Q: What inspired you to start an ice cream company?
A: A combination of our deep love of ice cream, recognition of an opportunity in the marketplace and an urge to try something new. We hatched the idea of Blue Marble in January 2007 and opened the doors to our first shop just nine months later. The initial plan was to open one shop, get it running smoothly and then return to our previous professions. Instead, the business took off in ways we never imagined, thanks largely to the tremendous response from our beloved customers and communities, and we haven’t looked back. It’s been a wildly unexpected but gratifying ride.
Q: What did you do before opening Blue Marble?
A: Jennie had a long career in the performing arts and Alexis worked in international development. A business degree or even some experience in the retail world sure would have been helpful, but as we learned, pretty much anything’s possible with some hard work and inspiration.
Q: Why did you choose the name “Blue Marble”?
A: In 1972, the crew of Apollo 17 traveled to the moon. One of the astronauts looked back at Earth and snapped this iconic photograph, which was eventually titled “The Blue Marble.” The nickname caught on and is now commonly used to refer to planet Earth. We chose this name because we felt it was symbolic of our values and aspirations as a business. Through both our practices and product, we tip our hats to nature and celebrate its delicious simplicity.
Q: Why did you decide to go organic?
A: Blue Marble is the only certified organic ice cream brand native to New York City. We believe in the importance of sustainable, responsible agriculture, we believe in fair compensation for our farmers and we believe in good, honest food. When we confront our many food choices each day, we are bombarded with claims of all sorts…”local,” “all natural,” “hormone free,” etc. Without any third party verification, however, there’s no real guarantee to us as consumers that these claims are reliably, consistently true. With USDA organic certification, our customers can enjoy our product with complete confidence that we are honoring our commitment to the quality and integrity the organic seal represents. Learn more on our Why Organic? page.
Q: What other sustainable practices do you have in place?
A: Blue Marble uses exclusively biodegradable bowls, spoons, cups, straws and other serveware. We also used predominantly non-toxic, reclaimed and otherwise “green” materials in the build-out of our shops, including low/zero-VOC paints and wood stains, reclaimed wood, Ice Stone countertops, tabletops made of compressed sorghum stalks, energy efficient appliances and water-saving toilets. Fun fact: the wood used in the carpentry at our Cobble Hill shop was salvaged from the set of a play at the New York Theatre Workshop, and the house façade in our Prospect Heights shop was from the 2008 off-Broadway production of Crimes of the Heart.
Q: When did Blue Marble get started?
A: We started with a single scoop shop in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn in 2007. We soon expanded with a second location in Prospect Heights, then moved our first shop to a new location in Cobble Hill in 2010. In September 2012, we made our Manhattan debut with a location in TriBeCa. Learn more about each of these locations here.
Q: When did you launch your wholesale program?
A: 2010. We began by delivering to a handful of local clients out of Alexis’ Mini Cooper. Now we have our own freezer truck that services a large range of clients, including food co-ops, specialty retailers and popular restaurants. We also work with a number of distributors who deliver our products to retailers and restaurants across the NY Metro area.
Q: I’ve heard you have seasonal locations in various spots around the city. Where are they and when do they operate?
A: We sure do! From April through October – weather permitting – Blue Marble ice cream can be found at a number of wonderful outdoor venues. We are very proud to have been among the first food vendors at the beloved Brooklyn Flea and are still there – at both locations - each weekend. We can also be found at Smorgasburg, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Summer Stage at Central Park and Governor’s Island. To plan a visit, learn more here.
Q: Where do you make the ice cream? Can I visit your plant?
A: We are so proud to be the owners and operators of NYC’s only certified organic ice cream plant, located in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. This is where a lot of the magic happens, from recipe formulations and taste tests (it’s a tough part of the gig), to actual production, and of course more taste tests. We do love visitors, but our plant is closed to the general public. For speaking engagement or private tasting requests, please write to us at email@example.com.
Q: Other than Blue Marble shops and outposts, where can I find your ice cream?
A: Lots of places. We supply ice cream to many fine retailers, restaurants and scoop shops in the NY metro area. Please explore our Find pages for lists of locations.
Q: How can I get my local grocery store to carry Blue Marble?
A: Great question! Ask to speak to the manager or frozen buyer and tell him/her that they need to carry NYC’s best and only certified organic ice cream. All inquiries can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, drop us a note with the name of the store, and we’ll do the rest. We appreciate all ideas and introductions.
Q: Do you ship your ice cream?
A: Generally speaking, no, but we have done it and would do it again. Email us at email@example.com for more details.
Q: Do you use local ingredients?
A: We do our best to, yes. The problem we face with local producers is organic certification and sufficiency/reliability of supply. One of our favorite local vendors is Crown Maple Syrup. Maple walnut ice cream, maple soft serve, maple lattes…yum!
Q: How often do you change your flavors?
A: We have our core set of flavors that we keep pretty consistent. With the turn of season or a strike of inspiration, we add new flavors now and again. Banana cookie crumble, strawberry lemonade sorbet, peanut butter confetti, spiced apple cider sorbet, olive oil & sea salt, buttered popcorn and espresso chip are a sampling of our special limited-time flavors. Come by for a visit to see what we’ve got!
Q: Do you make custom flavors?
A: We can, yes. Pricing, lead-time and minimums vary. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Q: Does your ice cream contain…
A: Tree nuts or peanuts? We do have a handful of flavors that contain nuts. These flavors are produced last (eliminating the transfer of nut pieces and oils to non-nut flavors), and our machines are carefully washed and sanitized after every production run. In the event we are producing both tree nut and peanut flavors in the same run, we produce tree nut flavors first, followed by peanut flavors.
Wheat/Gluten? The only flavors that contain wheat or gluten are those with cookie pieces. All other flavors are wheat- and gluten-free.
Eggs? No. Corn syrup? Never.
If you or your child has a food allergy, ask your scooper which flavors are safe to eat. You may also instruct him/her to wash the scoop with soap and hot water and to scoop from an unopened tub, if possible. If you have a question about a specific flavor or allergen, please write to us at email@example.com.
Q: Do you only use cow’s milk in your ice cream?
A: Yes. We hear there’s some great goat’s milk ice cream out there, but for now we have no plans to add any to our roster. We do make a variety of sorbets and a few coconut milk-based flavors for our customers seeking dairy-free selections.
Q: Has Blue Marble won any awards?
A: Glad you asked! Yes. In 2009 we topped some pretty stiff competition to win Best New Ice Cream in the Time Out New York’s Readers Choice awards. Our Strawberry won a blind taste test in the New York Times (2010), we were named Best Ice Cream in NYC in the Village Voice (2010), Food & Wine magazine named Blue Marble among the best 25 ice creams in the US (2012) and Yahoo Travel put us on their Top 10 list (2012). Check out our Applause page to see some of our great press pieces.
Q: I want to write an article about you. Who should I contact?
A: We’d love to share our story with you. Please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: Does Blue Marble make donations to nonprofits? If so, how do I request one?
A: We certainly do. While we are not able to make financial contributions at this time, Blue Marble often donates gift certificates to support the fundraising efforts of our local schools and organizations. To learn more, please visit our Community page.
Q: I heard you have a shop in Rwanda...what's that all about?
A: In 2010, we partnered with a group of women in Rwanda to open Sweet Dreams, their country's first-ever local ice cream shop. Learn more about our non-profit, Blue Marble Dreams, and this special project here.