By M.L Dehm HBJ Freelance Writer
MALTBY — Many companies wouldn’t be content with a third-place win, but that isn’t the case for Maltby-based Snoqualmie Ice Cream. Owners Barry and Shahnaz Bettinger were extremely happy to be named third-place winners in Evening Magazine’s Best of Western Washington Best Ice Cream Shop category for 2012.
Of course part of their joy was the fact that the two top winners, Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream in Wallingford and Seattle’s Full Tilt Ice Cream, have their mixes developed, pasteurized, homogenized, packaged and distributed from Snoqualmie Ice Cream.
But it’s the fact that their business friends won, not any connection that Snoqualmie Ice Cream had with the competition’s products, that pleases them. The Bettingers value their numerous local business partners.
“We’re behind a lot of products,” said Barry Bettinger, who quickly noted that their associates make their own flavors. Snoqualmie Ice Cream just produces the bases for them. But he is enthusiastic about the growing circle of local restaurants and specialty shops that are working with his firm to produce some spectacular ice cream, no matter whose name is on the carton.
One of the most recent high-profile companies to partner with Snoqualmie Ice Cream is Seattle’s Top Pot Doughnuts. When Top Pot customers suggested the idea of doughnut flavored ice cream, co-owner brothers Mark and Michael Klebeck approached the Bettingers for assistance.
After numerous taste tests, some of Top Pot’s most popular fried treats made their debut as new ice cream flavors. Pink Feather Boa, Apple Fritter and Valley Girl Lemon Sorbet are just a few of the many ice cream flavors now available at select Top Pot locations under that company’s name and logo.
Companies don’t have to be high profile or willing to sign up for a long-term commitment in order to create their own custom flavors with Snoqualmie Ice Cream.
“If companies, or even private individuals, want a special flavor, they can order it in as little as a six-gallon batch,” Shahnaz Bettinger said. It’s not unusual for the company to produce small, custom-flavored batches for weddings, company picnics and other events.
Some of those flavors are tailored specifically for adult palates, like mojito, Kentucky bourbon whiskey and Tennessee whiskey. An upcoming event, that will be announced on the company’s Facebook page in the near future, is a happy hour for grown-ups featuring the alcohol-based flavors.
It is also on Facebook where Snoqualmie Ice Cream gets ideas for new flavors of their own. The small company with nearly 2,000 Facebook likes and nearly 500 Twitter followers not only posts its events and specials on social media, it invites followers to makes their own suggestions for new taste sensations.
But the Bettingers don’t want to give the impression that they are all about technology. It’s important that people know about their core mission of values, Barry Bettinger said. First and foremost, the company is passionate about the environment and committed to sustainability and reducing their carbon footprint.
“When we built here we knew we wanted it to be sustainable,” Shahnaz Bettinger said.
To that end, they have gone to what many people might think of as extreme measures to achieve that sustainability. Ingredients are locally sourced or home grown whenever possible.
They don’t just get their hormone-free milk and cream from a regional farm, they now keep chickens on the site’s own small farm for a steady supply of truly local eggs.
“We got our first eggs at Thanksgiving,” Barry Bettinger said.
The eggs only have to travel a few yards across the site before they are incorporated into the company’s custard mixes. The Bettingers feed the chickens on scraps from local produce and bakery vendors. Food that would have ended up in a landfill instead ends up inside Snoqualmie Ice Cream’s chickens.
The soiled bedding from the chicken pen goes into large compost bins. The resulting compost nourishes the nearby fruits, herbs and other plants that the company grows to flavor their ice cream.
The property already features a bioswale and a parking lot made of pervious concrete to protect the local environment from excessive water runoff. But the Bettingers’ latest project, a huge freezer building capable of storing 60 pallets of ice cream, features a roof water collection system that should, once it’s operational, allow them to irrigate the adjacent farm.
There are many other energy saving or sustainable features at the Maltby site — from solar power generators to waste heat recovery systems. The Bettingers welcome visitors to come for a look around the farm and learn about some of their conservation efforts.
Of course, they also hope people will stop by their cafe and try some of the ice creams, custards, gelatos and sorbets that have made them so popular. These are also available by the pint at QFC, Haggen, Top Food, Central Market, PCC and Whole Foods stores. More than 50 local restaurants and specialty shops feature Snoqualmie Ice Cream products on their menus.
The company is really growing, Barry Bettinger said, and there are plans to grow some more. Snoqualmie Ice Cream hopes to make more connections in the local business and farming communities and research new beneficial partnerships and projects. As for the for the mini-farm, there are some exciting plans for that, too. They’re going to keep bees next.