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A Peek into our Test Kitchen

One thing that makes Wild Scoops unique is our one-of-a-kind Test Kitchen where we make all our ice cream -- not to mention the cookies, caramel, fudge, marshmallow fluff, jams, ice cream tacos, ice cream pies. Most every add-in to our ice cream, from potato chip toffee to spiced apple caramel, is made in our Test Kitchen!

Take a peek behind the scenes with us to learn more about how it works.

We have a team of 7-10, depending on the season. The Production Manager, Jacob, makes the overarching production schedule for the team, and the Production Leads, Morgen & Marianne, run the day-to-day on the "churn side" as we churn ice cream for our Scoop Shops, pack pints for our own shops and wholesale partners, fill ice cream sandwiches, and package everything up. We also have our own "in house bakery," led by Baking Coordinator Sam. Making our own baked goods and add-ins gives us more creativity and flexibility than just buying store-bought items (and the ingredients are usually more natural!).

We're not quite a restaurant kitchen and not quite a manufacturing factory, it's a little bit of both with a touch of Willy Wonka thrown in.

During the summer, it's a high-volume operation as we churn ice cream for three busy Scoop Shops -- over a hundred gallons a day! We're also steeping and straining our dairy (like Black Cup Coffee and Thai Tea!), chopping tons of cookie "slabs" into bite-sized chunks, and doing everything from citrus zesting to rhubarb juicing to caramel measuring.

In the winter, we get our creative juices flowing and devote about 5-10% of our weekly time for experimentation, tasting sessions, and other R&D or learning activities. We've invented games (like our internally-famous "Scoops against Humanity", and Guess Who :-) to get the inspiration flowing. Not all our experimentations make it "to market," but we always learn something from the process! Like how hard it is to get a workable flavor from kelp!

Some of our experiments turn into ready-to-produce flavors after just one trial, but others take many tweaks! One flavor, inspired by Midwestern "Snickers Salad," took over 5 tries to figure out the final iteration. Inspired by a mix of pudding, green apples, cool whip, and Snickers bar, we tried all variations of peanut brittle, apple caramel, apple jellies, chocolate covered-peanuts, etc. to determine which combination would work best! (We ended up with a vanilla pudding ice cream base + tart apple caramel sauce + chocolate-covered peanuts.)

We also use the winter time to perfect our specialty products -- like our ice cream Tundra Tacos and ice cream pies -- or develop new ones, like this year's Ice Cream for Breakfast cereal bars!

This winter we had a fun time touring the production facilities of other local small businesses and hosting them in our kitchen! We also hosted tours from local schools, scout troops, and other organizations. We typically pause our tours for the summer, but message us through our website's Contact page if you're interested in booking a tour in the future. And if you want to see if we're currently hiring for the Test Kitchen or learn more about careers with Wild Scoops, visit our Hiring page!


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