The Story Behind Our June Rescued Food Series

Taste all the good rescued food can do!

Throughout the month of June, our seasonal ice cream flavors highlight creative ways food in our communities can be reused, rescued, preserved, and redirected in the most delicious of ways. From leftover whey from urban cheesemakers to beet tops from farmers en route to the market, every flavor in this month’s seasonal series showcases how these rescued foods can—and should—be a part of our food chain. In the United States, about 40% in our food supply goes into the trash. That’s not all spoiled food—the vast majority of this waste is made up of surplus, edible ingredients that could help reduce hunger in our most vulnerable populations, but get tossed because of lack of storage space, lack of distribution chains, passing food fads, and even holidays.

This issue is near and dear to our hearts. Our very own Tyler Malek notes, “The fact that we waste 40% of our food in the United States while there are families and children not getting the food they need is an awful reality and something that all of us in the food industry need to focus on changing. This ice cream menu is our little soapbox to talk about this issue and start showing creative ways to combat this problem. We’re using excess ingredients from around Portland, Los Angeles and San Francisco in super unique ways, like bruised fruit to spent grains from local breweries. I had the opportunity to work alongside these organizations and companies who are making a significant impact in the community. We wanted to put them in the spotlight, tell their story, and see if we can get our customers and communities at large to be more aware and supportive of the tireless work that they’re doing.”

Our Rescued Food series spotlights fifteen yummy flavors dreamed up with the help of nonprofit partners in Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles who are working tirelessly to create new avenues to reduce waste on the farm, in restaurant kitchens, in large-scale food production, and even in our own backyards. We pay full market price for all of the rescued ingredients sourced with the help of these organizations, proving that these rescued foods can be valuable in our economy while reducing hunger and food insecurity. It’s the ultimate win/win situation!

Our June flavors in Portland were created in collaboration with Urban Gleaners, an incredible nonprofit redistributing food from high-end restaurants and grocery stores to schools and agencies working to end hunger. In Urban Gleaners’ Toasted Baguette PB&J we transform surplus loaves from local bakeries, help Sauvie Island Organics clear out their root cellar with Celery Root & Strawberry Celery Leaf Jam, and repurpose the high-quality whey that’s a byproduct of cheesemaking in Ancient Heritage’s Lemon Curd & Whey. We also paired up with Breakside Brewing and Eastside Distillery to give a second life to the ingredients that go into some of the Pacific Northwest’s favorite beverages with Spent Grains & Bacon S’mores and Bourbon Distilled Cherries Ambrosia. We’re so excited to donate a portion of this month’s proceeds back to Urban Gleaners to support their ongoing efforts to reduce food waste and food insecurity in the Portland area. You can find out more about their local efforts at urbangleaners.org.

In Los Angeles, we hit the drawing board with Food Forward, a Southern California nonprofit building community and food security by rescuing over 300,000 pounds of surplus produce each week from rom large-scale growers, farmers markets, and backyard citrus trees. Our Top of the Beet features jam and brittle made with the stems and leaves of beets that would typically get tossed at the farmer’s market, and Whey-Preserved Strawberries shows just how delicious overripe Oxnard strawberries can be. One of our most “fruitful” collaborations this month is with Food Forward’s backyard harvest division, rescuing lemons, oranges, grapefruits, and limes for our Salt-Cured Citrus Creamsicle. Three Weavers Stout & Blackberry Fig Jam and Greenbar Distillery’s Gin Spices & Tonic transforms the stout grains and gin-steeped spices into two flavors you won’t soon forget! Proceeds from the flavors created with our friends at Food Forward will go back to Food Forward to help support their food rescuing superpowers. You can find out more at foodforward.org!

San Francisco’s June flavors were created in collaboration with Food Runners, one of our favorite Bay Area nonprofits that works with small restaurants, bakeries, hotels, and caterers to deliver surplus food directly to people in need. Ever wonder what happens to the extra pastries on morning meeting snack trays in conference rooms around Silicon Valley? Food Runners picks them up and delivers them to neighborhood food programs—and to our kitchen to create Food Runner’s Banana Bread Pudding. We also teamed up with our favorite cheesemakers to craft Caramelized Whey & Candied Citrus, and Imperfect Produce to turn less-than-gorgeous roots into Roasted Sunchoke Mock Apple Pie. What’s better than coffee and beer? Rescued too-small coffee beans made into chocolate bark and extra creamy stout ice cream, aka Imperial Stout Wort and Peaberry Coffee Bark! We also found a way to repurpose the buttery popcorn remaining at the end of the night at one of the Mission District’s historic landmarks in Roxie Road. Come in this month and try them all, because a portion of this month’s scoop sales will go back to FFood Runners’ incredible fleet relaying over 3,000 meals a day, simultaneously alleviating hunger and reducing waste thanks to an inspiring network of volunteers. Find out more about their efforts (and how to get involved) at foodrunners.org!