As the temperature dipped into the 20’s this past weekend, ice cream might not have been the first thing on your mind. But Paul Nasrani thinks about ice cream all year long. As the founder of Adirondack Creamery, an all-natural, independent ice cream company based in Kingston, NY, it goes with the territory. Recently we stopped by Paul’s apartment in the Seward Park Cooperative on Grand Street to find out how things are going in the premium ice cream business.
Like so many people in the years following 9/11, Paul made a major life change — ditching a corporate career to pursue a childhood dream. In the beginning, he made small amounts of ice cream in the bathtub of his studio apartment. The idea was to keep it simple, using only cream, milk, sugar and eggs (plus premium chocolate, nuts and fruits).
The operation quickly expanded, first in Silver Bay, not far from Lake George, and then at the Boice Brothers Dairy in Kingston, one of the last family owned facilities of its kind still operating in New York. These days, Paul commutes from the Lower East Side, churning out 5,000 pints of ice cream each week.
Adirondack Creamery features eight flavors, including Barkeater (made with English almond toffee), WhiteFace Mint Chip, Kulfi-Pistachio Cardamom and Coffee Bean. For the holidays, the company makes pumpkin and peppermint stick ice cream.
Paul does most, if not all, of the marketing himself. Adirondack Creamery is now sold in 120 stores throughout New York and Connecticut. On the Lower East Side, you can buy it at Whole Foods or at Fine Fare (Paul delivers the pints to the store personally since he lives nearby).
When the business was getting started, Paul and his future wife, Simi Mir (an attorney), made ice cream together (how romantic)! She still helps out with some aspects of the business. In the summer, you might have seen Paul and Simi at the Hester Street Fair.
Paul was championing the idea of using local, wholesome ingredients a few years before it became a hot culinary trend. Two big European-based conglomerates produce more than half of the branded ice cream sold in this country (including Ben & Jerry’s and Haagan Dazs). Adirondack Creamery uses only hormone-free milk and relies on several family farms that make deliveries to the dairy each week.
What’s next? Paul would love to see his ice cream in a retail shop in New York City. There are a few hurdles to clear before Adirondack Creamery establishes a brick-and-mortar store of its own. However, the prospect of a new ice cream shop (hopefully on the Lower East Side) might give you the strength to weather those cold days ahead of us in 2012.