49 Below Craft Ice Cream Contributes to the unexpected flavors of overripe pear, ugly lemon and scraps from a tray of freshly baked almond croissants.
They are also part of an important link in the business world aimed at reducing food waste.
Last fall, the Oak Bay Company launched its upcycled ice cream program, keeping the savory part of GoodSide Pastry House’s popular almond croissant out of the trash while offering fun flavors. Dan Edler, owner of 49 Below, explained that the program started when Root Cellar’s bruised and damaged fruit was shipped from the market to the ice cream kitchen.
“It’s funny because it keeps us on our toes because we never know what we’re going to get,” he said.
It raised the stakes for the chef team and inspired some interesting combinations, such as the popular lemon graham bar, where the team peels and squeezes 100 pounds of lemons by hand. That one was so popular, people still ask for it and the follow-up pear chai shabu, made with Silk Road tea.
It was one of 18 49 Below finalists selected from hundreds of nominees for the annual Small Business BC Awards Business Impact Awards.
A small team with amazing ideas, upcycling is just one example of collaborative projects that set them apart, says Edler.
For example, the charity that launched a few years ago, where the minds behind 49 Below work with individuals and businesses who come up with flavors. The team concocts the flavors, sells them and donates all proceeds to charities of the individual’s choice.
Last year, Edler partnered with Willows Elementary School student Jackson Edgley to create Ocean Explosion and raise funds for environmental stewardship of the Salish Sea.
Among other community efforts, they recently launched a pint drive to raise money with the Reynolds Reybots — a Saanich Middle School robotics team that traveled to Texas this month to compete. During the drive, customers can use a code found online or in store and use it to buy 10% off a pint (up to four) and the company will match the funds for the group.
All recyclables with deposits will be donated to the Oak Bay High School Alumni Association for a campaign to resurface the school’s Jack Wallace Memorial Track.
Residents also welcome a boutique ice cream shop to the neighborhood. 49 Below opens its Willows Plaza kitchen and storefront in August 2022, just in time for the lingering wet weather to dissipate and true summer to begin. Now, people automatically connect, and when the thermostat goes up, so does walk-in traffic.
The Business Impact Awards recognize businesses that leverage their talents in areas such as sales, marketing, logistics, finance and operations to take positive action in their communities.
Winners will be announced at the awards gala on June 2, and winners in each category will receive $10,000 in prize money.
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