By Eileen Weber
Have you seen them? The Farmer’s Cow has a relatively new line of the ice cream sandwiches. On the market for about a year now, these luscious, frozen treats of handmade cookies with velvety soft ice cream nestled between them are a summer favorite. And the best part? Everything is local, including the cookies.
“It’s good ice cream meets fabulous cookie,” said Kathy Smith, the Sales and Events Manager for The Farmer’s Cow. “That’s a marriage made in local heaven.”
A cooperative of six Connecticut dairy farms, The Farmer’s Cow pools their resources to provide the region with fresh milk, cream, eggs, and ice cream. And now, they’ve expanded their product line to include five different ice cream sandwich flavors made with their premium ice cream recipe and Sweet & Simple cookies.
“They’re unique recipes made for us,” said Robin Chesmer, Managing Member at Farmer’s Cow at their Graywall Farms headquarters. “Plus, they’re good tasting cookies.”
Open for about a year and half, Sweet & Simple bakery in the Greenfield Hill section of Fairfield specializes in traditional American baked goods. The business has taken off in the short time they’ve had a storefront. And that’s exactly what made them attractive to The Farmer’s Cow. Their whole business philosophy is about buying local. But, it’s also about being a successful small business.
No one knows how hard it is to get a small business off the ground better than Michelle Jaffee, the owner of Sweet & Simple. Jaffee started out making cookies by herself and selling them at farmers’ markets. She started to get a following and expanded her fledgling bakery in rented commercial kitchen space in Bridgeport, but eventually outgrew it. When the location in Greenfield Hill opened up, she jumped at it. It’s been a rocket ship ride ever since.
Jaffee’s business was the perfect solution for The Farmer’s Cow when they were looking to expand their product line with an ice cream sandwich. It was really important for them not to use a mass manufacturer for the cookie. A mutual friend connected the folks at The Farmer’s Cow with Jaffee. The rest, as they say, is history.
But it went a little further than just liking each other’s products.
“The big thing was the baker had to use The Farmer’s Cow dairy products. A bigger producer can’t supply that,” Chesmer said. “It’s about working with local people. That’s what we’re all about.”
That’s what Jaffee had on any competition—she was already using The Farmer’s Cow dairy products in all her baked goods, along with other fine products like Cabot Creamery butter, King Arthur flour, Callebaut chocolate, and other local and seasonal ingredients.
The Farmer’s Cow delivers their dairy products to Sweet & Simple for use in their bakery kitchen, but Jaffee uses a co-packer to do the core production. There was no way to do that kind of volume in-house. So with her strict supervision over the production runs, the co-packer bakes the cookies, then delivers them to Royal Ice Cream Company in Manchester, Connecticut to make the sandwiches for The Farmer’s Cow.
Royal Ice Cream Company begins the ice cream sandwich production process by making The Farmer’s Cow ice creams with dairy products from the six member farms, then assembles the sandwiches with Sweet & Simple cookies, packages and freezes them. From there, they are distributed to retailers across the state. It’s the freshest ice cream sandwich around, unless you make your own. You can purchase the full line of The Farmer’s Cow ice cream sandwiches from every Whole Foods Market in the state, but they are also stocked in small markets statewide. For a special treat, pick some up from Sweet & Simple and meet the woman behind the cookies.
If you love chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, or just plain chocolate cookies, you are in luck. Each of the sandwich flavors comes with those cookies in the following combinations: black raspberry chocolate chip ice cream with a chocolate cookie, vanilla ice cream with an oatmeal raisin cookie, mint chocolate chip ice cream with a chocolate cookie, coffee ice cream with a chocolate chip cookie, and vanilla with a chocolate chip cookie. They usually retail around $3.50.
The ice cream sandwiches are so popular that some people actually buy them by the case. Smith said a friend of hers from Florida buys a case at a time because she can’t get them at home. Jaffee echoed a similar story. One of her regular customers picks up a case for his pool house at home to have the ice cream sandwiches on hand for the kids. Clearly, he gets the Father of the Year award.
Of course, it won’t be lost if we all buy local. And we can do that, one ice cream sandwich at a time.
For more information about Farmer’s Cow products, visit them online at http://www.thefarmerscow.com. For Sweet & Simple products or to order their baked goods online, visit them at www.sweetandsimple.com.
The Farmer’s Cow
49 Chappell Road, Lebanon, CT 06429
Sweet & Simple Bake Shop
75 Hillside Road
Fairfield, CT 06824
Open Tuesday – Friday, 7am to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday, 8am to 2pm. Closed Mondays. Inquire about baking classes for children and adults, custom cake orders, and catering.