Husband-and-wife team churns local ice cream
Weckerly’s, based out of Green Line Cafe at 43rd, Baltimore, rotates seasonal flavors
September 26, 2013, 7:12 pm · Updated September 30, 2013, 10:17 pm·
Amanda Suarez | DP
For Weckerly’s owner and chef Jen Satinsky, making ice cream starts with one ingredient.
This summer, it was peaches.
“We know that peaches have a lot of water so you don’t want to make an ice cream with that,” Jen said. “So, you make it into peach butter.”
Sandwiching the ice cream between piecrusts was the finishing touch to her peaches and cream ice cream sandwich.
“When I think of peaches, I think of pie,” she added.
While they do not have a brick-and-mortar store, Weckerly’s sells all of its homemade ice cream flavors — like mint chocolate truffle and burnt sugar apple crumble — at the Green Line Café on 43rd Street and Baltimore Avenue. Jen, along with her husband and co-owner, Andy, sell ice cream sandwiches, four ounce individual cups of ice cream and pints of sorbet. The fair food farm stand at Reading Terminal Market and Mariposa food co-op on 48th and Baltimore also sell the sorbet pints.
Jen and Andy are about to finish their first year in business.
The couple met in the spring of 2005, when Andy was a bicycle mechanic. In 2010, the couple began planning how to launch Weckerly’s. Armed with Jen’s 12 years of pastry chef experience and Andy’s organizational skills, they produced their first batch of Weckerly’s ice cream in 2012.
“We work well as business partners,” Jen said. “It was a separate dream but it’s possible because we’re together.”
Weckerly’s specializes in making small batch ice cream in the French tradition — ice cream with an egg custard base that creates a smoother texture. The ice cream is made from local dairy and produce.
Before Weckerly’s, Jem was the pastry chef at the White Dog Café on 34th and Sansom streets. While cooking there, she “fell in love” with creating seasonal products.
“We wanted to continue the relationships with local farms that Jen had been building,” Andy said.
The Weckerly’s menu, which typically has four to five flavors at a time, changes with the seasons. Over the summer, they served flavors such as caramel corn — where Jen steeped corn in sweet cream overnight and swirled the ice cream with caramel — and creatively-named “Blue Berry the Pirate.” Some of their inter-seasonal offerings include Rhubarb Buttermilk and “Man Full of Trouble” Porter, based on Dock Street Brewing’s beer, which is mixed with chocolate covered shortbread cookies.
Fall flavors will include pumpkin bourbon and tastes made with pears, plums and cranberries.
“I’m thinking of something maybe with white chocolate and cranberry,” Jen said. “I’ve recently discovered you can caramelize white chocolate, so that may be the way to go.”
While the two still have day jobs — Andy continues his work as a bike mechanic and Jen is the kitchen manager at the Green Line Café — they remain devoted to their ice cream. From driving 45 minutes to a family farm in South Jersey for “the best” blueberries, to trying squash after squash until they find one sweeter than pumpkin, both are extensively involved in the production process.
In the future, the couple hopes to expand to more direct distribution avenues. While they currently scoop at street fairs like the West Craft Fair and the Mount Airy Night Market, they’d like to be serving somewhere every week.
“It’s really the people element … it’s the most fun part,” Jen said.
Regardless of any upcoming expansion, Weckerly’s will continue to use locally sourced ingredients. Within the next three to five years, the couple plans to partner with a local, value-oriented farm to supply them with their dairy. Eventually, Andy explained, they will grow larger and “have to ally … with somebody who can be [a] dedicated source.”
Jen added, “I can’t wait for it to keep growing.”