Having to leave your town to find house-made ice cream is problematic – every community deserves a first-rate ice cream shop. Residents Laryssa and Stephen Jardine have resolved Ossining’s artisan ice cream shop dearth with the July 4th opening of Bigfoot Creamery in the village-owned kiosk in Henry Goudine Park.
We decided to get our licks in interviewing the couple that uses antibiotic free milk straight from grass fed cows in the Hudson Valley (via Hudson Valley Fresh) to craft fun flavors such as Hobbit’s Carrot Cake, Carnivorous Chocolate, and Lochness Lemon.
WM: What was the catalyst for you to open an ice cream shop?
Laryssa and Stephen Jardine: We’ve been playing around with the idea of opening an ice cream shop for a few years now and saw an obvious need as we noticed everyone driving outside of town to get ice cream. When the Village of Ossining decided they wanted to make something of the kiosk in Henry Gourdine Park, which had been vacant a while, they asked for businesses to submit their proposal and we were chosen.
WM: Do either of you have a food industry background? Do you have non-ice cream occupations?
Laryssa and Stephen Jardine: Neither of us have food industry backgrounds aside from working at a nightclub and Starbucks in college! We’ve had to teach ourselves everything, from getting our food handlers permit to figuring out how in the world to make ice cream. Both of us have had corporate jobs for going on 10-plus years and continue to work those jobs while running this shop. [Stephen works at HSBC and Laryssa works at a tech company called Datalot.] Yes, it means for incredibly long days!
WM: What was your process for learning to make ice cream?
Laryssa and Stephen Jardine: We taught ourselves — lots of online videos and articles. We used Bethany Arts Community‘s shared kitchen space. It’s an amazing kitchen and BAC are a pleasure to work with. They were the first to really support our business and push us forward. One of the biggest hurdles was finding a local shared kitchen space approved by the health department for us to experiment in. Most shared kitchen spaces are in the city/Bronx — we had no intention of driving down there to make ice cream. It defeated our entire mission of keeping things local and supporting the local businesses.
WM: What’s the key to making first-rate ice cream?
Laryssa and Stephen Jardine: Fresh ingredients. Whole vanilla beans, don’t go cheap. Buy straight from the farm and keep it local. Eat it quickly, everything is made within 24 hours of consumption!
WM: What is the most popular flavor so far?
Laryssa and Stephen Jardine: Carrot cake.
WM: Why the name Bigfoot?
Laryssa Jardine: I am from the Pacific Northwest, Bigfoot is big out there, I’m bringing him to the East Coast. 😉
WM: You promote that keeping local is important to Bigfoot’s ice creams. What are some local purveyors that you use?
WM: What do you like best about your location?
Laryssa and Stephen Jardine: The sunsets! They are to die for.
WM: What’s the most challenging part of owning an ice cream shop?
Laryssa Jardine: Making ice cream is labor intensive, chopping fresh cherries and strawberries, prepping mix, and allowing it to chill before mixing involves planning and patience. We are finding it difficult to keep up with demand in such a small production facility with only my husband and I producing the ice cream.
1A Westerly Rd (Henry Gourdine Park)
Open from Memorial Day through October 1 daily except Mondays.