The Scoop: Eatwell Farm’s Ice Box

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Soft serve, the texturally challenged cousin to regular ice cream, often gets pushed to the wayside in favor of its heartier counterpart. But The Scoop team made a trip to that wayside to check out a new store on the block: Eatwell Farm’s Ice Box.

The uniquely named shop, just a short walk from Parnassus in the Upper Haight, is the creation of Nigel Walker, a farmer who owns Eatwell Farm in Dixon, CA, and Roma Gray, a self-described ice cream connoisseur.

Ice Box began as a food truck business, selling its wares at the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market and Off the Grid events. It recently moved to the inside of Second Act on Haight Street – a public gathering space and small collection of food shops.

The establishment sells four flavors at a time, one of which is a rotating seasonal flavor made of fruits harvested from Eatwell Farm. The place is especially popular on weekends, as evidenced by the steady supply of children carefully balancing their cones towering with soft serve. On a sunny Fall day, The Scoop team decided to follow their lead.

Up for tasting were Classic Vanilla, Stoneground Chocolate, Goat Cheese, and seasonal Spiced Pumpkin. Theresa first opted to sample a twist of the Chocolate and Vanilla, and was pretty much sold. The texture and flavor were spot on and—dare  she say—even  better than the ever-popular Bi-Rite's soft serve (yes, she said it). Other tasters agreed—the Vanilla was exceptionally creamy and smooth, the texture rivaling even Smitten’s liquid nitrogen frozen ice cream in Hayes Valley.

Theresa was so enamored of her first sample that she nearly committed ice cream taster sacrilege and considered foregoing a second free sample. But curiosity got the best of her, and she asked to try the Goat Cheese.

As many people will attest, Theresa’s knee-jerk reaction to most cheeses is a disgusted gag, but she kept an open mind, given Eatwell’s exceptional Vanilla and Chocolate flavors. With the first tangy taste of Eatwell’s Goat Cheese soft serve, Theresa’s eyes widened and jaw dropped; so much so, that the lady working behind the counter wasn’t sure whether to dial for help or to serve her another sample. Theresa assured her that the reaction was positive, described the flavor as “life changing,” and proceeded to order a whole serving.

Dawn saw a fresh batch of pumpkin soft serve batter being cooked on site and opted to try the frozen version of the seasonal flavor. It was nicely spiced, with hints of cinnamon – a great festive option. She rounded out the sampling with a taste of the Stoneground Chocolate and happily noted that it was bereft of the artificial plastic flavor and syrupy sweetness that plagues many other chocolate soft serves.

A cup of the creamy stuff runs at the steep price of $5, with the option of adding a homemade butter waffle cone for an additional $1 (which garnered high praise for tasting “fresh, crispy, and resistant to sogginess”). The price is one of the few downsides of Eatwell Farm’s Ice Box – or perhaps its saving grace.  If it was any cheaper, we would go far too often!