Emily Phillips sold homemade ice cream from a red wagon when she was a little girl in North Carolina. Now she and her husband own a scoop shop in Eugene, Oregon, where they make and pasteurize their own small-batch base for flavors like Oregon Mint Chip, Heart of Chocolate, Teacher’s Pet (apple cider ice cream swirled with a Scots whisky caramel) and Just Beet It! Everything we tasted was creamy and delicious, but the flavor that had us begging for more was the Wandering Goat Coffee. Made with a half pound of coffee (from local roaster Wandering Goat) per gallon of ice cream, it was seriously addictive.
I ordered a true Oregon Mint Chip cone from one heck of an ice cream shop. I suggest you do too.
Given a batch to sample recently, I found that all the varieties were deliciously rich and creamy, though not overly sweet, allowing the individual ingredients to shine. Cracking open the Oregon Mint Chip I was hit with the aroma of mint, as fresh as a herb garden, while the chocolate flakes were quite subtle but had a lovely crunch to them. Hail to the Bee is made from Clover honey with toffee and chocolate bits; what could end up a sickly mess had a remarkably clean and balanced taste. The Smoked Salted Caramel, meanwhile, hit home with an intense caramel flavor that was like chewing candy—though for some palates the salt may be too knocked back.
Eugene-based Red Wagon Creamery is taking its “super-premium” ice cream to a broader audience, expanding to some Whole Foods markets and Haggen stores in the Northwest with plans to grow beyond that in the future.
Red Wagon’s DNA is fresh, local ingredients, combined in ways that are both familiar (vanilla, chocolate, coffee) and exotic (piñon-black pepper brittle, cherry smoked honey, strawberry riesling sorbet).
Our conclusion: this ice cream is easily in the running with super-popular and buzzed-about Salt and Straw in Portland. The sweet corn with honey butter scoop was remarkably corn-flavored, just like sweet fresh corn drizzled with honey and cream. It's the perfect kernel-y, vivid, end-of-summer flavor that we were craving, with plenty of butter on top. Even though we'd been eating all day, we couldn't stop shoveling this stuff into our mouths; it made us wondering why people don't always offer sweet corn ice cream alongside strawberry and mint chip (though we also hear that Red Wagon has a killer mint chip).
Red Wagon Creamery Co-founder and Director of Sales and Marketing Stuart Phillips said the investment program beats the traditional lending model of “going hat in hand to the bank and taking its terms.”
“The difference between this and traditional lending,” Phillips said, “is you get to decide if you want to do debt or equity or combo thereof. The entrepreneur is the one driving the train. Also, the entrepreneur is the one to set the terms of the deal.”