Here at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams we’re fortunate enough to enjoy steady business during the weeks of every season. But my, oh, my, everyone who loves a cone of Backyard Mint or Strawberry Buttermilk ought to sneak a peak at the kitchen and shipping departments kicking out the jams during this the first unofficial week of Jeni’s busiest time: summer.
As a former Jeni’s truck driver who used to duck into the kitchen last fall and winter to retrieve daily supplies for Jeni’s shops, I’m here to report that the smiles greeting me these days are quick and to the point. “Hey,” the expressions say, “we’d love to have more time on our hands to chat about the death of Gary Coleman, but do you see this pile of rhubarb? It ain’t gonna rinse and chop itself, dude.”
And when I run into Steven Sutters, my former cohort in the two-man shipping and trucking department, there’s precious little time for us to continue the short course on the history of classic rock we started last fall. Now when Sutters casually lays something mind-blowing on me like “Who is Molly Hatchet again?” I know before I even begin to rain tears of disbelief on a crate of Salty Caramel and try to answer “the Flirtin’ With Disaster band” that Sutters’ mind has already moved on to the more important tasks of the day—say, ensuring that his fledgling crew of four is delivering ice creams to a spreadsheet’s worth of shops, groceries and households.
Yes, the entire Jeni’s crew, a dedicated bunch that makes everything by hand and displays an unbelievable level of commitment all year, knows what “busy” means every day. But understand, reader, that the summer season is a different animal—especially Summer 2010, a time when Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams more than ever are being discovered by people coast to coast.
In weeks to come at Saltycaramel.com, we’re going to meet some of the faces behind Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. We’ll also take you on the road to some of Jeni’s events, to the farms that supply ingredients and we’ll introduce you to many more people we admire in central Ohio and beyond.
Aaron Beck, retired truck driver, after a late-summer shift in 2009. This year he is happy to be driving something more his speed, a laptop computer: