World flavors, locally made
The flurry of food truck activity in Newberg and Dundee continues with the upcoming addition to the industry of Cream Northwest, which will offer made-from-scratch ice cream using as many local ingredients as possible.
Ive always liked ice cream, proprietor Mike Roberts said. Its one of the things I remember from being a child, that ice cream was amazing.
Roberts came to Newberg for a job at Climax Portable Machining & Welding Systems, where he worked for seven years. Last summer he decided to go in a new direction.
Id been making ice cream for family and friends for years, he said.
He recently visited artisanal ice cream shops like Salt & Straw in Portland and Molly Moons in Seattle, and realized he did not know of any options for ice cream made from scratch in the Newberg area.
So he decided to do something about that.
Initially the plan was to open a storefront shop for his ice cream operation. The location was all secured and ready to go, but the plan fell through at the last minute. Rather than let that be a deterrent, Roberts saw an opportunity to go in a different direction.
The day it fell through I went out and invested in a food cart, he said. Its being built at the moment the carts been delivered, Im just waiting for the company to modify it to my need.
A food cart works out well for the ice cream production, because although the equipment necessary doesnt come cheap (roughly $10,000 for the entry-level model) it fits into the small space available inside the cart.
Theres going to be a lot of good equipment in there, Roberts said.
The cart path also has the advantage of being able to move around and hit the big festivals, which Cream Northwest plans to do beginning with Tunes on Tuesday in July. After that it will stay generally in the Newberg area, moving on to a different location every few days with an interactive up-to-date map on its website telling fans where to find it on any given day.
The business is something of a return to his roots for Roberts, who grew up on a farm in England where he gained experience making ice cream from scratch. It was a bit different than what American audiences are used to, though, as it was often made with clotted cream, an English delicacy. While he hopes to incorporate it into his food truck offerings, it may end up marketed under a different name for the finished result as clotted cream, Roberts said, is not the most appealing of titles, especially when trying to entice a new audience.
Besides the ice cream flavors of his childhood, Roberts will draw on other past experiences for inspiration as well.
A seasoned traveler who crossed Europe and once went to Malaysia for three months on a tai chi trip, Roberts has tasted a bit of everything including some of the odder delicacies of the world.
I remember trying one desert called an ais kacang. Its a bit like Hawaiian shave ice, they shave the ice and put on locust beans and sweet corn and other things It reminded me of somebody scraping the bottom of a freezer its got everything youd get from the bottom of a freezer.
Although Cream Northwest does not plan on serving up ais kacang exactly, Roberts said hell bring in that type of unconventional (for this area) influence in his offerings, including such ingredients as black sesame seed and zucci beans as well as more typical American fare like orange and strawberry flavors.
I believe because Ive done a lot of traveling and done a lot of things it kind of gives me that little kick, Roberts said. Its nice to try different things.
For more information, visit http://creamnorth west.com.