The Frozen Farmer takes the “farm to table” trend to the next level as these farmers really are the chefs.
These days, managing a third-generation family farm is tough. There are long hours, a lot of risk, and challenge of meeting the demands and expectations of your customers. Kevin and Katey Evans know it well, and revel in living up to the challenge every day at Evans Farms, a more than 2,000-acre grain and produce operation where they run an on-farm market.
"Although it’s insanely busy, summer is our favorite time of your because the farm is revved up to high gear, and the food on our table is the freshest and most flavorful of the year,” Katey says.
Because the farm serves nearly 100 grocery chain stores with their fresh, summertime produce and the grocery stores set such high cosmetic standards for the way these fruits and veggies look, there was a ton of perfectly delicious fruit that didn't meet grocery grade because of looks alone.
“More than 20% of the fruits and veggies in America are too ugly to make it off the farm and on the grocery store shelf. For farm families like mine, this means a majoe loss in profit," said Evans. "Finally one night we were kicking around ideas of how to make money on all this otherwise wasted fruit that tasted perfectly good, despite the way it looked and it came to us – we could make ice cream and sorbet with fresh fruit from the farm!”
The Frozen Farmer was a natural extension of the family’s mission to provide field-grown fruits and veggies, harvested at the peak of perfection, to feed your family and theirs.
With their roots deeply planted at Evans Farms, The Frozen Farmer brought something new to the table – a fresh approach to frozen treats straight from the field – with their line of homemade super-premium ice cream, "nice" cream and sorbet.
“The Frozen Farmer is a great marriage of both sides of the family,” said third-generation farmer Kevin Evans, of Evans Farms, who lost his mother, Bev, to cancer at an early age and whose father, Joe, passed away in the line of duty as a volunteer firefighter in 2005.
“My mother, Beverly Lucks was from a prominent dairy-farming family in Camden, Delaware. My father, Joseph Evans was a second-generation fruit, vegetable and grain farmer. While we don’t have cows on Evans Farms today, we do have strong dairy roots and The Frozen Farmer is supporting all the local dairy farmers throughout the state by using milk base from the local dairy that we’re then combining with the fruit that we grow here at Evans Farms to make premium products that are farm to cup fresh. What’s even better is that we are able to use all of the imperfect produce that doesn’t meet the high standards of our grocery chain customers in our line of products at The Frozen Farmer. This gives us an outlet to turn a profit on the ugly or otherwise misfit produce, making a beautiful and delicious end-product out of it.”
“The ugly produce that we harvest at Evans Farms requires just as much time and labor to grow, yet it's tossed out because it's not pretty enough to meet the standards of our grocery store and farmers market customers,” said Katey Evans.
Meanwhile, over $1 trillion of food is wasted each year before it even makes it to a consumers table, thanks in part to modern-day beauty standards for food. Just a quarter of this wasted food could be used to feed the entire starving population of the world.
"At The Frozen Farmer, the ugly fruits, misshapen vegetables, and delicious but imperfectly-sized produce are salvaged at every level as we use them in our line of homemade ice cream, nice cream and sorbet - even fresh pressed juices," says Katey.
Katey’s own mother, Jo Ellen, was thrilled with the idea. “Making ice cream is a longtime passion of mine,” she says. “when Katey told me about the idea of creating fresh-from-the-field ice cream, "nice" cream and sorbet, I knew I had to be involved.”
Katey did, too. The pair attended Ice Cream University, where internationally known frozen confection guru Malcolm Stogo taught them how to make homemade super-premium ice cream and sorbet that is the perfect combination of creamy and smooth. And it’s where the idea of “nice" cream was born.
“We took my passion for ice cream and combined it with the experience Evans Farms has in local produce to make ‘nice cream,’ a product that tastes like traditional ice cream, but with less fat and more locally gown fruit for added nutritional content,” Jo Ellen says.
The Frozen Farmer, a newly minted division of the family-owned and operated Evans Farms of Bridgeville, Del., officially opened June 18th, 2015. The frozen confectionary also has a mobile food truck that caters off-site fairs, festivals, private events, parties and weddings.
Fans of The Frozen Farmer now recognize Jo Ellen as “Momma Jo,” the lady who makes the magic happen in The Frozen Farmer kitchen.
Evans Farms Produce wholesales their local produce direct to nearly a dozen different restaurants in Delaware, nearly 100 grocers throughout Delaware, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., and at nearly a half a dozen off-site seasonal product market locations in Sussex County and Kent county, Del., and at their on-farm market.
The Frozen Farmer and Evans Farms Produce are located at 9843 Seashore Highway in Bridgeville, Del.