It’s more than regular ice cream. Sticky Fingers Farm produces their ice cream by growing organic, local ingredients on their farm in Troy, Idaho.
The company was started in 2009 and is run by couple, Keith and Amanda Hixson, who relocated to Troy in the same year. Amanda said her family bought the farm, though her intention was merely to grow and sell produce.
Amanda said before moving to Troy, they went on a trip to New Zealand. There, they visited an ice cream shop and were inspired by it.
“We ended up going to a little ice cream shop that had unique flavors,” Amanda said. “So Keith had the idea, ‘Hey, we can sell ice cream at the farmers market.’ That’s where it came from — we moved here and started pursuing the idea.”
After a year of preparation with the company, they started selling ice cream at the Moscow farmers market in the summer of 2010.
Amanda said the ingredients they grow on their 133-acre farm include strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, apples, cherries, mints, lavender and many others. The couple does the work by themselves, from growing, to picking and making their ice cream.
“We put a lot of herbs and fruits into our ice cream that we grow ourselves,” Amanda said.
Keith said so far they have created more than 35 flavors by using their farm-grown ingredients. Other than regular ice cream, they also make dairy-free ice cream, hummus, apple cider and root beer floats.
Keith and Amanda grew up making ice cream for their families, and by starting an ice cream company, they have learned a lot from a business standpoint.
“We both made it, growing up as a kid with our family,” Keith said. “We knew we could do it. It wasn’t totally this born thing. We both know we could make some ice cream.”
Keith said every week for the Moscow farmers market they make about 10 to 15 gallons of ice cream, with each gallon making about 20 servings.
Amanda said the community responded positively when they first started selling ice cream in 2010.
“They were really supportive,” Amanda said. “The Tuesday Growers Market at the Co-op was a big helper to get started. Our business has definitely grown a lot since the first Saturday market.”
Amanda said there are a lot of complicated things to do to open an ice cream shop, such as hiring employees, renting a place and other maintenance. Having a 2-year-old son, Amanda and Keith are going to keep Sticky Fingers Farm as it is.
“Keep it small,” Keith said. “It’s kind of what we’re thinking. Small and keep it real.”
Amanda said they were thinking of pursuing the retail market more, but decided after they had gained some experience, they realized the packaging takes too much time and they would rather sell it directly to customers.
“All of the packaging stuff is expensive, and we all do it by hand,” Amanda said. “We need to focus more on the direct marketing — we are scooping ice cream and selling it to customers.”
Amanda and Keith said they have learned a lot from this business — starting from scratch, and now being able to sell ice cream every summer at the Moscow farmers market.
“I am proud to build this from nothing, just to come a long way,” Keith said. “We are starting to see literal fruits of our labor — everything that we put in five years ago is now coming full circle.”
Sticky Fingers Farm ice cream is available during the Moscow farmers market as well as in Moscow Food Co-op, who started carrying their ice cream a couple years ago.
Nurainy Darono can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org