Port Moody is set to catapult into summer, two months before the season officially arrives.
Rocky Point Ice Cream is scheduled to open its new 7,500 sq. ft. canteen and production facility on Murray Street April 27.
The latest expansion to Jamie and Yvette Cuthbert’s little empire of local enterprises that started with renting kayaks from a small kiosk in Rocky Point Park, then diversified to an ice cream parlour, will allow the entrepreneurs to ramp up production of their frozen treats to up to 750 litres in an hour, as well as offer up new menu items like baked goods, baguette sandwiches and soft-serve ice cream.
Rocky Point Canteen and Creamery is located in a former safety products warehouse the Cuthberts acquired two years ago with an eye to moving out of the 14-by-20-foot production space they leased near Moody Ales.
There they made 170,000 litres of ice cream in an entire year. The expanded capacity of the new facility will not only allow the Cuthberts and their 20 full-time employees to continue making tasty deserts for the company’s three standalone shops in Port Moody and New Westminster — as well as a mobile shop in Coquitlam, a roaming food truck, concessions at Stanley Park and the Capilano Suspension Bridge — it also increases their ability to co-pack with other brands to get their product into grocery stores.
And the Cuthberts will be in control of the production process the whole way, ensuring the quality of the ice cream remains as high as it’s ever been. That means instead of using flavourings, 140 kgs of fresh strawberries are boiled down to create 600 kg of strawberry ice cream, cocoa beans are crushed for chocolate ice cream and caramel is cooked for salted caramel ice cream.
Rocky Point Canteen and Creamery is licensed as a dairy. While that allows the Cuthberts the total control of production they were seeking, it also brings all kinds of regulatory requirements they have to adhere to like regular inspections and the establishment of a laboratory to allow testing for bacteria.
The commitment isn’t cheap, or easy, said Jamie Cuthbert.
Yvette spent the better part of two years designing the facility and production lines, drawing on the information and experiences of other ice cream dairies they visited including Ample Hills in Brooklyn, N.Y.
The pasteurizing system that can sterilize 600 litres of cream at 70C in an hour is imported from Italy and a technician had to quarantine for two weeks before he was allowed to help the Cuthberts set it up and learn how to operate it.
The facility also features two huge walk-in freezers that go as low as -27C, as well as one cooler.
“They take a lot of power,” Jamie Cuthbert said.
The expansion of menu offerings required collaboration with Alejandro Diaz and Sam Fabbro, who run El Santo restaurant and the Butcher’s Table in New Westminster.
The new enterprise is a big scoop away from just doling out cones to kids in a park, said Jamie Cuthbert. “It’s a challenge to scale up without compromising quality.”