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.
Because the farm serves more than 100 grocery chain stores with their homegrown 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 major loss in profit," said Katey. "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 (a blend of ice cream and sorbet) and dairy-free, gluten-free, and fat-free sorbet.
“For me, The Frozen Farmer is an awesome way to preserve my family’s farm legacy,” said third-generation farmer Kevin Evans, who lost his mother, Beverly Lucks Evans, to cancer at an early age and whose father, Joseph Evans, passed away in the line of duty as a volunteer firefighter in 2005. “My mom, Bev was from a prominent dairy-farming family in Camden, Delaware. My father, Joe was a second-generation fruit, vegetable and grain farmer. The Frozen Farmer is such a great marriage of both sides of my family’s history tying in the dairy side with the produce side.”
“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 wasted produce, making a beautiful and delicious end-product out of it.” said Katey.
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," says Katey.
Katey’s own mother, Jo Ellen, was thrilled with the idea. “Making ice cream is a longtime passion of mine,” said Jo Ellen, who left her 35+ year career in accounting to open The Frozen Farmer with Kevin and Katey. “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.”
Fans of The Frozen Farmer now recognize Jo Ellen as “Momma Jo,” the lady who makes the magic happen in The Frozen Farmer kitchen.
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 homegrown produce to make ‘nice cream,’ a product that tastes like traditional ice cream, but with less fat, lower lactose and more locally grown fruit for added nutritional content,” Momma Jo says. “All of our fruit based confections pack a hidden punch of vitamins and nutrients because they contain real fruit.”
A “farm to school” partner with several surrounding school districts, The Frozen Farmer’s dairy-free, gluten-free and fat-free sorbet meets the Smart Snacks in Schools national nutrition standards, allowing schools to purchase and serve these farm fresh menu items for their free school meals program and summer food service program.
Located on Route 404, a prime hub to the Delaware and Maryland, beaches, The Frozen Farmer has customers from all over the world frequent their shop.
The Frozen Farmer also has a mobile food truck that caters off-site fairs, festivals, private events, parties and weddings.
The Frozen Farmer wholesales their ice cream, nice cream and sorbet to more than a dozen different restaurants, shops and markets in Delaware and Maryland.
Eight flavors from their line can be found in 58 Giant Foods grocery stores, 11 Redner’s Warehouse Markets, and 2 Exxon Mobil’s throughout the region.