Business

Whidbey Island's own ice cream

Mike and Mary Rudd, the husband and wife gourmet ice cream making team, make a batch of their Whidbey Island treat. - Breeana Laughlin
Mike and Mary Rudd, the husband and wife gourmet ice cream making team, make a batch of their Whidbey Island treat.
— image credit: Breeana Laughlin

A lot of people use their retirement as a time to relax, but Mike and Mary Rudd of Langley decided to use their extra time to set up a gourmet ice cream making operation.

A friend of Mike's approached him with the idea 10 years ago.

"I didn't have the time to follow through before," said Mike Rudd. "This seemed like a real good time to do it."

And so he did.

The husband and wife converted their shop from a woodworking studio into an ice cream making factory.

They bought all the equipment they needed, some new, some used.

Mike Rudd took an ice cream making course from Malcolm Stogo: "He's one of the premier ice cream makers in the country."

And the project, which started in March, is now in full swing.

The couple makes their gourmet ice cream with a batch freezer and hand-pack each container, a process that takes longer and is more labor intensive than most commercial operations. But, the couple said, this technique allows them to make a more flavorful, creamier ice cream.

"The ice cream is definitely worth the effort," Mary Rudd said.

So far, 10 flavors of Whidbey Island Ice Cream are available in multiple South End markets.

It comes in the usual flavors -- chocolate, vanilla and strawberry -- as well as blackberry, butter caramel and caramel cheesecake.

A special twist is put into some of the ice creams' flavors.

"We're trying to use local products in everything we can," said Mike Rudd.

For instance, the couple makes a lavender-flavored ice cream from Lavender Wind Farm.

They also have an espresso-flavored ice cream from Mukilteo Coffee Company.

The ice cream makers aren't finished with the flavors they have right now.

"We want to come up with some pumpkin ice cream this holiday season, and egg nog," Rudd said. "We've also had a couple of requests for root beer."

The Rudds said their ice cream has received a positive response everywhere they've gone.

But they haven't done it all by themselves.

"There's so many people that have been instrumental with getting us up and running," Mike Rudd said. "It's just unbelievable."

The couples' friend, Bart Bartholomew, doesn't make the ice cream, but he has helped out with just about everything else.

"We couldn't have done it without him," said Mary Rudd.

The couple isn't finished with Whidbey Island Ice Cream as it is right now.

"Eventually, we would like to be available in all the grocery stores on the island," said Mike Rudd. "But we have some growth to go through first."

The Rudds would also like to start selling ice cream bars, and an ice cream treat called a Tortuga.

"It kind of looks like a cupcake," said Mike Rudd.

To make a Tortuga, a mold is filled with ice cream. The center of the mold is scooped out and filled with a topping, such as chocolate, caramel or raspberry. It's then covered with more ice cream, frozen and coated with chocolate.

The Rudds would like to make these available in island restaurants.

The couple said they are still sweet on the ice cream making-process.

"We enjoy it," Mike Rudd said. "And it's a fun thing to do for the people because everybody loves ice cream."

Scream for ice cream at these locations: Payless Foods and the 76 Station in Freeland, the Star Store in Langley and Bayview, and the Clinton Foodmart.

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