cows are smart or not, I believe that cows and calves don’t want to be separated at birth. Non-organic dairy cows are penned together, usually inside or in a mud pasture and given large amounts of antibiotics to keep them from getting each other sick due to the unhealthy proximity to each other and to their own waste. For a more in-depth article (but not a terribly graphic one) on dairy cows and other food animals, check out

-Jocelyn Broyles

Read more: All recipes, Conscious Consumer, Desserts, Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Family, Food, Smart Shopping, Vegan, , , , , , ,

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2:35AM PDT on Apr 23, 2011

delicious food.

12:03PM PDT on Apr 20, 2011


11:12AM PDT on Apr 15, 2011

M-m-m... I love it :)

11:09PM PDT on Mar 20, 2011


8:30AM PDT on Mar 20, 2011

Hope these companies expand to the sutheast!!!! It is really neeeded in this part of the country.

2:30AM PDT on Mar 16, 2011

eat organic...don't poison yourself!

4:30PM PST on Mar 11, 2011


8:01AM PST on Mar 11, 2011

I would only eat ice cream made with organic milk.

8:49AM PST on Mar 10, 2011

Location, location, location...there's no such thing here in this state. Sounds lovely though.

12:36AM PST on Mar 10, 2011

I love ice cream. Thanks for the posting.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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