Originally published in The Northern Light
Wild Scoops was launched May of 2015 after Elissa Brown and her partner, Chris Pike, began to take ice cream more seriously. Working as a science and Spanish teacher three years ago at a North Carolina middle school, Brown stumbled upon an ice cream recipe book that started it all.
“I have memories of doing one of the ice and rock salt ice cream makers as a child, but it was about three years ago I was working in North Carolina as a middle science and Spanish school teacher when I discovered this ice cream cook book, and it was just amazing. I would go through it and try recipe after recipe and I feel like that’s really when I began that craft,” Brown said.
With no real storefront, the ice cream preparation takes place in the rented kitchen space at Mad Myrna’s, with an expanded a new kitchen space being built and on the way.
“Right now we are in the process of building a kitchen space of our own,” Brown said. “We are hoping to be in there in about a month or and expand our operations. We would love to open a store, it’s part of our five year plan. Hopefully sooner rather than later in the five years.”
Taking advantage of Alaskan ingredients and locally made products, Wild Scoops prides itself in distinctly Alaskan ice cream.
“It’s really fun, people are always laughing when they hear we started an Alaskan ice cream business, but we have so many locally grown and locally harvested products, it’s really exciting to be able to incorporate them. It’s my 120 percent job right now. Alaskans love ice cream year round.”
Brown, along with her five employees create unique flavors and package ice cream for festivals and wholesalers. Flavors are inspired, not only by Alaskan ingredients, but by the world Brown lives in.
“Sometimes I’ll be reading a recipe for orange honey miso glazed chicken and I’ll think huh, that would make a good ice cream without the chicken,” Brown said. “Or I’ll be at the farmers market going by a booth and see that they have these really beautiful beets, and I’ll be like, ‘Oh, well we have to use those.’ Or I’ll hear about a new business in town. Like in Talkeetna, we stopped by this place called Kahiltna Birchworks because we knew they served birch syrup, but we also found out they do these local jams and birch caramels and birch brittle. Really everywhere and everything — I’ll be in the store and pass a candle that’s like a lime cucumber and be like, ‘Oh, that’s a great sorbet.’”
When visiting the mobile ice cream cart at the markets, you never know what you might find. With constantly rotating options and seasonal flavors plenty, one can experience a unique array of locally made ice cream.
“Because we are so small and so mobile, we only have seven flavors in our ice cream cart at once. So if we had the seven classics, we wouldn’t be able to have any rotating ones. We always have one vanilla, one chocolate and one dairy free flavor. The rest are constantly rotating,” Brown said.
With a store in the five-year plan, Wild Scoops wants to create a community hub where local ingredients can be celebrated and enjoyed, and like many new businesses and passion projects, Wild Scoops has used social media as a way to communicate and help their business.
“Since we don’t have a physical storefront, online platforms have served as a virtual gathering place and a way to get the word out about our new flavors and pop-up sales locations.”
Wild Scoops has even used social media as a way of trading produce for ice cream with locals. This act of trading highlights Alaska’s unique and hospitable culture.
“We asked and traded rhubarb for pint certificates, this year we had 20 different people contact us and we got over 250 pounds of rhubarb given to us. We just had no more space for them,” Brown said.
Find Wild Scoops around town on Tuesday’s from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at Lunch on the Lawn at the Anchorage Museum, Thursday’s from 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. at the Alaska Pacific University Farmers Market and Saturday’s from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the South Anchorage Farmers Market. Wholesale options around the state allow customers to buy Wild Scoops ice cream pints any day of the week, all year round. Wholesalers include, La Bodega’s metro mall location, Summit Spice and Tea, Alyeska Resort, and Flying Squirrel Bakery and Cafe in Talkeetna. Wild Scoops occasionally hosts ice cream socials in different venues around Anchorage. Check their social media for updates on where and when they will be selling.