With a name like “Yummo Ice Cream,” you know that the product has got to be good. But besides being good (delicious in fact), proprietor Griffin Schultz is also all about the ethical nature of the business. And having an ethical nature, where ice cream is involved, equates to having the best products available – not just taste-wise, sustainable and health-wise as well.
Let’s face it. For the most part, ice cream has a bad rap, deservedly so. That’s because large manufacturers are all about the bottom line. They’ve got to make the ice cream taste good, while ensuring that it is affordable. That means that there is little thought or concern when it comes to the procurement of ingredients and the processing of the ice cream. The end result? It might taste alright, but there’s a lot lacking, especially when you understand what goes into making exceptional (and thoughtful) ice cream.
For Griffin, Yummo started as a pet project at the onset of the pandemic. He told me that it was something that had been in his back pocket for a while. Leading up to this major transition in his life (getting away from more traditional cooking), Griffin worked on a small dairy farm, where he learned how to make cheese. He immersed himself in reading books on the subject matter, and ended up getting decent at it (making cheese). Then he received his certification in microbiology, which allowed him to better understand the science behind all of it. From there he did a stint at Jasper Hill Farm in Vermont, and then East Hill Creamery in Perry, NY.
“There’s a lot of science [behind cheese making],” said Griffin. “I need it, and I appreciate it. But there’s not a lot of creativity. I was working at Elm Street Bakery, and a need for some desserts arose. I asked if I could start making some of my ice cream, and they said yes. I started to plate the ice cream, and also began selling pints. Then the pandemic hit and I realized that this was something that I was able to do. It ended up that there was a high demand for my products, and in January it became my full time job.”
It was then that Yummo Ice Cream was born. After essentially launching his business at Elm Street, Griffin began to experiment with all sorts of ingredients, shapes, and sizes of ice cream, pints, freezies, bars… anything and everything, except for scoops and cones.
He realized pretty quickly that his passion for the boutique ice cream business was easily transferable to customers, who loved to hear about his devotion to endangered small dairies. Griffin told me that the customer connection is very important to him, which is why he wants to start spending more time and resources on the direct-to-consumer aspect of the business. He’s starting this by establishing some pop-up relationships with regional scratch farming and cooking operations, like WestSide Tilth Farm (246 Normal Avenue). Last Saturday was his first pop-up at the farm, and this coming Saturday (10am to 3pm) he will sell his ice cream alongside other vendors such as Creekside Flowers, Song Roastery, and Other World Wellness (small batch herbal preparations). There will be live music, a farm stand, Butter Block pastries… and artisan pizzas (by Tilth Farm). See more on Facebook, or click here to pre-order a pizza.
As for other places to find Yummo, Griffin sells at Elm Street Bakery, White Cow Dairy’s Farm Shop, Thorpe’s Organic Family Farm Store, Fresh Catch Poke (both locations), Shuck Shack, and Kuni’s (among others). Griffin mentioned that selling to Kuni, and being featured at the Farm Shop, were two moments in time when he looked back and thought how cool it was that he had come so far… to be selling in places that he respected so much… to be in such good company of his culinary heroes that he has admired for so long.
I also sell to Her Sanctuary on Hertel,” noted Griffin. “They called me and asked if I could make them some custom plant-based sorbets and popsicles. While I’m pro-small dairy, I get that that isn’t an option for some people, even in its truest form.”
Even the Yummo classics (classic flavors, such as vanilla and chocolate), per Griffin, are not what most people have come to expect. For example, his chocolate ice cream is… “made with raw cacao from the fruit of the bean (none of that Hershey’s nonsense). We swirl in our famous hot fudge & homemade chocolate cookie crumble. Oh yeah, and salt. Chocolate & salt are friends. That’s some simple arithmetics right there.”
Then there are the not-so-classic, yet destined-for-fame selections. Such as… Lilac Lemon Ice: “Ahhhh yes, the ephemeral lilac. Spring’s fleeting splendor & in my opinion: the superior ‘purple flower’ in aroma, taste & presentation! Hand picking petals from my grandmother’s lilac tree – because any green will taint & bitter the overall experience) to make this sorbet isn’t exactly economical or efficient, but I think you’ll think it’s worth it should you let yourself indulge in this light luxury (vegan & gluten free).”
To see all of the incredible concoctions, simply visit this Instagram page.
More than anything else, Griffin told me that he owes his successes to the small farms, such as Teacup Farm, which is now his sole dairy provider.
Micro-dairy farms like Teacup run on similar ethics and practices that are seen in European countries. These are the small dairies that we must support, Griffin reminded me… not the subsidized farms with the non-ethical churn and burn production strategies.
“Ice cream is typically considered junk food because of the hormones and the homogenization,” said Griffin. “That’s not happening at Teacup – the cows are grass-fed, yielding milk that has good fat, and is nutrient-dense and protein-intact.”
It’s not every day that a region (like WNY) is lucky enough to have a maker that is so devoted to the ethical nature of his or her business. In the case of Griffin, he’s over the top, which is actually a relief to see. He’s a guy who cares about the land, the animals, and his customers. That, my friends, results in ice cream products that are second to none.
Griffin even has an ice cream that supports the Sea Turtle Conservancy (ethically sourced vanilla bean ice cream with salted, buttered pecans & ribbons of burnt sugar caramel & our famous hot fudge). It’s this type of thinking and caring that makes Yummo Ice Cream such a breath of clean, fresh air.
Now, get out there and enjoy some good eating, from a business that you can actually feel good about supporting with each lick or bite.