Originally published in The Northern Light
With her mint truck and her selection of all-organic desserts, Laura Aubry is back for her second summer season at The Mint Chip.
The Mint Chip sells a handful of unique, handmade Alaskan frozen desserts. In addition to the organic ice cream Aubry sells in her food truck, a fun frozen product also for sale is the ice lollie — a name affectionately given to what most would refer to as a popsicle. The name was adopted from Australia, where Aubry lived for a period of time.
“I lived in Australia for awhile and that’s what they called them. I just think it’s cute. Everyone asks me about it, but I’m just gonna stick with it,” Aubry said.
The idea for an organic, locally made, and community minded ice cream truck was conceived in Aubry’s high school years while she was working as a nanny.
“I noticed that a lot of the families I would nanny for were very health conscience. So when I’d be at the park with their kids and the ice cream truck would come, they didn’t want me buying ice cream for their kids. I began to think that it would be so cool if there was an organic ice cream run by a familiar face in the community that was trustworthy, not some random old guy selling really old freezer burned junk,” Aubry said.
Aubry learned how to make ice cream at a young age, but perfected her recipes as The Mint Chip became a reality.
“When I was a kid, my grandpa came up to visit and he taught us how to make homemade ice cream, but that kind of just a fun memory I had. I didn’t start experimenting with ice cream until this was looking like an actual feasible option,” Aubry said.
When Aubry gave birth to her daughter Juniper, Aubry began to reconsider where her life was headed. The organic ice cream truck of her high school nanny days came back to mind as Aubry was figuring out options for a way to make money on passion and creativity.
“For whatever reason this popped back into my head. So I started researching what it would take to do it and I decided to just go for it,” Aubry said.
A craigslist search and a flight to Seattle made the dream possible. Aubry found a vendor in Seattle who custom builds ice cream trucks. The truck was painted, fitted with coolers, and even had an extra seat installed for baby Juniper. After Aubry gave the final OK her and Juniper rode the bus home up the Alaska-Canada Highway to Anchorage.
Aubry makes all of her products by herself from scratch. She carries a multitude of ice cream flavors, ice lollies and drinks. She uses the power of the internet and wide world of food blogging to learn about new and unique processes of making and flavoring ice cream in the most natural way possible.
“Most of the good recipes I’ve found are from food blogs. One thing I’ve found that I like to do is steeping the ingredients in milk. It gives it a really earthy and real flavor. It’s kind of fun to see what I can steep, and what flavors I’ll get,” Aubry said. “I try to do things naturally. Instead of using an extract of something I’ll trying steeping it or making my own simple syrup.”
With organic and local sourcing being the strongest values of The Mint Chip, Aubry goes out of her way to create the most local and organic product she can.
“I uphold organic the most when making ice cream. The next would be sourcing. Finding local ingredients. For example, I get a lot of my mint and berries from various farmers. Most of my ingredients are found locally unless I can’t find it. Especially now that I have my own kid I try to think about what I would want her to have.”
The Mint Chip’s success can be traced back to Aubry’s persistent use of social media, especially Instagram.
“[Social media] is pretty much the reason my business has succeeded; between my friends and their consistent support and social media, specifically Instagram. Instagram is huge,” Aubry said.
Despite the long hours and hard work Aubry is finding passion in her one-man show. The Mint Chip offers Aubry the ability to have her daughter with her, a creative outlet, a unique way to make money and be part of the community.
“At least for right now, I’d rather work 100 plus hours a week doing this than doing something I don’t really care about for 40 hours a week. My daughter gets to come and interact with people and it makes it feel like more of a community. The benefits definitely outweigh the late nights and the hard work.”
Find Aubry in her mint-colored ice cream around town through out the summer. The Mint Chip will be at the Mountain View Farmers Market from 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. every Thursday and the Muldoon Farmers Market from 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. every Saturday. In addition to summer markets and fairs, Aubry does special events of any kind and is equipped to travel with her truck anywhere from Fairbanks to Homer. Check out The Mint Chip on social media for more information and up-to-date information on where Aubry and her truck will be parked next.