Consciously Crafted Ice Cream
With a background in sustainable farming and dairy operations, Snoqualmie Ice Cream co-owner Barry Bettinger, along with his wife Shahnaz, have the ideal credentials to run an eco-friendly ice cream powerhouse.
Snoqualmie, in Snohomish, is in the business of consciously crafting delicious ice cream. They specialize in hard-packed ice cream and “French Style,” or frozen, custard made with more eggs and less air than traditional ice cream. The result is a dense and flavor-intensive bite that sets them apart from the competition.
Snoqualmie Ice Cream makes a Birthday Cake flavor (white cake batter, chocolate frosting) that tastes like childhood. Their Mukilteo Mudd is rich, decadent, and made with four types of Belgian chocolate. It’s a difference that you can taste and feel—their base recipe uses less air than their competitors, they say, and with only quality, local ingredients going into the ice cream, you know you’re getting a quality product. Check out their eco-friendly scoop shop in Snohomish where innovative design meets sustainable production processes, or check your local grocery in Whatcom, Skagit and San Juan counties.
The Snoqualmie Ice Cream company has been around for years. It started out as a scoop shop in, you guessed it, Snoqualmie. Then a man named Hal Lewis bought the company and moved it to Snohomish. When he was getting ready to retire in 1997, Lewis wanted someone to carry the legacy of the company. Enter Barry and Shahnaz Bettinger.
The couple knew they wanted to own a business in either cheese or ice cream production, so they jumped on the opportunity. Since then, they bought a house and renovated it into the current Snoqualmie Ice Cream Scoop Shop and production facility.
The Bettingers value sustainability and eco-conscious operations. The company is rated as a Certified B Corporation, which means a company that passed an assessment of its social and environ-mental impacts. To prevent run-off from the site, they planted a rain garden with landscaping that helps sift debris and pollution from runoff water, and installed pervious concrete. The scoop shop uses (adorable!) miniature metal spoons for tasting flavors and reuses the plastic ice cream serving bowls. This might not sound groundbreaking in today’s increasingly eco-minded culture, but back in 1997 eco-friendly designs weren’t popular. The Bettingers went through many engineers, architects, and funds trying to achieve their design vision.
They also had a vision for exceptional ice cream. Snoqulamie sources high-quality, local ingredients from producers and farmers whose philosophy aligns with the company’s. An exceptional staff of about 20 ensures the company’s values are upheld. Jessica Tice, the sales manager, spends her days doing “lots of little things” to enhance customer relationships like emails, numerous phone calls, and welcomes inquires for custom flavors. She worked as a teacher in the Peace Corps in Cameroon (where she met her husband, another volunteer) before returning to Washington to work in the food industry and finding her way to Snoqualmie Ice Cream.
If you compliment Bettinger, he denies credit, praising his staff instead.
Production manager Joely Alicea’s no-nonsense attitude keeps the facility on schedule. The Bettingers sent Alicea to Pennsylvania State University, where the campus is famous for its Department of Food Science’s ice cream shop The Creamery, for a course in ice cream manufacturing. She’s well-equipped to manage the production of three daily batches of 300 gallons each. Each batch is one flavor. Snoqualmie has about 30 retail and seasonal recipes: some carried over from the beginning, but many Barry created, like the Ginger Snap Caramel recipe, inspired by a friend’s pregnant wife who had a craving for the flavor combination. Tice’s predecessor drove a few flavor choices based on market research, something Tice is excitedly getting ready to do herself. “We’re all really excited about that part; it allows us to be creative.”
Snoqualmie Ice Cream is devoted to quality. They regularly tweak recipes, like the Birthday Cake flavor, recently revamped to include sprinkles and better cake pieces. Vannie Beerman, wife to the company’s marketing manager, Nick Beerman, has been on staff for only a week. She works the Scoop Shop’s counter with a smile, handing over a spoon with a generous sample of Birthday Cake. “I love it here,” she says.
Q & A with sales manager Jessica Tice
Q. What’s your favorite flavor?
A. Salted Caramel. It’s a melt-in-your-mouth flavor, and the Danish Vanilla Bean—it’s just such a pure, fresh flavor.
Q. Biggest flavor flop?
A. One flavor we just discontinued is Crème Fraiche. If we had named it Cheesecake, it would have done a lot better. So there’s a lot in a name. We also had a Spicy Banana Brownie, which has been renamed to Cinnamon Banana Brownie.
Q. How often do you eat ice cream, not taste it, but actually sit down and enjoy a cone or bowl?
A. Almost every day. This morning we started the day with a cookie company, so we made ice cream sandwiches for breakfast.
Q. What’s the most difficult flavor to make?
A. Our Cookie Dough. It’s been finicky getting the cookie dough through our ingredient feeder and have it maintain its texture.
Q. What’s the best part of working at the ice creamery?
A. It’s ice cream. Everybody loves ice cream and it makes people happy.
Q. What’s the toughest aspect of working at the ice creamery?
A. Right now, it’s probably figuring out our direction. We have so much to offer, but we’re not entirely sure what our identity is. It’s morphed over the years, we’ve gotten larger, and there are a lot of new kids on the block who are doing fun stuff on social media. How do we keep up with them while staying true to who we are and maintaining our quality?
21106 86th Ave. SE, Snohomish
360.668.2912 | snoqualmieicecream.com
To read our feature on the Northwest Washington Fair, click here.