UTICA — Last year, Velvet Ice Cream and the Ohio Farm Bureau launched a contest to create a new flavor of ice cream, featuring Ohio products. After sifting through more than 800 entries and spending the past few months settling on the right mix of flavors and ingredients, “Honey Caramel” began rolling off the production line Thursday.
The winning entry was submitted by Alex Grooms, a 13-year-old eighth-grader from Williamsburg. It’s a mix of vanilla ice cream, honey and caramel and is part of the Natural line of products.
Joe Dager, chairman of the board of Velvet Ice Cream, explained that they buy local ingredients as much as possible and noted that 50 percent of the milk and 40 percent of the cream they buy weekly comes from Ohio farmers or co-ops. The honey is the specific Ohio product featured in the new flavor, with the latest order coming from Deer Creek Farms, Dager said.
“We do our best to buy everything we can from our state,” he added.
On hand for the first production run of Honey Caramel were John Fisher, executive vice president, and Brent Porteus, president, of the Ohio Farm Bureau, and Barry Conrad, a beekeeper and member of the Farm Bureau from Franklin County. Conrad is featured on the containers for the new flavor.
In addition to having co-sponsored the contest that resulted in the flavor, Fisher said the Farm Bureau was on hand because it is “interested in promoting and growing Ohio agriculture” and that family businesses (like Velvet and most Ohio farms) are “the core of Ohio agriculture.”
The use of Ohio farm products by Ohio businesses is “a win-win for everyone — all customers and all Ohioans. It sustains both business and agriculture,” Fisher said.